Discrimination lawyers do many things to help their clients fight back against unfair employment practices. Their services include:
- Helping clients understand their rights and legal options
- Researching instances of discrimination and collecting evidence to support their clients’ claims
- Preparing and filing discrimination lawsuits
- Managing all case communications, deadlines, and paperwork
- Assessing the financial value of their client’s discrimination case
You might have a compensation claim if you were discriminated against on the job because of your race, color, nationality, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, or sexual orientation. You may want to discuss your potential claim with a law firm or attorney who handles employment discrimination cases to define your claim’s parameters and your possible right to financial recovery.
Types of Discrimination Employees May Face
Discrimination appears in various forms, and all can negatively impact a person’s career. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), federal law prohibits discrimination based on:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Genetic information
Generally, treating an applicant or worker unfavorably because of these categories can qualify as discrimination.
Situations That Could Warrant a Discrimination Case
Specific examples of discrimination include:
- Harassing someone or making offensive remarks about their national origin
- Refusing to make reasonable adjustments that allow an employee to perform their work duties and practice their religion
- Having policies in place that negatively impact employees age 40+
- Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations to a disabled employee that allows them to perform their work duties
- Demoting a woman based on pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition
- Making hiring and firing decisions based solely on someone’s sexual orientation
If you experienced discrimination in the workplace, you have the right to pursue the liable party for compensation. A discrimination lawyer can help you understand the federal and state discrimination laws that apply to your case.
New York Laws Prohibit Job Discrimination and Harassment
Discrimination is illegal in New York – the state’s laws protect workers from unfair treatment, discriminatory practices, and various forms of harassment at work. According to the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR), New York law prohibits harassment based on protected classes. The following may qualify as forms of harassment:
- Inferior terms of employment
- Inferior conditions of employment
- Inferior privileges of employment
You do not have to warn or notify your employer of your intent to seek compensation for discrimination or harassment, according to the DHR.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Job Discrimination Case
You do not have to fight for your rights in the workplace without legal help. You can hire an attorney to guide you through the process, protect your rights, and fight for compensation on your behalf. Discrimination lawyers do several things to help their clients – this includes using their knowledge and experience to help clients understand how complex federal and state laws and procedures work.
How a Lawyer Can Help with an EEOC Complaint
The EEOC investigates complaints that allege workplace violations at companies with 15 or more employees. You can contact the EEOC directly with a complaint – you have 180 days (six months) from the date the discrimination occurred to do so. However, this deadline extends to 300 days if you file a complaint with a state or local agency as well.
An employment rights attorney can counsel you on how to handle an EEOC complaint. They can also help you prepare for the process, which can be lengthy. If the EEOC finds your employer did not violate the law, it will send you a “Notice of Right to Sue” letter. This letter requires you to take legal action within 90 days.
This means you must file a lawsuit against your employer in that timeframe. A lawyer can help you with this action, advising you along the way and ensuring you meet the strict deadlines. A lawyer can also help you track your EEOC complaint. For example, if the commission’s investigation is taking a long time or passes the 180-day mark, your lawyer can help you request a Notice of Right to Sue letter so you can move forward with your legal action.
How a Lawyer Can Help with a New York Division of Human Rights Complaint
If you are filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Division of Human Rights in New York, the division will review your complaint and investigate. According to the DHR, this investigation should wrap up within 180 days (six months). At the end, the division will notify you if unlawful discrimination did or did not occur in your workplace. If so, the division will hold a public hearing. Otherwise, the claim gets dismissed.
An employment discrimination attorney can help in several ways with this process. For example, they can represent you at the DHR’s public hearing in New York. Additionally, they could help you file a lawsuit arising from your complaint if you wish to move in this direction.
Your Lawyer Must Prove Employment Discrimination Took Place
Plaintiffs suing their employer for job discrimination must prove that four elements are present before winning their New York workplace discrimination lawsuits. An attorney can help show:
- You are in a protected class (e.g., race, disability, age, sexual orientation).
- You are qualified for the position at work.
- You faced an adverse action on the job (e.g., being fired or demoted).
- The adverse action happened because of your protected class status.
If a lawyer can prove your case meets all the above, you could recover economic (financial) damages and emotional (non-financial) damages. You may also qualify to seek punitive damages and lawyer’s fees.
Workplace Discrimination Can Take a Toll
While the damage of workplace discrimination is often financial – especially if the discrimination costs you your job – it can also have other adverse consequences. For example, discrimination can leave you feeling alone, depressed, and sad.
You may be able to recover compensation for damages that address your pain and suffering in a discrimination lawsuit. When you work with a lawyer on your case, make sure you share with them the full financial, emotional, and psychological impact of the discrimination and the toll it has taken on your career and life.
Call Morelli Law Firm Today for a Free Case Review
If you were discriminated against in New York and are considering legal action against your employer, Morelli Law Firm can review the situation during a free consultation. We will explain what discrimination lawyers can do in an employment discrimination case and advise you of your legal options.
We handle workplace discrimination lawsuits for clients in New York City, Long Island, and New York State up to Albany. For a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call Morelli Law Firm today at (212) 751-9800.