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What is Considered Discrimination?

Any adverse employment actions may be considered discrimination when undertaken based on a trait of the employee protected by law. Harassment is a form of discrimination. Federal, state, and local laws protect different traits, though there is overlap. Generally, state and local laws provide more expansive protections for workers that federal law does. However, there are subtle distinctions in these laws that you may not be able to spot when thinking about your own experiences. It is crucial to talk to a trial attorney who practices in this area of law to figure out whether what you went through will be considered discrimination in state or federal courts. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced New York City employment discrimination attorneys may be able to represent you a lawsuit.

We have a team of knowledgeable and tough lawyers who are taken seriously by employers, their defense attorneys, mediators, judges, and juries. We are dedicated to fighting for workers. Our firm offers free consultations for employment discrimination.

Your New York City Employer’s Prejudiced Acts May Be Considered Discrimination

Discrimination occurs when an employee or other covered worker is treated adversely by an employer due to a trait protected under the law. Various traits are protected under the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment (ADEA), and other workplace antidiscrimination laws. Acts that may be considered discrimination in New York City workplaces include:

  • Failure to hire
  • Firing
  • Demotion
  • Failure to promote
  • Disparate pay
  • Harassment.
Is Failure to Hire Considered Discrimination?

You may have grounds for a lawsuit if a prospective employer failed to hire you because of a protected trait. For example:

  • If you were invited in to interview with a manager and when you walked in the manager expressed dismay that you are Black, this may be a sign that race discrimination played a role in what happened to you.
  • If you were not hired because you revealed you were pregnant in the course of an interview and were given a sense that you were otherwise a great candidate, this failure to hire may be considered pregnancy discrimination.
Can Firing/Termination/Layoffs Be Considered Discrimination?

You may be able to sue your employer if you were fired or laid off due to a protected trait. For example:

  • If you were fired during the pandemic because your employer harbor stereotypes associating Asian Americans with coronavirus, you may have a basis to sue for national origin discrimination.
  • If you were fired because you revealed to your work team that you are transgender, and as a result you were mocked and excluded from decision-making, and then you were terminated because your supervisor believed you were no longer fit with the company, you may be able to sue for wrongful termination based on gender identity discrimination.
When is a Demotion Considered Discrimination?

You should not be demoted because you possess a protected trait. Demotion should also not be your employer's response to a request for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, nursing, or religion. Some employers do try to punish employees who participate in the filing of or investigation of a charge. Demoting an employee in retaliation for these protected activities is illegal.

When is Failure to Promote Considered Discrimination?

Many companies are willing to hire certain groups of people as entry-level or mid-level employees, but are unwilling to promote them further to management. For instance:

  • Some Asian Americans find themselves coming up against what's known as "the bamboo ceiling" and are not considered for management positions.
  • Some women still hit a “glass ceiling” and are not promoted further.
  • Many Black and Latino employees are subject to harmful stereotypes and not placed in leadership positions.
  • Employers may be unwilling to consider disabled employees for the highest echelons of their companies because they need accommodations.

Failure to promote is a discriminatory act when the reason underpinning it is negative intent related to race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, age, national origin and other protected traits.

Is Disparate Pay Considered Discrimination?

Employers are not allowed to pay women less than their male counterparts for performing substantially similar work. If your colleagues of a certain national origin or race or religion are getting paid more than you for doing similar work, this may be a sign of discrimination. You should talk to our attorneys about your specific situation.

When is Harassment Considered Discrimination?

Workplace harassment is a type of discrimination. Harassment may involve derogatory comments, slurs, insults, physical touching, threats, memes, pornography, jokes, or pranks. Harassment is actionable if it is based on a protected trait. For example:

  • If your supervisor touches you inappropriately, you may have a claim for sexual harassment.
  • If your manager calls you a terrorist because you wear a turban and have brown skin, you may have claims for harassment based on race, religion, and national origin.
  • If your customers and coworkers mock your disability, you may have a claim for harassment.
  • If you are queer and your supervisor makes derogatory remarks about gay, lesbian, transgender or queer workers, you may have a claim for sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination.
Retain Trial Lawyers at an Accomplished New York City Law Firm

If you were doing well prior to the discrimination, we should be able to obtain the full range of your emotional losses. Phillips & Associates has years of representing workers who have suffered stress and anxiety due to employment discrimination in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, or Nassau County. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or complete our online form.

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"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
"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
"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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