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George v. NYS Division of Human Rights

Supreme Court, New York County

April 18, 2013

KINGSTON, GEORGE
v.
NYS DIVISION OF HUMAN RIGHTS Index No. 402414/2012 MOTION SEQ. No. 001

Unpublished Opinion

MOTION DATE 2/19/13

MICHAEL P. STALLMAN JUDGE.

The following papers, numbered 1 to 6 were read on this petition pursuant to Executive Law § 298
Notice of Petition-Verified Petition- Exhibits A1, A2, Exhibit A No(s). 1-2
Answer — Exhibit A; Answer-Exhibits A-G—Affidavit of Service No(s).3: 4-5
Response _____________________No(s).6

Upon the foregoing papers, it is ADJUDGED that the petition is denied and the proceeding is dismissed.

Petitioner seeks review of a determination by respondent New York State Division of Human Rights (SDHR), which found no probable cause to believe that respondent City of New York, Department of Homeless Services (DHS), discriminated against him in violation of New York State's Human Rights Law. (Executive Law art. 15.)

Petitioner pro se filed a complaint with SHDR on September 9, 2012. According to the complaint form, petitioner checked off the box "Education" to indicate that he believed he was discriminated against in the area of education. Unifier second page of the form, petitioner indicated that he believed that he was discriminated against because of retaliation. On the third page of the complaint form, which asks for a description of the discrimination, petitioner wrote, "DHS policy prohibits] clients right to basic education. No late pass granted for education purposes." Petitioner also wrote, "Retaliatory (reprisal) actions by shelter management after contacting Mayor's Office."

The gist of petitioner's complaint is that DHS discriminated against him when it refused to grant petitioner, who was housed in a homeless shelter, a late pass to return after the shelter's curfew, so that he could attend evening classes at an educational institution. According to petitioner, this constituted discrimination against his basic right to an education. Petitioner alleges that, after he contacted the Mayor's Office about DHS's refusal to issue a late pass, he was selected for a psychiatric examination and moved from one building to another, which he claimed was retaliation, among other incidents of alleged retaliation.

By a determination and order dated September 26, 2012, SHDR determined that there was no probable cause to believe that DHS engaged in unlawful discrimination. The determination and order states, in pertinent part:

"While discrimination in education is prohibited, Complainant did not allege that any educational institution discriminated against him based on any protected category. Rather, Complainant stated that his internal complaints to the homeless shelter where he was housed, to the Respondent [DHS], and to the mayor's office concerned the fact that the homeless shelter refused to grant him a late pass so that he could attend evening classes at an education institution. He did not allege that employees of the shelter had given any other shelter resident a late pass; therefore he did not allege that she issued passes to some individuals and not others on a discriminatory basis. Consequently, even if it were true that Respondent treated Complainant differently after he complained to the mayor's office, such action on the part of the shelter would not constitute 'retaliation' under the Human Rights Law.
While it might have been appropriate for the shelter to provide Complainant with a late pass in order to support his efforts to obtain further education, the failure to do so, by itself, does not constitute a violation of New York Executive Law, Article 15, the Human Rights Law, nor does Respondent's [DHS's] alleged actions against Complainant subsequent to his ...

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