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What are Reasons to Sue Your Employer?

Reasons to sue your employer include wrongful termination, retaliation after you file a complaint, misclassification, improper discipline, improper docking of pay, workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and other violations of the law. As a worker, you may not be sure whether you have a reason to sue your employer for employment discrimination. Perhaps your employer mentioned race in a negative way during your time at the company, but did not explicitly say were being terminated because you are Black. Or maybe your coworkers mocked your religion and when you complained to your employer, you started to receive poor performance reviews. It is important to talk to an attorney if you believe you may have grounds for a lawsuit against your employer. At Phillips and Associates, our experienced New York City employment discrimination attorneys are dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights under federal, state, and local laws.

In most cases, employers have substantial resources at their disposal. As a worker who has faced discrimination on the job, your income may be precarious. Therefore, we offer free consultations to employees who believe they may have been subject to discrimination or workplace harassment. In the course of the initial consultation, we will ask questions to figure out what happened to you and whether it would be appropriate to pursue relief through an administrative or judicial process.

Reasons to Sue Your Employer Under City Law

The New York City Human Rights Law has long protected workers based on a wide range of traits. It applies to all workplaces in the city that have at least four employees. The law is considered one of the most expansive antidiscrimination laws in the country.

You may have reason to file a lawsuit under the New York City Human Rights Law if you were treated adversely by an employer due to a trait that the law protects. Adverse employment actions include:

  • Failure to hire
  • Termination/Layoffs/Firing
  • Demotions
  • Failure to promote
  • Harassment.

Protected traits include:

  • Arrest or conviction record
  • Caregiver status
  • Preemployment marijuana testing
  • Salary history
  • Domestic violence victim status
  • Credit history
  • Veteran status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Creed
  • Race
  • Pregnancy
  • Gender identity
  • National origin
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Immigration status
  • Citizenship status
  • Age.

You would have a reason to sue your employer, not only if you were discriminated against based on one of the foregoing traits, but also if you faced retaliation from your employer for complaining about the discrimination or harassment in good faith.

It is illegal under the city law for your employer to take an adverse employment decision because you made a charge or filed a complaint of discrimination, opposed an illegal discriminatory practice, or participated in an investigation under city law. Reasons to sue your employer could include, for example:

  • Your employer’s denial of your reasonable accommodation request for your cancer, even though providing it would not have caused an undue hardship.
  • Your employer’s failure to provide an accommodation for your religious beliefs when you were trying to observe a holy day, even though it would not have faced undue hardship by providing it.
Reasons to Sue Your New York City Employer Under State Law

The New York State Human Rights Law applies to every employer in the state including employers with only one employee. Our lawyers may be able to sue under the state law when you are treated adversely by your employer based on a trait it protects. Protected traits include:

  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military status
  • National origin
  • Color
  • Creed
  • Race
  • Age.

You may have reason to sue under state law, if for example:

  • You work for a hedge fund and your employer terminated you because you were transitioning as a trans man.
  • You are Korean American and you are denied a promotion because your employer believes people of Asian origin are not good managers.
  • You were not hired because of the color of your skin and a prospective employer’s belief that its clients would not be interested in working with you for that reason.
Reasons to Sue Your New York City Employer Under Federal Law

Federal antidiscrimination laws tend to apply to midsize to larger employers. Under these laws, damages are capped based on employer size. In most situations, local and state laws provide greater relief. However, there are nuances of case law that may make it more advantageous for our lawyers to aggressively pursue damages on your behalf under one of the federal antidiscrimination laws. These include:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADEA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

You may have grounds to sue under the ADEA if you were laid off because you are at least 40 old. Under federal law, your employer must follow highly specific rules related to termination and severance under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), which amended the ADEA.

OWBPA prohibits your employer from:

  • Targeting older workers during layoffs
  • Using age as the basis for discriminating against you with regards to benefits
  • Failing to follow specific rules when asking you to sign a severance agreement waiving the rights you have under the ADEA.

These highly specific rules could come into play in an age discrimination lawsuit.

Retain an Employment Discrimination Lawyer

If you suspect you were the target of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, you should talk to the experienced New York City attorneys of Phillips & Associates about what happened to you on the job to determine whether you have reasons to sue your employer. We represent workers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, or Nassau County. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or complete our online form.

What Our Clients Say?
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"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
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"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
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"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
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"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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