City of Troy, NY
Rensselaer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Troy 3-1-1973 as Art. V of Ch. 2 of the 1973 Code; amended in its entirety 6-4-1981 by L.L. No. 3-1981. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 76]
In a city such as the City of Troy, with its population consisting of people of every race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status, there is no greater danger to the health, morals, safety and welfare of the City and its inhabitants than the existence of groups prejudiced against one another and antagonistic to each other because of differences of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status. The City Council hereby finds and declares that prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination threaten the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants and menace the institutions of a free democratic state. A statutory commission is hereby created through which the City officially may encourage mutual understanding and respect among all groups in the City, eliminate prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination and give effect to the guarantee of equal rights for all assured by the Constitution and the laws of this state and of the United States of America.
There is hereby created a Commission on Human Rights. It shall consist of 15 members serving without compensation, to be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council. One member shall be designated by the Mayor as the Chairperson of the Commission. Of the 15 members first appointed, five shall be appointed for one year, five for two years and five for three years; thereafter, all appointments to the Commission shall be for a term of three years. In the event of death or resignation of any member, his or her successor shall be appointed to serve for the unexpired period of the term for which such member had been appointed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DISCRIMINATION
Any difference in treatment based on race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status and shall include segregation; except that it shall not be discrimination for any religious or denominational institution to devote its facilities exclusively or primarily to or for members of its own religion or denomination or to give preference to such members or to make such selection as is calculated by such institution to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 76]
RELIGIOUS OR DENOMINATIONAL INSTITUTION
Institution which is operated for religious purposes or is operated, supervised or controlled by religious or denominational organizations.
The functions of the Commission shall be:
A. 
To foster mutual understanding and respect among all racial, religious and ethnic groups in the City and among all persons, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status or marital status;
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 76]
B. 
To encourage equality of treatment for and prevent discrimination against any racial, religious or ethnic group or its members without reference to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status or marital status;
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 76]
C. 
To cooperate with governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations having like or kindred functions; and
D. 
To make such investigations and studies in the field of human relations as in the judgment of the Commission will aid in effectuating its general purposes.
The powers and duties of the Commission shall be:
A. 
To work together with federal, state and county agencies in developing courses of instruction for presentation in public and private schools, public libraries and other suitable places on techniques for achieving harmonious intergroup relations within the City.
B. 
To enlist the cooperation of the various racial, religious, ethnic, LGB, transgender, military and/or veterans and age groups, community organizations, labor organizations, fraternal and benevolent associations and other groups in the City in programs and campaigns devoted to eliminating group prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination.
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 76]
C. 
To study the problems of prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, discrimination and disorder occasioned thereby in all or any field of human relationship.
D. 
To receive and investigate complaints and to initiate its own investigations of allegations of tensions, prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and disorder based on difference of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status and of allegations of discrimination against any person or persons, organization or corporation, whether practiced by private persons, associations or corporations.
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 76]
E. 
To hold hearings, compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath and, in connection therewith, to require the production of any evidence relating to any matter under investigation or in question before the Commission.
(1) 
All such hearings shall be held in executive session unless prior written approval for a public hearing is obtained from the Mayor. The Commission, after the completion of any public hearing, shall make a report in writing to the Mayor setting forth the facts found by it and its recommendations. At any hearing before the Commission or any committee thereof, a witness shall have the right to be advised by counsel present during such hearing.
(2) 
The powers enumerated in Subsection E(1) above may be exercised by any group of three or more members of the Commission acting as a committee thereof, when so authorized in writing by the Commission. The Commission shall designate one member of the committee to act as hearing chairman, and such hearing chairman is designated as an officer who may administer oaths and affirmations and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers.
F. 
To issue publications and reports of investigations and research designed to promote good will and minimize or eliminate prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, discrimination and disorder occasioned thereby.
G. 
To recommend to the Mayor and to the City Council policies and procedures to aid in carrying out the purposes of this chapter.
H. 
To submit an annual report to the Mayor and the City Council.
The Commission on Human Rights hereby created shall have the power and authority, subject to applicable civil service requirements, to employ an executive director, a secretary and such attorneys, experts and other employees as may be necessary, within the amount of funding made available by the City Council.
A. 
Policy.
(1) 
In the City, with its population consisting of people of various races, creeds, colors, national origins, sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, ages, disabilities, military statuses, or marital statuses, there is no greater danger to the health, morals, safety and welfare of the City and its inhabitants than the existence of groups and individuals reflecting prejudice against one another and antagonistic to each other because of differences of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status. Many persons have been compelled to live in circumscribed sections under substandard, unhealthful, unsanitary and crowded living conditions because of discrimination and segregation in housing. The City Council hereby finds and declares that acts of prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination which deny a person the opportunity to sell, purchase, lease, rent or obtain financing for the purchase or lease of housing accommodations because of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status threaten the fundamental rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the City and undermine the foundations of a free democratic state. The Council further declares it to be the public policy of the City to eliminate and prevent discrimination and segregation based on race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status and to safeguard the right of every person to sell, purchase, lease, rent or obtain financing for the purchase or lease of housing accommodations without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status.
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77]
(2) 
The City Council declares it to be the public policy of the City to require that every department or other agency of the City which may be involved in any public construction program which could involve the removal of persons from their present housing accommodations and their relocation elsewhere, or which endeavor to implement any public or publicly assisted or public-approved housing or relocation plan, promote the elimination of segregation in housing within the City.
(3) 
In accordance with this policy, it shall be the duty of all City officers, officials and employees to exercise appropriate governmental functions relating to the use, sale or occupancy of land, real property or housing accommodations in such a manner consistent with law that all patterns of segregated housing existing in this City be eliminated and that the creation of any such patterns be prevented to the maximum extent that such a result can be achieved by such action.
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77]
B. 
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COUNCIL
The City Council of the City of Troy.
GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION
For purposes of this chapter and the Code of the City of Troy, a person's actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristics, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.
[Added 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77]
HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS
Includes any building, structure or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings.
LENDING INSTITUTION
Any bank, insurance company, savings and loan association, or any other person regularly engaged in the business of lending money or guaranteeing loans.[1]
MILITARY STATUS
Includes active duty military, reservists, and veteran status.
[Added 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77]
PERSON
Includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy or receivers.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of “national origin,” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77.
C. 
Enforcement. It shall be the duty of the City Commission on Human Rights to receive and investigate complaints and to initiate its own investigations of violations of this chapter and to take the necessary action, through the office of the Corporation Counsel, to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Any action taken by such Commission or Corporation Counsel under this chapter shall not require legislation of the City Council.
D. 
Certain Acts Prohibited.
(1) 
It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for the owner, lessee, sublessee, assignee or managing agent of, or other person having the right to sell, rent or lease, housing accommodations, already constructed or to be constructed:
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77]
(a) 
To refuse to sell, rent or lease any housing accommodations to any person or group of persons or refuse to negotiate for the sale, rental or lease of any housing accommodation to any person or group of persons because of the race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status of such person or persons; or to represent that any housing accommodation or any facilities of any housing accommodations is not available for inspection, sale, rental or lease when in fact it is so available or to otherwise deny or withhold any housing accommodations from any person or group of persons because of the race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status of such person or persons;
(b) 
To discriminate against any person because of his or her race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any such housing accommodations or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith;
(c) 
To print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application for the purchase, rental or lease of such housing accommodations, or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental or lease of such housing accommodations which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination.
(2) 
No person, bank, trust company, private banker, savings bank, industrial bank, savings and loan association, credit union, investment company, mortgage company, insurance company, or other financial institution or lender, doing business in the City and, if incorporated, regardless of whether incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, the United States or any other jurisdiction, or any officer, agent or employee thereof, to whom application is made for financial assistance for the purchase, acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of any housing accommodations shall:
[Amended 7-23-2015 by Ord. No. 77]
(a) 
Discriminate against any such applicant or applicants because of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status of such applicant or applicants or of any member, stockholder, director, officer or employee of such applicant or applicants, or of the prospective occupants or tenants of such housing accommodations in the granting, withholding, extending or in the fixing of the rates, terms or conditions of any such financial assistance.
(b) 
Use any form or application for such financial assistance or make any record or inquiry in connection with applications for such financial assistance which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification, preference or discrimination because of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, military status, or marital status.
(3) 
No person shall aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any of the acts forbidden under this chapter or attempt to do so.
(4) 
No person engaged in any activity to which this chapter applies shall retaliate or discriminate against any person because he or she has opposed any practices forbidden under this chapter or because he or she has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this chapter.
E. 
Penalties for offenses.
(1) 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of Subdivision D shall, for each and every offense, be deemed guilty of an offense, and, upon a determination that such offense has been committed, shall be liable for a penalty not to exceed a fine of $250 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both.
(2) 
Any person who sells or rents the housing accommodations in question to anyone other than the aggrieved person mentioned in a complaint, after notice that a complaint of discrimination has been filed against him or her, shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable for a penalty of a fine not to exceed $250 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both.
(3) 
Upon a determination that an offense has occurred under this chapter, an offender may, after application to a court of competent jurisdiction, be ordered to make available to the aggrieved person the premises involved.
F. 
Posting of Notices, Injunctions and Safeguards.
(1) 
In addition to the sanctions and remedies set forth in Subdivision E hereof, the Corporation Counsel may apply for an order in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or to restrain any violation of any provision of Subsection D hereof.
(2) 
In order to prevent the involvement of innocent third parties in the rental or sale of housing accommodations in the period after a complaint is filed, but before an order or injunction is obtained, the Corporation Counsel may post, for a period of 20 days, a notice on the housing accommodations, unless the person charged with discrimination agrees in writing not to sell or rent such housing accommodations during the pendency of the action or proceeding against him/her.
(3) 
Any person or persons who willfully removes, covers or defaces the posted notices shall be fined not more than $250, or shall be imprisoned not more than 15 days, or shall be both so fined and imprisoned.
(4) 
For the purposes of this chapter, a person may be deemed guilty of harassment upon a showing of lack of probable cause for the complaint, malice on the part of the complainant and termination of the proceeding initiated by the complainant under this chapter in favor of the person so aggrieved.
(5) 
In order to prevent multiplicity of proceedings, the provisions of this chapter shall not be operative where there is pending or there has been a determination in any other proceeding or action authorized under laws or ordinances of another governmental body based upon the identical acts or acts prohibited under Subsection D hereof.