New York Attorney General Schneiderman's Office Queries Standard Highline Hotel On Alleged Discrimination

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Andre Balazs, Chief Executive Officer

The General Manager

The Standard High Line Hotel

848 Washington at 13th Street

New York, NY 10014

Walnut Hill Lane P.O. Box 152079

Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Re: Prohibition of Discrimination in Public Accommodations: Race, Color and Military Status

Dear Mr. Balazs:

The New York State Attorney General’s Office (OAG) has reviewed and received information alleging discriminatory policies and practices maintained by the Standard High Line Hotel (“the Standard”).  It is our understanding that in May 2015 a uniformed female navy officer was denied entry into your hotel’s rooftop lounge because her military-issued uniform did not meet the Standard’s entrance and/or dress code policies.  In addition, our office has received information indicating that on or about September 2014, several African American women were falsely accused of solicitation by a security guard employed by the Standard.  These incidents raise concerns about the Standard’s compliance with state and local anti-discrimination laws and questions regarding the Standard’s efforts to ensure equal access and equal treatment.

As you may be aware, federal, state, and local civil rights laws prohibit places of public accommodation, including nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, bars, and other places of entertainment, from discriminating on the basis of race, color, and military status.  Entities that serve the public must comply with these anti-discrimination requirements.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is committed to ensuring equal access to public accommodations for all New Yorkers, regardless of race, military status or any other protected status.  Under New York State law, our office has the authority to investigate allegations of discrimination made against public accommodations that are registered to conduct business in the State of New York.

To confirm the Standard’s compliance with relevant federal, state and city anti-discrimination laws, we ask that the Standard provide our office with copies of the following categories of documents on or before June 22, 2015:

(1) Copies of any anti-discrimination policy applicable to guests of the Standard;

(2) Copies of any entrance policy, dress code policy or other written policies concerning admission into the Standard;

(3) All training materials used by the Standard to educate its employees, contractors, agents and representatives about anti-discrimination laws and requirements in New York State;  and

(4) Copies of all complaints, whether formal or informal, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color or military status made by guests and prospective guests of the Standard Hotel between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2015, including information describing the resolution of and response to such complaints.

Following our review of these materials, we seek to schedule a meeting during the week of June 29, 2015 to discuss this matter. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Kristen ClarkeBureau Chief

Civil Rights Bureau

cc: Mr. Kevin Rockey, Managing Director

Standard High Line

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