By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City — City commissioner on human rights Carmelyn Malalis told members of ethnic and community press here that someone in the city experiencing bullying in the workplace can be assisted in her office. In a forum at the CUNY Journalism School recently, Malalis said victims of work place bullying may be able to find redress through the her Human Rights Commission because it’s more flexible than federal laws.
Prof. Gregg Morris, a journalism teacher at Hunter College put forward the question, having spearheaded a legislative campaign against work place bullying in New York and in the neighboring states. The NYS Healthy Workplace Bill is gathering signatures for it to become a state law in 2016.
The American Psychological Association defines bullying as an form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Having had his own share of workplace bullying and intimidation, Prof. Morris has taken his personal agony into higher ground by launching a legislative movement to penalize those who bully co-workers and subordinates.
Malalis, a descent of Filipino parents and partner at the Outten and Golden law firm, assumed office as chairperson and commissioner for the human rights in January 2015. Since then, she has vigorously promoted the commission to the public. In her watch, the commission has been given more teeth to address human rights issues and opened itself to people needing assistance on employment, racial, and housing discrimination as well as other related services.
The cases they have assisted has risen by 40 percent compared to the previous administration with an average of 600 cases per month, Malalis said in during the forum which was sponsored by the Center for Community and Ethnic Media of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Discriminations against employment due to racial background, credit scores, and previous criminal offenses can be redressed before the commission, which can be reached immediately through its direct phone lines.
The commission on human rights in the city is also providing training and education on new laws of the city for employers, business associations, and individuals. “There are cases when you really do not need a lawyer or cannot afford one. You just have to know your rights first and foremost so you can do something about your concern,” Malalis said.
The HR commission is currently reaching out to communities and business sectors in order to stir and hold accountable stakeholders of their various responsibilities.
Malalis encouraged everyone at the forum to check on the website http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/html/home/home.shtml for updates on services and implementation of laws that impact on the welfare and rights of citizens in New York City.