When Can COVID-19 Protective Measures Trigger Discrimination Claims?

Co-Op, Condo & Real Estate Advisor

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PUBLISHED ON: April 27, 2020


Although many of the recommendations boards have implemented since mid-March have been made in a good-faith effort to keep a building free of the coronavirus, a board should be aware that some of the rules that may have been implemented on an exigent basis (not our clients of course!) may lead to liability exposure for the board and its individual members.

Most boards in New York City have, by now, prohibited dog walkers, house cleaners and package delivery persons from entering a co-op or condo building, and have also prohibited move-ins, move-outs and renovations; while these rules are unlikely to be challenged as discriminatory, we have seen one rule in particular that gives us cause for concern. That rule bans babysitters, nannies and other childcare givers from entering the building.

The reason this gives us concern is because the New York City Human Rights Law, codified at the New York City Administrative Code §8-107(5)(1)(b), protects a very broad category of individuals. Under this section, it is unlawful to discriminate against people “in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any housing accommodation” based on...