What to Look for When Hiring a Sexual Harassment or Discrimination Lawyer in New York
Although many federal, state and New York City laws have been enacted to prohibit employers from acting with discriminatory intent or fostering a hostile workplace, discrimination and sexual harassment still are all too common in today’s workforce. Deciding whether to bring a claim against your employer can be a difficult process, especially when the situation involves personal, embarrassing, or stressful situations. Many employees are afraid to bring a claim, believing that it will subject them to further harassment or even retaliation. However, a New York City sexual harassment lawyer at Phillips & Associates can compassionately and knowledgeably assist you if you find yourself in this situation. We can handle your case from investigation all the way to settlement or trial. Some things to consider when hiring an employment lawyer to defend your rights are included below.
- Law Firm vs. Solo Practitioner. At Phillips & Associates you will have two to three attorneys assigned to your case. If you hire a solo practitioner or small law firm, ask what happens when your lawyer gets sick, goes on vacation? Does your lawyer have the staff and support necessary to stand up and fight for your rights against a large employer? What happens when your employer’s large law firm tries to bury your lawyer in paperwork? Do you call your lawyer and get a voicemail? Do you get a return call back right away? Phillips & Associates is staffed with these things in mind. Your employer will likely hire a large law firm to defend them in your case. So should you. Phillips & Associates was formed so you can be on equal footing against your employer and have a law firm to fight for your rights, if they were violated. Our dedicated team of ten New York discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys are equipped to take on your matter regardless of employer’s company size or business.
- Experience. Does the law firm practice employment law? Do they have a split practice and handle other areas of law other than employment law? At Phillips & Associates our focus is only employment law. We live and breathe employment law each and every day. We attend are at the forefront of this ever-changing practice area. Our boutique law practice allows us the luxury of remaining current as the law continues to develop. Additionally, many firms represent both employees and employers. Phillips & Associates represents plaintiffs only. We have decidedly chosen to be the side of employees and employees alone. Ask your prospective law firm how many employment cases they have handled? Do they practice in both federal and state court? Have they mediated privately and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)? Many cases are settled prior to filing in court. Philips & Associates has successfully mediated hundreds of cases in the EEOC and privately.
- Paid Fee vs. Contingency Fee. Some law firms require an upfront fee to review your case and additional money for an upfront retainer. At Phillips & Associates our initial consultations are free and we will not take an attorney fee for our services unless we are successful. We understand that you may have just lost your job and will not have the money to pay up front for litigation.
- Legal Costs. Will the law firm advance the costs of litigation on your behalf? Litigation costs can be expensive. You should make sure the law firm has the financial ability to advance the litigation costs on your behalf. Phillips & Associates advances all litigation costs up to trial to properly pursue your case. If we are successful, our advance costs are repaid from your proceeds of any settlement or judgement proceeds we obtain.
- Settlement vs. Litigation. Is the law firm ready willing and able to proceed on your behalf if your employer does not want to settle? Some law firms will only represent you for settlement purposes only and may not want to proceed to litigation. At Philips & Associates, once we have completed our due diligence to determine you have a meritorious claim we vigorously pursue your case though court and trial if necessary. However, if you do not want to file a discrimination or sexual harassment claim in court, we will work hard to reach an amicable resolution which allows you to move on with your life.
- Convenience. Where is the law firm located? Our law firm is located in the heart of the New York City’s downtown financial district. We are located in a class A building a few blocks from Wall Street. Our location is strategically placed only a few blocks from the EEOC and only minutes away from both the New York City courthouses and the Brooklyn courthouses. Our location offers convenient access to the subway, Metro North and the LIRR for cases in the Bronx, Long Island and Westchester.
For many people, experiencing sexual harassment or discrimination on the job can be a shocking and upsetting experience, making it difficult to know how to proceed after the situation. Although blatant overtures, comments, or physical acts often provide clear indications of sexual harassment or discrimination, situations involving subtle and ongoing occurrences can also give rise to a harassment or discrimination claim. Seeking guidance from an experienced attorney can help you determine whether you have been the victim of harassment or discrimination and help you identify the legal rights and remedies that may be available to you. An attorney also would be able to assist you with investigating your potential claim and crafting a strategy for how to proceed.
A number of federal laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The State of New York has also enacted specific prohibitions against sexual harassment in the workplace, and New York City has enacted a Human Rights Law that provides additional protections. In general, sexual harassment is defined as conduct involving unwanted physical or verbal sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other actions related to the employee’s sexuality. Some supervisors may take retaliatory action against an employee who fails to comply with their sexual advances. While the most common example of sexual harassment involves a supervisor, the laws against sexual harassment extend to colleagues and in some instances individuals who are not employees.
Many of these same laws also prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on a number of factors, including gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin. There are also federal and state laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants based on a criminal history, disabilities, family care responsibilities, and pregnancy. Each of these laws includes specific elements that the plaintiff must prove to receive compensation.Discuss a Discrimination or Sexual Harassment Claim with a New York City Attorney
Due to the complexity of sexual harassment and discrimination laws, many employees find it challenging to pursue a claim without legal representation. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City sexual harassment attorneys have represented workers throughout Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island long Island and Westchester. We can evaluate whether you have a claim against your employer based on sexual harassment or discrimination. Our gender discrimination attorneys offer a free consultation to help you learn about your rights and the options available to you. Call (212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up an appointment.