NEW YORK CITY — Last year saw a roughly 60 percent increase in instances of reported discrimination citywide, according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Thousands more New Yorkers filed discrimination claims with the commission in 2016 compared to the previous year — the commission received 8,330 reports of discrimination in 2016, while it had received only 5,296 in 2015.
Hundreds more New Yorkers reported discrimination based on nationality, race, religion and citizenship status — the commission received 1,500 reports of these types in 2016, while it had received 1,100 last year.
A large chunk of the reports were claims of disability discrimination, according to the commission, making up about 20 percent of all claims, while 14 percent of the reports were claims of racial discrimination and 12 percent were claims of gender discrimination. Criminal history and national origin discrimination claims made up about 9 percent of the inquiries.
While there was a steep increase in complaints filed, there was only a slight increase in new cases filed by the agency — 883 new cases were filed in 2016, while 824 had been filed in 2015, according to the commission.
The commission also ramped up efforts to detect and snuff out instances of discrimination — the agency sent hundreds of “testers” to places of work to determine if employers may be guilty of discrimination against protected groups. More than 50 new cases came out of those tests alone, according to a commission spokesman.
Before Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn Malalis came to the agency in 2015, the commission had not been tracking numbers related to the testing program, said a spokesman.
In response to the newly released numbers, the commissioner praised the work of her agency and said she would remain committed to fighting discrimination citywide.
“I’m incredibly proud of the Commission’s work this year fighting discrimination and getting justice for aggrieved New Yorkers — but our work is far from over,” said Malalis in a statement.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that every person in this great city stands up for the values that make us New Yorkers – that no matter where you come from, what you believe, who you love, or where and how you worship, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”