Joan B. Lopez
Joan B. Lopez is a New York City employment attorney at the law firm of Phillips & Associates. She has long been dedicated to fighting for workers against abuses of power by employers, whether this involves discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
Ms. Lopez received a Bachelor of Arts with Highest Honors in Law & Society and Religious Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. She minored in Asian American Studies. In college, her honors included: College Honors, Dean’s Honors, Ridley Tree Foundation Scholar, The Professor Thomas F. O’Dea Memorial Award, The City Club Prize, and Academic Excellence Award. She was also a member of Theta Alpha Kappa - - a national honor society for students who majored in religious studies and theology. She also participated in the Community Affairs Board’s Family Literacy Program. After graduation, she attended the Divinity School at Harvard University, earning an MTS in Religion, Ethics and Politics. She was a 2011 Presidential Scholar with a full-tuition scholarship and stipend for two years. She participated in the Asian Student Association and HDS Catholics.
Ms. Lopez graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2015. While there, she represented low-income clients in unemployment and food stamp cases as a 3.03 certified student attorney at the Poverty Law and Practice Clinic. She also served as a Research Assistant to Professor Hope Lewis on the intersection between American and international discourse on race in Summer 2013 & Winter 2014. She co-founded and co-chaired the Interfaith Law Students Association, competed in George Washington University Law School’s National Religious Freedom Moot Court, and participated in the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (“APALSA”). She gained insight into the judicial system by working as a judicial intern for the Hon. Bruce M. Selya, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She also interned with the Civil Rights Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, an employment law firm in Boston, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Following law school, Ms. Lopez served as a volunteer attorney with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Prior to joining Phillips & Associates, she also worked as an associate at a private firm, handling many types of discrimination and wage and hour cases. In 2018, Ms. Lopez was recognized as a “Rising Star” by New York Super Lawyers.
Federal, state, and local laws prohibit employment discrimination. In most cases, more protection is available to workers under the New York City Human Rights Law than federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city law protects characteristics such as race, creed, age, color, national origin, citizenship status, alienage, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, and sexual orientation. The New York State Human Rights Law also protects more characteristics than federal law does, but it does not permit the recovery of punitive damages.
Harassment is a form of discrimination. It can include derogatory comments, jokes, pranks, taunts, threats, touching, and violence based on protected characteristics. The harassing conduct must be either very severe or pervasive, such that it alters the workplace conditions. For example, if you are Black and your employer calls you the n-word, while coworkers send you memes that depict lynching, this would give rise to a hostile work environment harassment claim based on race. However, sexual harassment may take the form of either hostile work environment harassment or quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment involves a figure of authority in the workplace requesting sexual favors in exchange for providing an employment benefit, such as a raise, or refraining from an adverse employment decision, such as termination.
If you successfully bring a lawsuit based on employment discrimination or harassment under the New York City Human Rights Law, remedies may include:
- Back pay
- Hiring or reinstatement, or front pay
- Discipline of the harasser
- Injunctive relief
- Compensatory damages for items of loss, such as emotional distress
- Punitive damages if the conduct was egregious
Ms. Lopez is a dedicated and skillful employment attorney. If you are concerned about discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the job, you should consult us. Contact Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or online. We pursue employment litigation in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties and in New Jersey.