Excerpts from the New York Human Rights Law and other human rights laws. Other states have similar human rights laws so please check your state's constitution for a comparison.
New York State Article 15, § 296. Unlawful discriminatory practices.
2. (a) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, or disability or marital status of any person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, including the extension of credit, or, directly or indirectly, to publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail any written or printed communication, notice or advertisement, to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any such place shall be refused, withheld from or denied to any person on account of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, or disability or marital status, or that the patronage or custom thereat of any person of or purporting to be of any particular race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex or marital status, or having a disability is unwelcome, objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited.
(c) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, "discriminatory practice" includes:
(i) a refusal to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless such person can demonstrate that making such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of such facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations;
(ii) a refusal to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded or denied services because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless such person can demonstrate that taking such steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the facility, privilege, advantage or accommodation being offered or would result in an undue burden;
(iii) a refusal to remove architectural barriers, and communication barriers that are structural in nature, in existing facilities, and transportation barriers in existing vehicles and rail passenger cars used by an establishment for transporting individuals (not including barriers that can only be removed through the retrofitting of vehicles or rail passenger cars by the installation of a hydraulic or other lift), where such removal is readily achievable; and
(iv) where such person can demonstrate that the removal of a barrier under subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph is not readily achievable, a failure to make such facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations available through alternative methods if such methods are readily achievable.
Inmates and prisoners of war are better treated
Although the following laws do not apply to our plaintiffs, it is interesting to note that federal regulations require that even prison inmates be treated more humanely than most of us were.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Inmate Discipline Program, document 5566.06 §552.22b states categorically: “Force may not be used to punish an inmate.” Furthermore, §552.27c requires that “All use of force incidents (to restrain inmates) must be videotaped”. Upon knowledge and belief, the law does not currently require videotaping in psychiatric hospitals, although the Plaintiff would like to publicly express her belief that it should.
Frankly, even prisoners of war are shown more respect by their captors than many psychiatric patients are shown. The following regulations are excerpts from the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – all of which most mental hospitals violate: (9.1). each prisoner shall occupy by night a cell or room by himself… it is not desirable to have two prisoners in a cell or room. (17.1). Every prisoner who is not allowed to wear his own clothing shall be provided with an outfit of clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to keep him in good health. Such clothing shall in no manner be degrading or humiliating. (20.2.) Drinking water shall be available to every prisoner whenever he needs it. (21.1.) Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits. (31). Corporal punishment… and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences. In other words, it would have been illegal to abuse even Saddam Hussein in the ways that Hillside abused Lauren.