Phillips & Associates

Remedies in Transgender Discrimination Cases

New York City Attorneys Representing Workers in Employment Disputes

Transgender workers face significant obstacles when trying to get hired, and they often face additional obstacles to advancement after they are hired. Many transgender individuals have reported not being able to get a job while openly living as transgender. There are federal, state, and local prohibitions against transgender discrimination for people working in New York. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City transgender discrimination lawyers can tell you about your options and potential remedies in transgender discrimination cases.

Holding Your Employer Accountable for Transgender Discrimination

In New York City, transgender workers are protected under federal, state, and local laws. By far the greatest protections available are under the New York City Human Rights Law, which explicitly prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity. Even so, employers continue to engage in discriminatory practices and permit harassment of transgender employees. They may retaliate against individuals who bring complaints of transgender discrimination to HR or file a lawsuit based on their transgender status.

The New York City Human Rights Law, like the New York State law, prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by employers that have four or more employees. In some cases, supervisors may be directly sued under this law. While federal and state laws do not protect independent contractors, the New York City Human Rights Law reflects an intent to provide the broadest possible protection for transgender individuals by protecting independent contractors as well and allowing them to access the same remedies in transgender discrimination cases that employees have.

Protections Against Retaliation

In addition to this broad protection, there is a strong anti-retaliation provision in the New York City Human Rights Law. You need only have a good-faith, reasonable belief that you experienced discrimination because you are transgender to complain about workplace discrimination or harassment. You do not need to have proof that there was this discrimination. This is important because many employers are careful about what they say is the reason that a qualified transgender individual was not hired or was terminated or not promoted. For example, they might claim that the applicant did not fit the company culture, rather than acknowledge that they are biased against transgender workers.


If you believe that you have been subject to transgender discrimination, you may sue under federal, state, or local laws that cover you. Most employees will be covered by the New York City Human Rights Law. Damages that may be available if you establish the employer's liability under this law include compensatory damages that account for emotional distress. You may also be able to recover back pay, front pay, reinstatement, and job search costs. Unlike with Title VII, there is no cap on the amount of damages that you may recover. In some cases, you may recover punitive damages and attorneys' fees and costs, which are not available under state law.

Important Procedures and Timelines

You need to file your discrimination, harassment, or retaliation claim under the New York City law within three years of your employer's discriminatory actions. This statute of limitations starts to run once you are aware of the behavior that is discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory. For example, if you are subject to daily, continuing taunts by a supervisor because you are transgender, you have three years from the date of those taunts to bring suit.

There is no pre-suit procedure under the local law. However, in the case of sexual harassment, you are supposed to make it clear that the advances are unwelcome. Moreover, you may file a New York City Human Rights Law claim with an administrative agency, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, rather than a civil lawsuit. You may not also file a claim in court in that case, and you only have one year to bring the local claim to the agency. However, for many people, it makes sense to discuss the matter with an attorney right away and sue in civil court.

Consult a New York City Lawyer for a Gender Identity Discrimination Case

There are substantial remedies in transgender discrimination cases that may be available under New York City law. You should avail yourself of these protections. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City attorneys can advise clients on filing internal complaints of gender expression discrimination, and we can bring a charge or lawsuit afterward if appropriate. Contact us online or at (212) 248-7431 for a free appointment with a gender identity discrimination lawyer. We fight employment discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey.

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