Kevin Guaranda is an experienced and knowledgeable paralegal who assists the team of New York City employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates. Kevin graduated from the American Bar Association accredited paralegal program at Nassau Community College in 2015 with an Associate of Arts and Sciences. Prior to Phillips & Associates, Kevin worked as a paralegal at a boutique employment law firm focusing in both state and federal litigations, appeals and other various employment matters throughout Long Island and New York City. Kevin is dedicated to assisting people in need of a sexual harassment lawyer or representation in other employment matters.
If you experience discrimination, retaliation, or harassment in the workplace, you should retain an experienced attorney. At Phillips & Associates, we provide counsel for claims related to federal, state, and local laws. Some of the federal anti-discrimination laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
Under Title VII, employers may not discriminate against job applicants or employees on the basis of their color, race, national origin, religion, or sex. There is also an anti-retaliation provision that protects job applicants and employees who engage in trying to stand up for themselves under this law. Even if a court ultimately determines that the conduct was not discriminatory within the meaning of Title VII, you may prevail in a retaliation claim if your employer took an adverse step against you for engaging in a protected activity under a good-faith belief that you experienced discrimination.
Discrimination may occur in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, benefits, compensation, and job assignments. It may involve harassment on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as sex or race. In some cases, an employer's policy or practice seems neutral but disproportionately affects someone in a protected class. This practice will only be found legal if the employer has a legitimate job-related reason for using it.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces many of the federal anti-discrimination laws. For claims brought under these laws, you must first file a charge with the EEOC and receive a notice of right to sue letter before bringing a lawsuit against your employer. In some cases, the EEOC investigates and does not find discrimination, but you should not assume that this finding is correct.
Often, state or local laws are more favorable to employees than federal laws. Title VII, for example, applies to businesses with a minimum of 15 employees, so people who work for private employers with fewer employees are left unprotected. Moreover, there are damages caps on lawsuits brought under Title VII. The amount of damages that you may recover under Title VII depends on how large your employer is.
The New York Human Rights Law provides more expansive protections to a greater number of employees. This law protects businesses with four or more employees. A covered employer may not discriminate against a job applicant or employee due to race, color, sex, age, creed, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, national origin, marital status, disability, criminal arrest record, predisposing genetic characteristics, or military status. There are more protected classes under New York laws. Sexual orientation is explicitly protected, whereas under Title VII, it is only implicitly protected as set forth in EEOC guidance and case law.
As with Title VII, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you because you filed a complaint arising under the New York Human Rights Law, because you opposed an unlawful practice in the workplace, or because you helped out in an investigation or proceeding related to rights under this law. Retaliation occurs when an adverse action is taken against someone for exercising their rights under the law. This may include terminating an employee, reassigning an employee to a less favorable assignment, or docking an employee's pay. For example, if you witness your coworker being sexually harassed and are contacted by the coworker to corroborate her claim by giving a statement to HR or an attorney, your employer may not retaliate against you for helping your coworker.