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Workplace Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation


Federal and New York law entitles you to a workplace free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation. If you feel you have been subjected to such abuse, our experienced New York employment lawyer can guide you on how to get the resolution you deserve.


Federal Law


The federal law ("Title VII") applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and makes it unlawful for an employer to hire or discharge any individual, or to otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his/her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of an individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.


This covers hiring, firing, promotions and all workplace conduct.


Other federal laws such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act provide protection against additional forms of discrimination based on sex.


Title VII does not protect individuals employed by their parents, spouse or children, and does not protect domestic servants or independent contractors.


New York State or City Law


The New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL") and New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL") also protect workers from employment discrimination, workplace harassment and retaliation based on age, pregnancy, race, sex, gender, disability, national origin or other legally protected classification. Under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL, it is unlawful to discriminate against individuals when hiring for a job, while on the job, or if an employee has filed a complaint of discrimination.


The New York State and New York City laws prohibit a broader class of discrimination, harassment and retaliation than the federal law (Title VII), including protecting against discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, marital status, military status, and other specified classes.


The New York City law also bars workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation based on citizenship status, physical/mental disability, arrest record, and victim status (of offenses such as domestic violence and stalking), as well as protecting against workplace abuse because of a person's association with a member of one of the legally protected classifications.


The City law also has one of the broadest anti-retaliation provisions of any law in the United States. In order to have a claim of retaliation under the New York City law, an employee must complain about workplace discrimination or harassment based on age, pregnancy, race, gender, sex, national origin, disability or other legally protected classification. The employee need have only a good faith, reasonable belief that he or she is being discriminated against; proof that such discrimination actually existed is not required.


The State and City laws apply to employers with 4 or more employees. Individual supervisors may also be sued under New York State and City law under certain circumstances. The NYC law also protects independent contractors (the New York State and federal laws do not).


The law limits the amount of time you have to pursue claims, so contact our office to speak to an experienced NYC employment attorney about your wrongful termination, workplace harassment, employment discrimination or retaliation issues.