Steven Fingerhut is an employment litigation associate at Phillips & Associates. He is committed to providing vigorous representation to individuals who have suffered from employment discrimination in New York City and need an attorney to protect their rights.
Differential treatment in the workplace based on certain protected characteristics is prohibited under federal, state, and local laws. Employers may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, genetic information, sex, or sexual orientation.
One of the most important laws prohibiting employment discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It applies to businesses with 15 or more workers. No employer may take an employment action against an employee or prospective employee based on a protected characteristic. In other words, decisions about hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, or other terms of employment may not be based on race, color, national origin, or other protected traits. Harassment is also prohibited.
Harassment under Title VII is unwelcome conduct that is based on one or more of the enumerated protected characteristics. To be actionable, harassment must be severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or in which enduring harassment becomes a condition of employment.
Harassment could include epithets, slurs, physical assaults, intimidation, mockery, offensive pictures, or other interference with a worker's ability to perform his or her job. An employer is automatically liable if a supervisor takes an employment action that is adverse to an employee based on a protected characteristic. For example, if your boss places obscene materials on your desk on a daily basis and says he will demote you if you do not perform sexual favors, this is likely harassment.
An employer also may be liable when a non-supervisory employee or a non-employee (such as a customer) harasses an employee if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and did not take prompt, reasonable steps to correct the problem. For example, if a customer repeatedly makes sexual jokes about women of your race, and your boss' response to your complaint is to move you to a different department where the pay is less, this is not likely to be seen as a prompt reasonable step.
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for opposing any employment practice that discriminates based on a protected characteristic or for filing a discrimination charge. However, not all businesses understand the prohibition on retaliation. It is important to consult an experienced employment litigation attorney immediately after an employment event that you think violates your workplace rights.
Mr. Fingerhut represents people who have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace in violation of their rights. He graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and a minor in art history. While in law school, he was a contributor to NYSBA's The New York Environmental Lawyer and competed in the Domenick L. Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Moot Court. He interned in the Albany County District Attorney's Office and at both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York and the Albany City Court. He served as a summer associate and part-time third-year associate at General Electric. In May 2013, he graduated from Albany Law School.
Since law school, Mr. Fingerhut has worked as an associate at two firms, gaining valuable litigation experience. He has handled a large caseload in all matters related to employment discrimination and civil rights. He is admitted to the State Bar of New York and the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of New York.
Mr. Fingerhut is a member of the New York Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association ("NELA/NY"), the New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) as well as the Labor Relations and Employment Law Committees of NYCLA