Phillips & Associates is an award-winning law firm of New York City employment attorneys who exclusively represent plaintiffs against their employers. We are dedicated to defending against discrimination, as our recent advertising campaign emphasizes. If you believe that you have faced employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on your membership in a protected class, you should contact our firm to discuss your next steps. We are ready to fight for your rights.
Overview of Employment Discrimination Laws
Employment discrimination is prohibited under federal, state, and local laws. Each law protects certain characteristics. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, and national origin. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on a disability. These and other federal anti-discrimination laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, race, creed, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, domestic violence victim status, criminal or arrest record, military status, and predisposing genetic characteristics. This law used to apply to employers with at least four employees, but last summer, the Governor signed amendments that allow it to apply to employers with just one employee.
The New York City Human Rights Law is widely recognized as one of the most liberal laws in the country. This law protects employees from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, marital status, domestic violence victim status, color, national origin, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, or military status. Additional protected characteristics include caregiver status, arrest or criminal record, salary history, status as a victim of sex offenses or stalking or domestic violence, unemployment status, credit history, and sexual and reproductive health decisions.
Retaliation is an adverse employment action taken because you engaged in a protected activity under any of the above-mentioned anti-discrimination laws. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you because you opposed an illegal practice, filed a complaint or charge, or helped with or testified in an investigation or legal proceeding. You are entitled to complain in good faith to HR or file a charge of discrimination, and you should not be punished for having done so. Often, it is more straightforward to show retaliation than it is to establish discrimination or harassment, particularly if you engaged in the protected activity shortly before your employer took the retaliatory action.
The amount and nature of the damages to which you may be entitled depend on which law you use to pursue relief. Title VII and other federal anti-discrimination laws usually apply to midsize and large employers. Laws enforced by the EEOC provide that punitive damages can be awarded, but they must be capped. Previously, the New York State Human Rights Law prohibited awarding punitive damages, but in the summer of 2019, the Governor signed new legislation permitting punitive damages to be awarded in cases brought under the state law. The new legislation also provided that the law should be construed broadly and independently, irrespective of the interpretation of the same language used in federal civil rights statutes. Exceptions are supposed to be narrowly construed in order to significantly deter discrimination.
The New York City Human Rights Law is very protective of employees. Remedies that you may be able to recover include compensatory damages, reinstatement, back pay, front pay, and punitive damages.
Hire an Aggressive New York City Attorney to Fight Discrimination
You may have redress for employment discrimination under federal, state, or local laws, and it is crucial to discuss the matter with a seasoned attorney who can examine the viability of your claim. If you believe that you were a victim of employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, you should contact Phillips & Associates. We can be reached at (866) 229-9441 or through our online form. Our firm represents employees in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.