Siobhan Klassen is a New York City employment attorney at Phillips & Associates. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and made the Dean's List. She graduated from Hofstra University School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 2013. During law school, she completed the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Trial Techniques Course. She is admitted to practice in New York and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of New York. She also attended the MBA Institute, INSEEC in Paris, France, which has a curriculum focused on international business and law.
Ms. Klassen has previously served as employment law counsel with another plaintiff's employment law firm. During law school, she participated in a civil rights and fair housing clinic and interned for the Honorable Diccia T. Pineda-Kirwan, Supreme Court (Queens). She was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2017 and 2018.
If you were subjected to discrimination in New York City, Ms. Klassen can help fight for your rights. Federal employment discrimination laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, and color. It has been extended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which guards against pregnancy discrimination and harassment in the workplace. However, Title VII only covers employers that have at least 15 employees. It caps damages based on the size of the employer.
Often, state and local laws provide greater protection than do federal laws. The New York State Human Rights Law covers employers that have at least four employees. It forbids employment discrimination based on domestic violence victim status, genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, political activities, prior arrests or criminal accusations, pregnancy, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, and in many cases, prior convictions.
The New York City Human Rights Law is widely regarded as one of the anti-discrimination laws most favorable to plaintiffs. It protects domestic violence victim status, caregiver status, unemployment status, credit history, salary history, color, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, citizenship status, national origin, religion, military service status, and arrest or conviction record. However, you only have one year from the date of the last discriminatory act that you are alleging to sue under the New York City Human Rights Law.
Sometimes employees are subjected to harassment on the job, which can be considered a form of discrimination. Harassment can include many types of unwelcome behavior or words that are based on a protected characteristic. Sexual harassment, for example, is harassment based on an employee's sex. It could include memes, pranks, jokes, derogatory remarks, groping, touching, and sexual assault. This behavior may constitute hostile work environment harassment when the behavior is so severe or so pervasive that it changes the terms and conditions of the job. It can also include quid pro quo harassment, which happens when an authority figure in the workplace conditions continued employment or another employment benefit on the provision of sexual favors or submitting to sexual acts.
You may be able to pursue a sexual harassment lawsuit under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, or the New York City Human Rights Law. An experienced attorney like Ms. Klassen can tell you which of these laws may provide the best path in your case. There are important differences between these laws. For example, you cannot recover punitive damages under the state law. Under the federal law, you can potentially recover punitive damages, but they are capped based on the size of your employer.
Ms. Klassen is committed to fighting for workers. Whether you have been affected by harassment, discrimination, or another type of misconduct on the job, you can consult her or the other attorneys at our firm. Contact Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to set up a free consultation. We handle employment litigation in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.