Westchester County Employment Discrimination
Westchester County has a total area of 500 square miles. It is second among New York counties for median income per person and is home to several Fortune 500 companies. Whether you are up for a promotion or applying to a new job, you likely expect or hope that you will be judged based on your past performance. Unfortunately, some employers do not remove their biases and make workplace decisions based on prejudice and stereotypes. If you have been a victim of employment discrimination, you should consult the experienced attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our Westchester County employment discrimination lawyers handle claims arising out of age, criminal conviction, disability, race, national origin, pregnancy, sex, and sexual orientation discrimination.Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace
Several federal laws, as well as the New York State Human Rights Law, prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of enumerated protected characteristics. Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination 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 (ADEA). Protected characteristics under federal law include race and color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, age (40 and older), and genetic information.
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits employment discrimination based on a wider range of characteristics, including race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, political activities, military status, use of service dog, prior arrests, prior convictions, and domestic violence victim status. Generally, the New York State Human Rights Law applies to more employers than do federal laws. An employment discrimination attorney in Westchester County can bring a claim against an employer under the state anti-discrimination law if it has at least four employees. However, all employers, even those with just one employee, are covered when it comes to sexual harassment.Types of Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination occurs when an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on an employee's protected characteristic, rather than performance or merit. It can occur in connection with hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions, bonuses, and pay. Harassment is one form of employment discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for claiming employment discrimination in an internal complaint, a charge filed with the EEOC or another government agency, or a lawsuit.
If you were subjected to discrimination based on a protected characteristic, our Westchester County employment discrimination attorneys may be able to recover damages for you through a lawsuit. For example, if your employer refused to promote you into a customer-facing position because you have a slight accent and wear a hijab, and the employer wants to promote a “wholesome American image,” this may be religious and national origin discrimination. Similarly, if your coworker sends you sexually graphic memes, and when you complain to HR, your boss tells you to lighten up and learn how to take a joke, you may have a claim for sexual harassment.Differences Between Federal and State Laws
There are differences between federal and state laws that may affect which law is better as the basis for your claim. For example, punitive damages are not available under state law. However, more employers are covered under state law than federal law, and the state law protects a broader range of characteristics. In many cases, for example, it is better to bring a claim for sexual orientation discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law than it is to bring a claim under Title VII.
EEOC guidance indicates that sexual orientation discrimination is one form of sex discrimination under Title VII. This can allow an employee who has been subjected to discrimination for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual to recover damages. However, courts have taken different and conflicting positions on whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination.Consult an Employment Discrimination Lawyer in Westchester County
At Phillips & Associates, our experienced attorneys help people who have faced many forms of employment discrimination at their jobs. You can contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free consultation. We represent people in cities such as Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, and White Plains.