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The New York State Division of Human Rights recently promulgated a regulation prohibiting discrimination against employees who have a known relationship or association with a member of members of a category protected by the New York State Human Rights Law.

Pursuant to these regulations, an employee may support a claim before the Division on the grounds that he or she was subjected to differential treatment because of the characteristics, activities, or beliefs of friends or family members.

In order to prove a claim of ‘associational’ discrimination under the new regulation, an individual must demonstrate he or she was subjected to an adverse employment action based on the individuals known relationship or association with a member of a protected class, including discrimination against any individual based on “age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or domestic violence victim status.”

In a press release announcing the new regulation, the Division provided one example of conduct that would be prohibited: “Job seekers may not be denied employment because of the gender identity, transgender status, or other protected characteristics of their spouses.”

This new regulation applies to all areas of the New York State Human Rights Law, including public accommodations, employment, purchase or rental of housing or commercial property, access to educational institutions, and credit.