Wrongful Termination Based on Transgender Discrimination
"Transgender" is used to describe a person whose gender identity or gender expression is not what society typically associates with the sex that was assigned to them at birth. A broad range of identity or expression, including gender queer, nonbinary, androgynous, or gender nonconforming, may result in a person identifying with the term "transgender." Although employment is generally at will in New York, wrongful termination based on transgender discrimination is unlawful and may form the basis of a lawsuit. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City transgender discrimination lawyers may be able to assist and represent employees who have received a wrongful termination.Wrongful Termination Based on Transgender Discrimination
New York is an “at will” state, which means that an employer may typically terminate an employee for no reason or any reason, even if the reason seems unfair or unfounded to the employee. However, there are exceptions for terminations that occur in violation of specific laws or an employment contract that provides that employment is for a set term, in which case the employment is not at will. When a termination is based on an employee's membership in a particular class of people protected under anti-discrimination laws, the termination is considered a "wrongful termination." This means that the employee may sue to recover damages related to the termination.
You may file a lawsuit if you received a wrongful termination based on transgender discrimination in New York. Being fired may be a devastating event, and it may be all the more devastating if you are transgender and face challenges getting new employers to look past their biases.Situations When Wrongful Termination May Occur
It is illegal under several laws, including the New York Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law, to terminate someone because of their actual or perceived gender or identity as a transgender person. It is also illegal to set different terms for transgender employees, such as by providing different benefits or failing to stop harassment, and then retaliate against an employee who complains about the disparate treatment by firing that employee.
Under the New York City Human Rights Law, a transgender employee may ask for a reasonable accommodation for a disability based on gender identity or expression, and they may not be fired for asking for this reasonable accommodation. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate someone in retaliation for that person helping a transgender individual file a charge of discrimination or otherwise participating in an investigation of discrimination in good faith.
An example of transgender discrimination may involve assigning an individual to work the least favorable shifts, even though the usual practice is to rotate shifts equally among staff. Another example would be demoting a transgender individual who files a transgender discrimination lawsuit. If you are terminated because you took steps to stand up for yourself as a transgender employee, you may have grounds to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit under federal, state, or local laws.Building Evidence to Support Your Claim
Proving a wrongful termination may be challenging. It is important to document instances that you feel showed a discriminatory bias against you by your supervisor or manager. The documentation should be contemporaneous, meaning that you write down exactly what happened immediately after it happens and use quotations when appropriate. For example, if your manager objected when you asked for a reasonable accommodation while you were undergoing a transition, you should record this.
Sometimes it is possible to establish a wrongful termination because it occurred close in time to a discriminatory or harassing incident. For example, if you were fired shortly after complaining to HR about a coworker making inappropriate gender-related jokes to you, the closeness in time suggests that there may have been a wrongful termination.Consult a New York City Attorney When Bringing a Wrongful Termination Claim
Wrongful termination based on transgender discrimination may be painful and cause significant distress. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced New York City lawyers can advise clients on filing internal complaints of transgender discrimination, as well as bring a wrongful termination charge or lawsuit if an employee is terminated because of their transgender identity. Contact us online or at (212) 248-7431 to set up a free appointment with a wrongful termination attorney. We fight employment discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey.
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