N.Y. Exec. Law § 295

Current through 2024 NY Law Chapters 1-59 and 61-121
Section 295 - General powers and duties of division

The division, by and through the commissioner or his or her duly authorized officer or employee, shall have the following functions, powers and duties:

1. To establish and maintain its principal office, and such other offices within the state as it may deem necessary.
2. To function at any place within the state.
3. To appoint such officers, attorneys, clerks and other employees and agents, consultants and special committees as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation within the limitations provided by law, and prescribe their duties.
4. To obtain upon request and utilize the services of all governmental departments and agencies.
5. To adopt, promulgate, amend and rescind suitable rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this article, and the policies and practices of the division in connection therewith.
(a) To receive, investigate and pass upon complaints alleging violations of this article.
(b) Upon its own motion, to test and investigate and to make, sign and file complaints alleging violations of this article and to initiate investigations and studies to carry out the purposes of this article.
7. To hold hearings, to provide where appropriate for cross-interrogatories, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath, and in connection therewith, to require the production for examination of any books or papers relating to any matter under investigation or in question before the division. The division may make rules as to the issuance of subpoenas which may be issued by the division at any stage of any investigation or proceeding before it.

In any such investigation or hearing, the commissioner, or an officer duly designated by the commissioner to conduct such investigation or hearing, may confer immunity in accordance with the provisions of section 50.20 of the criminal procedure law.

8. To create such advisory councils, local, regional or state-wide, as in its judgment will aid in effectuating the purposes of this article and of section eleven of article one of the constitution of this state, and the division may empower them to study the problems of discrimination in all or specific fields of human relationships or in specific instances of discrimination because of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability or marital status and make recommendations to the division for the development of policies and procedures in general and in specific instances. The advisory councils also shall disseminate information about the division's activities to organizations and individuals in their localities. Such advisory councils shall be composed of representative citizens, serving without pay, but with reimbursement for actual and necessary traveling expenses; and the division may make provision for technical and clerical assistance to such councils and for the expenses of such assistance.
9. To develop human rights plans and policies for the state and assist in their execution and to make investigations and studies appropriate to effectuate this article and to issue such publications and such results of investigations and research as in its judgement will tend to inform persons of the rights assured and remedies provided under this article, to promote good-will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability or marital status.
10. To render each year to the governor and to the legislature a full written report of all its activities and of its recommendations.
11. To inquire into incidents of and conditions which may lead to tension and conflict among racial, religious and nationality groups and to take such action within the authority granted by law to the division, as may be designed to alleviate such conditions, tension and conflict.
12. To furnish any person with such technical assistance as the division deems appropriate to further compliance with the purposes or provisions of this article.
13. To promote the creation of human rights agencies by counties, cities, villages or towns in circumstances the division deems appropriate.
14. To accept, with the approval of the governor, as agent of the state, any grant, including federal grants, or any gift for any of the purposes of this article. Any moneys so received may be expended by the division to effectuate any purpose of this article, subject to the same limitations as to approval of expenditures and audit as are prescribed for state moneys appropriated for the purposes of this article.
15. To adopt an official seal.
16. To have concurrent jurisdiction with the New York city commission on human rights over the administration and enforcement of title C of chapter one of the administrative code of the city of New York.
17. To establish a dedicated telephone line to provide assistance to individuals with complaints of housing discrimination. Such assistance shall include, but not be limited to, directing individuals to resources available to the public regarding housing discrimination. The division shall operate such dedicated telephone line during regular business hours and shall post the telephone number for such dedicated phone line on the website of the division. The commissioner is hereby authorized and directed to promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this subdivision.
18. To establish a toll free confidential hotline to provide individuals with complaints of workplace sexual harassment counsel and assistance. The division shall operate this hotline during regular business hours and disseminate information about this hotline in order to ensure public knowledge of the hotline, including by working with the department of labor to ensure that information on the hotline is included in any materials employers must post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment. The division will work with organizations representing attorneys, including but not limited to the New York state bar association, to recruit attorneys experienced in providing counsel related to sexual harassment matters who can provide pro bono assistance and counsel to individuals that contact the hotline. The hotline shall comply with all of the requirements for a program operated under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, 12 NYCRR, Rule 6.5 (Participation in limited pro bono legal service programs). Attorneys may not solicit, or permit employees or agents of the attorneys to solicit on the attorney's behalf, further representation of any individuals they advise through the hotline relating to discussed sexual harassment complaint.

N.Y. Exec. Law § 295

Amended by New York Laws 2022, ch. 138,Sec. 1, eff. 7/14/2022.
Amended by New York Laws 2021, ch. 701,Sec. 1, eff. 4/20/2022.
Amended by New York Laws 2019, ch. 8,Sec. 4, eff. 2/24/2019.