Employment Discrimination

Posted In: Employment Law

Are You a Victim of Employment Discrimination?

Employment discrimination is one of the most pressing problems facing employees every day. When an employee suffers at work for the reason of their gender, race, religion, country of origin, pregnancy status, religion, age or sexual orientation, not only is it wrong but it may be illegal. If you have suffered from discrimination, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP today to protect your legal rights.

Employment Discrimination

When an employee suffers at work — such as being demoted, fired, forced to work a “bad shift” or under other unfavorable conditions, etc. – and this adverse action is based on characteristics unrelated to their work abilities, he or she may be protected under state and federal laws prohibiting these actions.

To have legal protection from discrimination, you must be a member of a protected class of people. Protected class members may suffer from:

  • Race discrimination
  • National origin discrimination
  • Age discrimination
  • Sex discrimination
  • Sexual orientation discrimination
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  • Religious discrimination
  • Discrimination due to one’s disability

While there are various requirements and exclusions under state and federal laws, it is generally illegal for an employer to discriminate against its employees based on one’s belonging to one of these groups or classes.

Examples of harassment may include the following:

  • Pressure for dates
  • Repeated hints or attempts for sexual favors
  • Offensive remarks about appearance
  • Sexual or uncomfortable touching
  • Jokes that make you feel uncomfortable, especially about race, sex, sexual orientation, disability and religion
  • People using racial epithets or phrases as work
  • People making gestures that offend your sex, race or ethnic group
  • People posting offensive pictures or materials in the office
  • People sending offensive emails in the workplace, including racist or sexist jokes, pictures or other materials that make you uncomfortable
  • People commenting negatively about your skin color
  • People insulting or intimidating you due to a mental or physical impairment

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based discrimination in the workplace where an employee experiences unfair and/or unwanted treatment as a result of their gender. Sexual harassment can consist of unwanted sexual advancements, crude or suggestive remarks of a sexual nature, or even inappropriate touching. It can be verbal as well as physical. Sexual harassment is illegal under New York city, state and federal laws. Where the harassment persists against the victim’s protests, if the harassment interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her job, or where it creates a hostile or offensive work environment for the employee, that employee has important legal rights and can and should seek to enforce them.

Some examples of Sexual Harassment might be:

  • “My boss keeps asking me out and won’t take no for an answer.”
  • “I was groped at a work party.”
  • “My coworkers are forwarding emails of naked women and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
  • “My boss has implied that I will get a promotion or pay raise if I go out with him.”

Race-Based Harassment

If you were fired, not hired, had your hours impacted, made to work “bad shifts”, or otherwise feel that you were treated unfairly based on the color of your skin, then you were a victim of racial discrimination. This is illegal under New York and Federal law.

Some examples of Race-Based Harassment might be:

  • “My coworkers always speak down to me because I’m black.”
  • “I wasn’t promoted because I’m black.”
  • “I was fired because my boss doesn’t like minorities.”

Sexual Orientation Harassment

The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) is a New York law that prohibits sexual orientation-based discrimination. If you were discriminated against because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you have rights under this New York law.

Some examples of Sexual Orientation Based Harassment might be:

  • “My coworkers make fun of me because I’m gay.”
  • “I was called a fag at work.”
  • “I was fired because they found out I was a lesbian.”

What Adverse Actions Might Be Considered Illegal Employment Discrimination?

Below are acts of discrimination which an employer may be prohibited by law:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Withholding promotions
  • Refusal to hire
  • Unequal pay
  • Forcing one to work less desirable shifts
  • Assigning work and projects

Who Can File an Employment Discrimination Claim?

There are strong remedies under New York City, State, and Federal law which serve to protect employees from illegal discrimination. These may include:

  • Financial damages against one’s employer
  • The right to recover lost and future earnings and benefits
  • The right to recover money for emotional distress
  • Where there is “willful” discrimination by the company, punitive damages may apply
  • Interest on all unpaid earnings and benefits
  • Reinstatement of lost position
  • The payment of legal fees

How Can I File an Employment Discrimination Case?

If you think you were the victim of wrongful employment discrimination, you should speak with an attorney at Slater Slater Schulman LLP. Call 800-251-6990 or fill out the form on this page today, and we can schedule a free consultation where we will be able to advise you of your rights and potential remedies. An employee may also bring a discrimination case on his or her own through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Whichever method you choose, you should keep in mind that it might be important time limits for which you are eligible to bring your claim forward.

If you believe that you have been wrongfully discriminated against, you are entitled to a free, confidential consultation with a New York Labor Law Attorney. The employment discrimination attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP are available to help. Call us today at (800) 251-6990 or enter your information below, and we will be happy to discuss your legal rights and how we can work to protect them.

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