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Racial Discrimination Based on Association With People of a Certain Race

New York City Attorneys Advocating for Employees

Your employer should not evaluate you based on either your race or the race of your spouse or friends. Racial discrimination is prohibited under city, state, and local laws. Unfortunately, employers sometimes make judgments about people based not only on their own race but also on the race of people with whom they associate. If you were harmed due to racial discrimination based on association with people of a certain race, you should consult the New York City race discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.

Racial Discrimination Based on Association with People of a Certain Race

Workplace racial discrimination usually occurs if someone is treated adversely on the job due to their race, or because they have personal characteristics associated with a certain race. Often, it overlaps with colorism. However, workplace discrimination also can involve treating someone negatively because they are married to or otherwise associated with someone of a certain color or race. For example, if you are white and married to a Black person, and after a company party that you both attended, you were denied a promotion that you were previously promised, you may have a claim for racial discrimination.

Federal and State Laws

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, among other things. It applies to employers with at least 15 employees, and it caps damages based on the size of the employer. Federal courts have held that Title VII protects individuals who are victims of discriminatory animus directed toward third parties with whom an individual associates. For example, in one case, a plaintiff was married to an African-American woman and was terminated, and the plaintiff believed that it was because of his interracial marriage. An appellate court reasoned that an employer could violate Title VII if it acted adversely against an employee due to that employee’s association with someone of another race. The reasoning was that when an employee suffers an adverse action because an employer disapproves of an interracial association, the employee suffers from discrimination due to their own race.

It may be difficult to establish that discrimination occurred because of the association, but verbal comments can be evidence of discriminatory motives if your attorney can show a nexus between the discrimination and the employment action at issue. Factors that may be considered include the identity of the person making the comment and whether that person is a decision maker, whether the remark was made close in time to the adverse employment decision, whether a reasonable juror could interpret the comment as discriminatory, and the context of the remark. Even stray comments by someone who is not a decision maker could be enough to present a prima facie case if the comments show invidious discrimination.

The New York State Human Rights Law is very similar to the federal law, but it applies to smaller employers, and damages are not capped. The New York State Division of Human Rights prohibits unlawful discrimination practices not only against individuals who belong to a protected class like race, but also against people who have a known relationship or association with someone who is a member of a protected class. To prevail in an associational discrimination claim based on race, you need to be able to show that you sustained an adverse employment action because of your relationship or association with someone who is a member of a protected class.

The New York City Human Rights Law

The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits race discrimination based on either actual or perceived race, and it is considered a particularly protective anti-discrimination law. Courts are required to construe it liberally and with an eye toward its remedial purposes. Generally, federal and state laws are considered floors below which the city law should not sink. As a result, you should be protected against racial discrimination based on association with people of a certain race under the city law too.

Consult a Race Discrimination Lawyer in New York City

If you have experienced racial discrimination based on association with people of a certain race, you should call Phillips & Associates. Our employment lawyers represent workers throughout New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or complete our online form.

1635 Market St #1600A
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 315-7694
Fax: (212) 901-2107

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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