Racial Discrimination

New York City Lawyers Protecting Your Workplace Rights

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against job applicants or employees based on their race in New York. Racial discrimination can be challenging to prove because employers are increasingly savvy about avoiding any admission that they made an employment decision based on an applicant or employee's race. However, retaining an experienced New York City racial discrimination attorney can make a difference to your ability to recover damages. Following are Frequently Asked Questions related to discrimination and harassment lawsuits based on race.

Which Laws Protect me if a Company Fails or Refuses to Hire me Based on my Race?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that protects job applicants and employees from race discrimination by employers. It covers employers that have at least 15 employees. Smaller companies are prohibited from engaging in racial discrimination while hiring under state and local laws such as the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law. The latter is considered one of the most expansive anti-discrimination laws in the country.

Which Damages can I Recover if I am Fired due to my Race?

You may be entitled to compensatory damages intended to reimburse you for your actual out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination. These can include front pay, back pay, the costs incurred while looking for another job, therapy to address the psychological harm, and emotional distress damages. If the employer's actions were especially egregious, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Damages are capped based on the size of your employer if you bring a lawsuit under Title VII.

Is it Legal for my Employer to pay me Less Because of my Race?

No. Under federal, state, and local laws, your employer is not permitted to pay you less than your coworkers because of your race. An employer is not supposed to make any employment decisions based on the race of an employee.

What are my Remedies?

You can sue for damages if you are a victim of racial discrimination or harassment. It is best to consult an attorney about whether you should sue under Title VII or state or local laws. Although most people are aware of Title VII and the work of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce it, in some cases, such as when a small business is the employer, there are more remedies available under the New York City Human Rights Law.

My Employer is Providing me With Fewer Benefits or no Benefits due to my Race. What can I do?

If you believe that you are not being provided benefits comparable to those of people who have a similar or the same position at your workplace, you should try to gather information about what those benefits might be. You may want to keep a journal about any comments made by your supervisor or manager related to why you are being given different benefits from your coworkers. In some cases, there are legitimate job-related reasons that workers are given different benefits. For example, an employee who is temporary may receive different benefits from a permanent employee. Similarly, administrative assistants may not be given the same benefits as workers in leadership roles. You should retain an experienced employment discrimination attorney if you think that you are not receiving benefits because of your race, rather than a legitimate job-related reason.

I Have not Been Promoted, and I Think That it is Because of my Race. What can I do?

You should ask your supervisor or manager about why you were not promoted. In some cases, a supervisor or manager may let slip a comment about why someone was not promoted that has racial connotations. In other cases, they are more careful. You should also look at who was promoted, and why. Was anybody else of your race promoted or put in a high-level position? It is important to consult an experienced attorney if you suspect that a lack of promotion is based on racial discrimination.

My Coworkers and I are Classified by Race — Is This Proper?

No. Your employer should not be classifying employees based on race. Sometimes it becomes apparent that an employer is covertly classifying employees by race because people of certain races are never considered for promotions or better work assignments. It would be illegal for your employer to exclude any worker from upper management roles due to race. It would also be illegal for an employer to routinely assign people who are black, Latino, or Asian to the worst jobs or to only work in geographic areas that have a heavy minority population.

Can my Employer Segregate Employees by Race?

No, it is illegal for your employer to segregate employees from other employees or from customers on the basis of race. For example, an employer is not permitted to refuse to assign an employee to a customer-facing position because he is black. Similarly, an employee may not group all black workers together, or all Latino workers together, when assigning work shifts.

Consult a Racial Discrimination Attorney in the New York City Area

Race discrimination can be challenging to prove because often an employer will be aware of the prohibition against it and mention other reasons for failing to give a promotion or terminating an employee. At Phillips & Associates, we may be able to help you recover damages if you were subject to workplace racial discrimination in New York City. We fight employment discrimination and harassment in Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester County, and New Jersey. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.

45 Broadway, Suite 620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
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