Threats Based on Race
Federal, state, and local laws prohibit race discrimination and harassment in the workplace. If you face threats based on your race in your workplace, you should consult a seasoned employment attorney about your options. Often, employers have substantially more resources than employees do and mount an aggressive defense against claims, which is why it is critical to work with an attorney who has taken race discrimination cases to trial and won. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City race discrimination lawyers understand what is at stake and may be able to represent you in an employment dispute arising out of threats based on race.Threats Based on Race
Workplace racial discrimination occurs whenever an adverse employment action has been taken based on an employee’s race. It can include failure to hire, firing, demotion, failure to promote, disparate pay, denial of equal opportunities, and harassment based on race. Threats based on your race may constitute race discrimination or harassment, depending on the circumstances. For example, if your supervisor threatens to demote you because he thinks that Black workers do not reflect the All-American image that the company wants to convey to customers and then does demote you, this may be race discrimination. If your coworkers threaten you with nooses and racist graphics showing harm to Black people, this likely constitutes racial harassment.The New York City Human Rights Law
The New York City Human Rights Law is meant to be interpreted more liberally than state or federal anti-discrimination laws, in accordance with its broad, remedial goals. It is often considered one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws for plaintiffs in the country. Interpretations of state and federal civil rights statutes are treated as a floor below which the city law cannot fall, but the state and federal interpretations are not necessarily dispositive of city law claims.
To recover damages for threats based on race under the city law, you will need to show that the threats at issue constituted conduct that was more than what a reasonable victim of discrimination would consider petty slights or trivial inconveniences. For example, if you are Black, and your supervisor threatens to beat you up if you do not groom your hair according to company policy, this is an incident that a reasonable victim of discrimination would likely consider to be more than a petty slight or trivial inconvenience. If the threats in question generate a hostile work environment, the main question under the city law would be whether you were treated less well than other employees due to your race.Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law
To establish a prima facie case of discrimination under Title VII or the New York State Human Rights Law, you would need to show that you are a member of a protected class, you were qualified for the job, you suffered an adverse employment action, and you can sustain a minimal burden of showing facts that suggest an inference of discriminatory motivation.
Sometimes threats create a hostile work environment. To state a prima facie claim of hostile work environment under federal law, you will need to plead facts that tend to prove that the threats were objectively abusive in pervasiveness or severity, that you subjectively perceived the environment as hostile or abusive, and that the environment was hostile because of your race. The court will determine whether the threats were sufficiently severe or pervasive according to the totality of the circumstances. Factors that may be considered include the frequency of the threats, their severity, whether the threats were physically threatening or humiliating or simply offensive utterances, whether the threats unreasonably interfered with your work, and what psychological harm was caused, if any.
The standard for harassment under the state law is similar to the standard under the city law.Contact an Experienced New York City Attorney
If you have experienced threats based on race in your workplace, you should call Phillips & Associates. We represent workers who have faced racial discrimination or harassment throughout New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or complete our online form.
PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
1635 Market St #1600A
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 315-7694
Fax: (212) 901-2107