When you work hard, you deserve to be treated fairly. State and federal laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of characteristics that do not affect your work performance. Employees who have been experienced discrimination can take legal action to secure compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.
How New York Strengthens Federal Protections
In all 50 states, federal law prevents discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, citizenship status, or genetic information. New York’s state laws strengthen protections for employees by adding categories such as:
- Marital or family status
- Status as a victim of domestic violence
- Military status or service
- Political activities
- Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Prior arrests and criminal accusations
- Convictions for past crimes (unless specific requirements have been met)
- The lawful use of any product or recreational activities when not at work
- Observance of Sabbath
- Use of a service dog for a disability
New York’s state laws also expand the definition of age discrimination by protecting employees age 18 and over. Federal age discrimination law only applies to people who are age 40 and over.
Recognizing Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination isn’t always obvious. It can manifest in many ways. For example:
- You’ve been passed over for multiple promotions, despite your good performance. You are the only minority in your department, and your supervisor has said you don’t fit the “image” the company wants to portray to customers.
- Your supervisor has repeatedly refused to accommodate your religious needs.
- You are earning a lower wage compared to your coworkers with the same duties, position, and experience.
- As an older employee, you’ve been pushed out of projects related to technology and social media. Your supervisor says younger employees are better suited to the task.
- After asking for accommodations for your disability, you are regularly given the least desirable shifts or have your scheduled hours greatly reduced.
- You were denied the opportunity to attend a business conference because your supervisor believed a woman with young children shouldn’t travel for an extended period of time.
- You’re the only woman in your department, and your male colleagues regularly comment on your appearance and call you “sweetheart” while in business meetings. When you ask for more challenging tasks, you’re told to pick up lunch for the group.
If your employer treats you unfairly for a discriminatory reason, they may or may not be aware of their actions—but that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to seek out legal recourse for employment discrimination. Contact us today.
Employment discrimination laws also protect people who are applying for positions with a specific employer. However, since a prospective employee is unlikely to be aware of all factors that are considered in the hiring process, it can be more challenging to identify this type of discrimination.
Taking Action to Protect Your Right to Fair Treatment
On a federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulates workplace discrimination. In New York, the Division of Human Rights enforces state antidiscrimination laws. You are not required to hire an attorney before filing a complaint with either of these organizations. However, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced employment attorney to learn about the strength of your case and how to structure a complaint that will support any lawsuit you plan to file.
We are committed to helping New York employees who’ve experienced employment discrimination hold their employers accountable under the appropriate state and federal laws. We serve clients throughout New York, including those who live and work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, and Nassau County.
Our commitment to employees can be seen in the results we’ve been able to obtain for clients. We’ve been involved in some of the largest employment class actions and labor disputes in U.S. history, including an $80 million race discrimination settlement in McReynolds v. Sodexho Marriott Services and a labor arbitration that resulted in New York City police officers getting higher raises than firefighters for the first time in 100 years.
We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no upfront cost associated with protecting your legal rights. Please complete our contact form or call us at (212) 601-2728 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. We also encourage you to download our free e-books, Fight Back Against Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environments and The New Yorker’s Guide to Wrongful Termination and Retaliation, to learn more about your claim for damages and other remedies.