Phillips & Associates

Jessica Massimi Discusses Whether You Can Sue New York City for Racial Discrimination with Super Lawyers

Jessica Massimi

Jessica Massimi is a New York employment attorney at Phillips & Associates. Ms. Massimi focuses her practice on employment discrimination that arises out of civil rights violations. She was named to the list of Rising Stars by Super Lawyers several years in a row. Super Lawyers is a service that not only recognizes top attorneys in various practice areas in each state but also enlists those top attorneys to answer questions of public interest. Ms. Massimi recently responded at Super Lawyers to the question of whether you can sue New York City for racial discrimination.

What Constitutes Racial Discrimination

Ms. Massimi explained that racial discrimination is defined as a bias against a person or group of people due to their race, or unfair treatment because of their race. Racial discrimination is prohibited by civil rights laws at the federal, state, and local levels. Discrimination based on race is prohibited not only in the workplace but also in public places, housing, and police activities. If you suffered harm due to racial discrimination, the nature of the claims that you would assert to recover damages depends on what happened and where you were when the discrimination occurred.

Pursuing Racial Discrimination Claims Against New York City as an Employee

Ms. Massimi mentioned common examples of racial discrimination that an employee may experience while working for New York City. Racial discrimination can range from inappropriate jokes, comments, and images to harassment based on race, or refusing to hire or promote a person based on his or her race. In extreme cases, a person may be terminated due to his or her race.

If you were a victim of racial discrimination in the workplace while you were employed by New York City, and you filed a written or verbal complaint regarding the discrimination, the City is prohibited from retaliating against you based on your complaint. If the City takes an adverse employment action against you because of your complaint, in addition to a racial discrimination claim, you may be able to pursue a retaliation claim. Retaliation often takes similar forms to the adverse employment acts caused by racial discrimination and can include a demotion or denial of a promotion, harassment, and termination.

Ms. Massimi noted that many New York City employees belong to unions and may be afforded legal representation through the union for retaliation claims. In some cases, union members are required to resolve retaliation claims through an arbitration process rather than a civil lawsuit.

Identifying the Correct Defendant

Ms. Massimi noted that racial discrimination claims that are pursued against New York City are more complicated than most racial discrimination claims in many ways, including when it comes to choosing the appropriate defendant to name in the lawsuit. Although you may work for a department within the City or an agency, you usually must name New York City as a defendant. Additionally, since you cannot recover punitive damages from the City, but you can recover them from an individual, you may want to name the individual who directly discriminated against you as well.

Other Lawsuits Against New York City Based on Racial Discrimination

Lastly, Ms. Massimi pointed out that in addition to employment claims arising out of racial discrimination, there are other types of racial discrimination claims that you can pursue against New York City. For example, you may be able to pursue a claim if your child suffered from racial discrimination at a public school or if you were subjected to discrimination by the New York City Housing Authority.

Consult a Seasoned New York City Attorney Regarding Your Options

Local, state, and federal laws prohibit most employers, including government entities like New York City, from racially discriminating against their employees. If you were an employee of New York City and encountered racial discrimination in the workplace, Ms. Massimi and the other skilled employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates can analyze the facts of your case and assist you in pursuing damages. We can be contacted through our online form or at (212) 248-7431 to set up a consultation to discuss your potential claims. We represent people harmed by racial discrimination in the workplace in lawsuits in New York City, as well as Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Client Reviews
I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
I had an excellent experience with this team! Thanks, Marjorie, Brittany, and Candy for your great support and prompt answers to all my questions. I highly recommend this firm. This team works very hard and I am extremely happy with the results. Ana
They were articulate, compassionate, persistent, and they wrote superbly. I felt as if they were truly in my corner, and I have recommended them to others. Susan
Mr. Phillips' law firm is dedicated to providing excellent service. Your case is explained step by step. All questions and concerns are addressed promptly and accurately. I am extremely satisfied and highly recommend Mr. Phillips. Ingrit