New York City Takes Stand Against Race and National Origin Discrimination Based on Coronavirus Fears
The novel coronavirus has had a devastating impact on New York City and surrounding areas. While the daily number of new cases in New York is decreasing, the virus shows no sign of slowing down in many other parts of the country, even as most states are in the process of “reopening” their economies.
The disease is bad enough by itself, but its supposed origins in China have also led to an unfortunate backlash against people perceived to be of Chinese heritage. Discrimination, harassment, and worse have occurred in workplaces and in public. The New York City Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which works to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, and other factors, created a response team to address discrimination and harassment related to the pandemic.
Laws Against Race and National Origin Discrimination in the Workplace
The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) prohibits workplace discrimination based on a person’s “actual or perceived…race…[or] national origin.” N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(1)(a). This includes terminating someone’s employment, demoting them, denying them shifts or assignments, and other adverse actions, when the sole or primary purpose is that they are a particular race or have a particular national origin.
The coronavirus pandemic involves multiple forms of employment discrimination. The CHR has adopted guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) related to disability discrimination.