Dorina Cela, an employment discrimination attorney at Phillips & Associates, fights to ensure that New York workers are given an equal opportunity in the workplace. She focuses on empowering victims of unlawful discrimination and harassment. Like her colleagues, Ms. Cela believes that employers that violate New York or federal law should be held accountable for their actions. If you are the victim of illegal workplace discrimination or harassment, she may be able to help you pursue compensation.
Ms. Cela utilizes the rights given to employees by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State and New York City Civil Rights Laws to pursue legal action against employers for unlawful conduct. The Civil Rights Act and other state and local laws prohibit unequal treatment based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, and other personal characteristics. Discrimination and harassment are two major categories of unlawful employer behavior. Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or group of employees differently because of a protected personal trait. It may manifest through hiring, firing, demoting, providing benefits, or other employment decisions. Essentially, if an employer makes a decision based on a protected personal characteristic, it may have engaged in unlawful discrimination.
Employers may be liable for sexual harassment if they allow or create a hostile work environment, which is formed by behavior that either unreasonably interferes with the victim’s ability to do his or her job or creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment in the office. Another legally recognized form of sexual harassment is referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment, or behavior intended to elicit certain conduct from employees, such as going on a date with a supervisor, in exchange for a particular benefit, such as a raise or promotion. Sexual harassment is technically a form of gender discrimination, and employees affected by it may be able to receive a wide range of remedies, ranging from compensatory damages and backpay to potential reinstatement.
Ms. Cela attended Hunter College in New York and earned a B.A. with a double major in political science and psychology. She continued her education by obtaining a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, where she earned awards for her study of international human rights law and pro bono legal services.
During law school, Ms. Cela advocated for the rights of indigent clients. As a certified law student at the San Diego Alternate Public Defender, she gained court experience by appearing on behalf of clients in probation hearings, under the supervision of senior attorneys. At a San Diego nonprofit, she studied the impact of economic, political, and social conditions of selected nations on individual clients’ pursuits of justice and assisted in the preparation of their asylum cases. These internships gave her a unique insight into individual struggles for human rights and dignity, which remain her inspiration for legal advocacy.
As an active member of her school’s Alternate Dispute Resolution team, Ms. Cela also learned valuable negotiation skills and strategies that have equipped her with the right tools to negotiate efficiently on behalf of her clients.
Since her graduation from law school, Ms. Cela has worked on a variety of cases, including immigration, securities, bankruptcy, and breach of contract matters. She is fluent in Albanian, conversational in Italian, and familiar with French, German, and Spanish. She is admitted to the New York Bar and is a member of the National Employment Lawyers’ Association in New York, the New York City Bar Association, the New York Women’s Bar Association, and the New York County Lawyers’ Association, where she serves on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, the Labor Relations & Employment Law Committee, and the Law and Literature Committee.
Ms. Cela began her work as an attorney for Phillips & Associates in July of 2014. She is committed to providing dedicated representation for workers in New York City and the surrounding communities.