Criminal History Harassment
Legal Representation for Employees in New York City and Beyond
New York City protects workers who have a criminal history. You should not be subject to a hostile work environment in the City because you were arrested or convicted of a crime. If you face harassment at your job because of your criminal history, you may be able to recover damages. You should consult the New York City criminal history harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys are seasoned litigators who are committed to helping employees.
Criminal History Harassment Under New York City Law
The New York City Human Rights Law is widely regarded as one of the most protective anti-discrimination laws in the country. It was amended by the New York City Fair Chance Act, which sought to equalize job searches for workers with and without criminal histories. A worker’s qualifications generally should be considered prior to his or her conviction history under the city law, and it is illegal for most employers to ask about criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been extended. Additionally, since the law should be construed liberally, it should protect you against criminal history harassment on the job.
Harassment under the city law could involve intimidation, derogatory remarks, physical actions, memes, or jokes based on your criminal history. To pursue a harassment claim under the city law, you must show that you were treated less well than other employees based on your criminal history. For example, if your supervisor repeatedly sends you cartoons featuring prisoners after finding out that you were arrested, you may have a claim for criminal history harassment.
Harassment may be perpetrated by your supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a coworker, a client, or a customer. For example, if your supervisor found out that you were arrested as a juvenile and started making daily, cruel jokes in front of coworkers that “once you’re a criminal, you’re always a criminal,” and suggests that you cannot be trusted with a client’s file, you should consult a criminal history harassment attorney in New York City.
The New York State Human Rights Law protects people with prior arrest records that were resolved favorably or that led to sealed convictions or youthful offender adjudications. It also protects people with prior criminal conviction records. Under Article 23-A, § 753 of the Correction Law, a private employer must evaluate certain circumstances to determine whether a prior conviction should affect employment. Like the city anti-discrimination law, the state law is supposed to be construed liberally to fulfill its remedial purpose.
If you were harassed while working for a private employer based on your criminal history, you might have a basis for suing for damages through a claim under the state law, but the city law affords stronger protections. To recover damages under state law in a hostile work environment claim, you would need to show that your workplace was permeated with discriminatory intimidation, insults, or ridicule that was severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of your employment and create an abusive working environment. The court looks at whether it was hostile from both a reasonable person’s standpoint and the victim’s subjective perspective. This can only be determined by looking at the totality of the circumstances. For example, if you are subject to many derogatory remarks about being a con-artist, or physical bullying over a long period, a New York City criminal history harassment attorney may be able to help you recover damages from an employer under the theory that it created a hostile work environment.
No federal law expressly prohibits criminal history harassment. However, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, and national origin, among other characteristics. In some cases, criminal history harassment may overlap with race, color, or national origin harassment. For example, if you are black and your coworkers taunt you by saying that your criminal record proves that black people are naturally predisposed to committing crimes, you might have a claim for racial harassment under Title VII, even if you cannot pursue damages for criminal history harassment.
Consult a Knowledgeable Employment Attorney
If you have faced criminal history harassment, you should discuss your situation with an experienced employment attorney. It can be difficult to go up against an employer with significantly more resources than you have, and you should have a seasoned advocate by your side. Phillips & Associates represents workers in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, along with Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or via our online form to talk to a criminal history harassment lawyer in New York City.
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