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Employment Discrimination

New York City and Long Island Attorneys Advocating for Your Workplace Rights

Most people hope to be judged based on their qualifications and the job that they do at work. Unfortunately, some employers judge workers based on their identities and membership in protected classes. There are multiple protected classes under federal, state, and city laws. Some of these protected classes include race, national origin, color, gender, religion, and disability. If you suffered from employment discrimination based on your membership in a protected class, you may have a basis to sue for damages. At Gerstman Schwartz, our New York City employment discrimination lawyers can bring a lawsuit on your behalf.

Employment Discrimination Lawsuits

Employment discrimination occurs when there is adverse treatment by an employer based on an employee’s membership in a protected class. The adverse treatment can take various forms. It could include failing to hire, termination, demotion, failing to promote, paying differently, or offering fewer opportunities to some workers based on their membership in a protected class rather than their merit. For example, if you are not promoted to a senior management position because you are a woman, this is sex discrimination. For another example, if you are Middle Eastern with brown skin and wear a hijab, and as a result your employer will not put you in a prestigious customer-facing position because it wants a more “all-American” service atmosphere, this may be national origin discrimination, color discrimination, and religious discrimination.

Harassment is one form of discrimination. For example, if your supervisor keeps sending you porn and asking you on dates, this sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. For another example, if your coworkers put a noose on your desk and repeatedly send you racist cartoons, while your employer refuses to take action to stop them, this is actionable racial harassment, which is a type of racial discrimination. Our employment discrimination attorneys can help New York City and Long Island workers bring claims based on harassment.

Federal, state, and local laws protect different characteristics. There are multiple federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination, but one of the most commonly asserted is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against discrimination based on a disability. Generally, federal law only prohibits discrimination at mid-size or large companies, and employees of smaller companies must obtain protection under state and local laws. The New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law protect more characteristics than does federal law. They are all nuanced laws, and it is important to talk with an attorney about which of them would best apply to your situation.

Differences Among Federal, State, and Local Laws

Federal, state, and local laws have varying advantages and disadvantages. They also have different statutes of limitations and different pre-suit requirements. Many of the federal laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and you will need to file a charge with the EEOC prior to suing in federal court.

A New York City employment discrimination attorney can potentially help a worker recover monetary damages under federal, state, or local laws. The damages can dramatically vary, depending on the law used to pursue your claim. Damages for discrimination, if you recover them, will be capped under federal laws enforced by the EEOC. For example, if you pursue relief for disability discrimination under the ADA, your compensatory and punitive damages would be capped. The New York State Human Rights Law does not permit the recovery of punitive damages, but it does not cap compensatory damages and applies to smaller employers. The city law is one of the most progressive laws in the country, and often it provides the greatest form of relief. If you pursue relief under city law, your damages would not be capped.

Discuss Your Options With an Experienced Employment Lawyer

Employment discrimination can be demoralizing and can have a very negative impact on an employee’s career and earning potential. It is important that workers be judged on the quality of their work performance, instead of their immutable aspects of identity. If you suffer from employment discrimination on the job, you should call Gerstman Schwartz at (212) 227-7070 or (516) 880-8170. You may also contact us online to discuss your options with an employment discrimination lawyer in New York City and Long Island.

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