What does a “Probable Cause” Finding Mean?
If the New York State Division of Human Rights finds “probable cause” that discrimination occurred, CONGRATULATIONS! Your case will proceed to a hearing. No hearing will occur unless the New York State Division of Human Rights finds probable cause that discrimination occurred. When this happens, you should immediately make a Freedom of Information Law request to obtain the Master Record, or New York State Division of Human Rights file. You may have to pay a photocopying fee.
You can download the form to make a FOIL request here:
Once you have completed the form, email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can mail your request to the Bronx Headquarters of the New York State Division of Human Rights, located at One Fordham Plaza, 4th Floor, Bronx, NY 10458, or fax it to 718-741-3217.
Prior to the evidentiary hearing, at which witnesses will be sworn, and documents entered, the New York State Division of Human Rights will schedule a one hour telephone Settlement Conference with an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). The ALJ who presides over the Settlement Conference will not be the ALJ who tries the case at a hearing.
Before the Settlement Conference, Complainant should calculate available damages, including mitigated backpay and compensatory damages for pain and suffering. If your case involves sex discrimination, or sexual harassment, and was filed after January 19, 2016, Complainant may also be awarded counsel fees. In rare cases, the New York State Division of Human Rights will reinstate an employee to his former position. At the Settlement Conference, the ALJ will dialogue with both parties and attempt to settle the case. If the case does not settle, it will be placed on the calendar for a hearing to occur a few months later.
Most hearings are scheduled for two consecutive days – either Monday and Tuesday, or Wednesday and Thursday.