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NYC Bus Accused of Sex Discrimination

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 24, 2011 6:53 AM

If you’re a woman who tries to ride on the B110 bus line in New York, you may be asked to sit in the back. At least this is what some investigatory journalists allege. And it has to do with religion. Reporters say that the sex discrimination on the bus line arose because the route runs through the Hasidic Jewish community.

The incident was investigated by reporters who tried to sit in on the bus. Several female reporters were asked to move to the back by bus drivers.

In fact, one bus driver became so irate when a reporter declined to move that he refused to drive until she conceded.

Traditionally, men and women are often separated in the Hasidic Jewish faith, according to CBS2-TV. This is why the female passengers are asked to sit in the back.

The bus is a public bus. However, it's not operated by the city. It's a "franchise route" meaning that a private company owns and operates the line. The company, Private Transportation Corp., has a contract with the city for the rights.

New York City's transit authority is not pleased with the bus line's actions, and has warned them to change the policies. They are also threatening to cut their franchise agreement with the company if they continue to discriminate.

Under federal law, gender discrimination is illegal in a variety of different situations. For example, you can't be discriminated against in areas including education, employment, access to buildings and businesses, and federal services.

Typically, federal discrimination statutes are applicable to businesses that are open to the public. They don't usually apply to private individuals.

In this specific situation, the B110 bus is privately owned. But they are also receiving the right to operate the line by the city. Not only that, but the bus is meant to be open to the public. So if there is sex discrimination on the bus, it should be stopped. Otherwise, they are likely breaking anti-discrimination statutes.

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