Jewish Community Gratified That Human Rights Commission Settles Misguided Lawsuit Against Frum Businesses


williamsburgAgudath Israel of America greeted New York City Human Rights Commissioner Patricia L. Gatling’s announcement of a settlement in the city’s lawsuit against several Williamsburg stores with dress code signs as “a sign of reasonableness” from the new city administration.

“While we believe that the signs, which simply requested that customers respect the community’s values with regard to dress, were entirely legal,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, the organization’s executive vice president, “we are happy that the issue here is closed.”

The commissioner’s statement asserted that, according to “the proposed agreement, representatives from the stores agreed that if they were to post new signs in their windows, they would say that while modest dress is appreciated, all individuals are welcome to enter the stores free from discrimination.”

While Agudath Israel welcomed the news, Rabbi Zwiebel also expressed his view that “the case should never have been brought in the first place,” and that “the Commission’s pursuit of the Williamsburg store owners raised serious concerns of selective prosecution.”  He praised the de Blasio administration for “apparently realizing that disturbing aspect of this suit, its lack of legal merit, and the need for reason and good will here.”

“I am pleased that these small business owners and the Human Rights Commission have come to a reasonable agreement. This was an unfair and unnecessary lawsuit that arbitrarily targeted these businesses while ignoring many others around the city that employ similar dress codes. As I said at the time, this was clearly another example of local government overstepping its authority and unfairly targeting the Orthodox community. I am very relieved that the merchants and the city were able to settle this matter without resorting to a trial,” said Councilman David Greenfield.

The signs posted in the store windows simply read, “No shorts; no barefoot; no sleeveless; no low cut necklines; thank you” or something similar and had not been the subject of any formal complaints by the public. Under the settlement, any signs the business owners post must make it clear that while modest dress is requested and appreciated, all members of the public are welcome to enter the store.

After the Human Rights Commission announced its outrageous action against these merchants last year, Councilman Greenfield personally called Chairwoman Patricia Gatling and several other commission members to express how upset the Orthodox Jewish community is with the decision to sue these small business owners for simply asking customers to dress modestly. At the time, Councilman Greenfield requested that each commission member ask the HRC staff to withdraw its lawsuit against the seven store owners, which had been scheduled for a two-day administrative trial this month before the lawsuit was settled.

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. I don’t have any problem with the settlement, but I would like that every upscale restaurant and the like, should be similarly required to modify their signs and substitute them with others that read “While elegant attire is requested and appreciated, all members of the public are welcome to patronize the establishment”.

    Else, it’s just the usual antisemitic tripe.