The New York City Commission on Human Rights agreed today to dismiss its lawsuit against Kirkland & Ellis pro bono clients, seven stores owned by Chassidic Jews on Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The commission had alleged that dress code signs posted by the businesses that sought modest attire discriminated on the basis of gender and creed, in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.
The settlement between the commission and the storeowners recognizes that these stores, like any other store or restaurant in New York City, are permitted to impose a dress code in their establishments. Along with the dress code sign, the businesses agreed to make clear that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or creed, as has always been both their intent and conduct.
Rabbi David Niederman, executive director and president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, Inc., spoke on behalf of the stores in applauding this result.
“What’s good for Manhattan is good for Williamsburg also,” he said. “We’re very happy that the small businesses cannot be tortured anymore. And we are very appreciative of the excellent pro bono representation that we received from Kirkland & Ellis.”
“It never made any sense that the Human Rights Commission, the city agency charged with defending human rights, had brought this lawsuit targeting the Hasidic community. We are very pleased with this resolution,” said Jay Lefkowitz, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.
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