Federal, state, and local laws prohibit employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and other forms of misconduct in the workplace. Whether you are dealing with an employer that condones sexual advances by supervisors or refuses to promote you because of your race, the Queens employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates can assist you. Our workplace rights attorneys understand the challenges of confronting unfair employment conditions in connection with sexual harassment or other forms of employment discrimination. We also are dedicated to fighting for the rights of plaintiffs in claims related to wage violations, severance agreements, retaliation, and wrongful termination, among other issues.Bringing an Employment Discrimination Claim in New York
If you sue under Title VII or other federal laws, you may be able to recover both compensatory and punitive damages. Under Title VII, compensatory damages may include future pecuniary losses, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and emotional pain and suffering.
Compensatory damages for Title VII violations are capped depending on the size of the employer, with greater damages available for people who work for larger employers. You will need to submit competent proof that you suffered noneconomic injuries like emotional distress as a result of the discrimination against you. This evidence does not need to be medical in nature, but you likely will need to testify as to specific facts related to the emotional distress that you claim and how it was caused by your employer's actions. For example, if you suffered insomnia after being terminated or went to see a counselor, this may be proof of your emotional distress. Generally, your employer will be held liable even if you are particularly sensitive. For example, if you are disabled by cancer and face harassment, the employer may need to pay more because the emotional burden of that harassment is greater.
The cap on compensatory damages does not restrict front pay or the damages available under New York's antidiscrimination laws. Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, so if you work for a small employer, you may need to sue under state or local laws.
If you are filing suit based on an employer's willful violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the court may award liquidated damages. The ADEA only permits damages for pecuniary benefits related to the job, rather than compensatory damages related to your emotional distress or humiliation. Different rules also apply to the Equal Pay Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act allows people who prove disability discrimination to recover compensatory and punitive damages, with the exception that these are not awarded if an employer made a good-faith but ultimately unsuccessful effort to reasonably accommodate the disabled employee.
Punitive damages are available under some statutes, such as hostile work environments or for disparate treatment cases under Title VII, the ADA, and other federal laws. A plaintiff will need to prove that the employer acted with malice or reckless indifference. While the defendant need not have actually known that its actions were a violation of a law, the plaintiff must show that the defendant perceived it might be violating a federal law.Enlist an Employment Lawyer in Queens to Protect Your Rights
If you have suffered from improper conduct in the workplace, you should consult a Queens employment attorney about your options without delay. At Phillips & Associates, we understand the anxiety that many workers feel when their employment conditions are undermined, and we are committed to holding employers accountable. Call (212) 248-7431 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a wrongful termination lawyer or seek assistance with another type of employment claim.