Daily News
New York Post
Page Six
The Wall Street Journal
Fox News

Your Defense Against Discrimination

Your Defense Against DiscriminationRecently, Phillips & Associates' managing partner, William K. Phillips, spoke to Downtown Magazine about on-the-job harassment in New York City. Phillips & Associates is one of the largest plaintiffs' side employment law firms in the New York metro area. Our New York City employment lawyers have substantial experience representing victims of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Mr. Phillips explained that discrimination and harassment are two different things. Discrimination occurs when somebody is treated adversely because of a protected characteristic. Meanwhile, harassment is usually offensive conduct that insults or degrades somebody else. It can include physical threats and assaults.

Mr. Phillips further explained that workplace harassment is illegal when it is related to one's membership in a protected class, such as religion, race, pregnancy, gender, disability, or age. Generally, workplace bullying is not discriminatory. However, if the bullying involves negative remarks or actions associated with a protected characteristic, such as race or gender, it is. Harassment that is based on membership in a protected class can result in a discrimination claim.

Mr. Phillips noted that sexual harassment in particular has been on everyone's minds due to the #MeToo movement. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual comments, sexual advances, jokes, innuendos, and undesirable touching or hugs. There have been huge strides in civil rights jurisprudence and law to guard against sexual harassment and racial discrimination, but in spite of those strides, these problems continue to persist.

It is critical to understand that words and actions that are based on protected characteristics that change the terms and conditions of your job and make it hard for you to work can create a hostile work environment. You do not need to receive a termination for a hostile work environment to exist.

Due to #MeToo and the media attention surrounding it, many people feel empowered to come forward with sexual harassment claims against employers or former employers. The #MeToo movement has also helped victims of other types of harassment, such as racial harassment, come forward.

You should be aware that the statute of limitations in New York for sexual harassment or discrimination is usually three years from the last act of discrimination. However, there are some time limits that vary under federal, state, and local laws, so it is wise to consult an experienced employment attorney right away.

Should I Bring my Claims Under Federal, State, or Local Law?

Federal, state, and local laws have some important differences in terms of the elements of the claim, procedures, and damages. For example, to bring a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you will need to first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Your compensatory and punitive damages if you establish liability will be capped based on the size of the employer. The New York State Human Rights Law, on the other hand, applies to employers of every size when it comes to sexual harassment. You cannot recover punitive damages under the state law. The New York City Human Rights Law applies to smaller employers than does the federal law, and it also allows you to recover damages without a cap. It is widely considered to be one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country.

Damages and Other Remedies

The remedies that you will be able to recover will depend on the circumstances and the law under which you prove your claim. Often, however, they will include back pay and out-of-pocket costs. Sometimes they can include front pay or reinstatement.

Contact an Employment Litigator in New York City or Surrounding Areas

Mr. Phillips and the other attorneys at Phillips & Associates are dedicated to protecting workers' rights, particularly in the areas of harassment and discrimination. If you are concerned about harassment or discrimination at your job, you should consult our firm. Contact Phillips & Associates at (833) 529-3476 or through our online form for a free consultation. We assist employees in New York City, as well as Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

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
AVVO Clients Choice Award 2012
10 Best 2017
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Lawyers of Distiction 2018
Super Lawyers
New York County Lawyers Association