City Bar Justice Center Announces New Anti-Harassment Project
The City Bar Justice Center (CBJC), the pro bono affiliate of the New York City Bar Association, has announced the formation of the Anti-Harassment Project. The new project will provide pro bono legal assistance to New Yorkers who are threatened, harassed or coerced because they belong in a class of people who are protected under the law, including race, gender, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.
Mobilizing the Legal Community to Fight Discriminatory Harassment. In December 2016, CBJC co-sponsored an event for nearly 400 attorneys on Assisting Victims of Hate Crimes & Bias and Representing Peaceful Protesters. Following the demand for opportunities to volunteer on these matters, CBJC received a grant from The New York Community Trust, with funds derived from the LuEsther T. Mertz Fund, to launch the Anti-Harassment Project.
New York City has a little-utilized discriminatory harassment statute that creates a civil action for people who have experienced discriminatory harassment. This right supplements the already-existing protections from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. People who are victims of discriminatory harassment are able to pursue civil cases directly in New York State Supreme Court, or they can file an administrative complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Attorneys’ fees are available as an incentive to take on these cases in both fora.
The Anti-Harassment Project will help New Yorkers make use of the discriminatory harassment statute by recruiting and training law firms and experienced attorneys to take pro bono discriminatory harassment cases, identifying cases through CBJC’s Legal Hotline, and, where appropriate, matching cases with trained pro bono attorneys and providing support for attorneys taking those cases. A continuing legal education program is in development for early summer 2017. The project will also build relationships with community groups, minority bar associations, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights to raise awareness of the discriminatory harassment law and the availability of pro bono lawyers through CBJC’s hotline.
The Anti-Harassment Project is coordinated by CBJC attorney Christin M. Damiano, a graduate of American University Washington College of Law with many years of experience working on landlord/tenant issues, consumer law problems, family/matrimonial law, domestic violence, bankruptcy, and other issues low-income New Yorkers face every day.
The project can be reached at (212) 382-4765 or via email.
About the City Bar Justice Center
The City Bar Justice Center increases access to justice by leveraging the resources of the New York City legal community. CBJC operates the city’s busiest legal hotline and annually provides direct legal representation, information and advocacy to over 20,000 New Yorkers in areas including immigration, homelessness, veterans assistance, foreclosure, bankruptcy, elderlaw, cancer advocacy and micro-entrepreneurship.