You may be heading to your next job interview armed with a resume, a portfolio, and a selection of your most brag-worthy achievements. When seeking employment, you should also be aware of your legal rights. Even if you’re a strong candidate on paper, an employer may consider your race, religion, and even your age when determining whether to hire you.
Employment discrimination is not always overt, but it could affect your search for employment and your experience in the workplace. Understanding which classes are protected in New York can help you identify employment discrimination and fight for your rights.
What Is a Federally Protected Class?
Federally protected classes shield certain individuals from prejudice within the hiring process and during employment. The law prevents your employer from making decisions based on certain factors that:
- You can’t change
- Carry an unwarranted stigma, or
- Have no effect on your skills and productivity as an employee.
Statements and questions about your race or other personal characteristics can occur during job interviews, but this constitutes discrimination. For example, if your interviewer inquires about your gender, your religion, or your national origin, then you have a cause for concern about illegal employment discrimination.
Federally Protected Classes Deserve Fair Pay
While employers must avoid prejudicial hiring practices, the law surrounding protected classes extends far beyond hiring and firing. Employers may not discriminate when they make decisions about an employee’s salary, benefits, promotions, performance evaluations, and disciplinary measures.
The law aims to accommodate marginalized groups and offer a level playing field in the workplace.
New York Protects Additional Classes
New York takes the concept of protected classes much further than federal laws. It expands upon federal regulations to prohibit discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation, military service, and several others.
The law even accounts for types of discrimination that one might not typically consider a roadblock to employment, such as political activities, lawful recreational activities, and status as a victim of domestic violence.
Federal law states that anti-discrimination applies only to companies with 15 or more employees. In New York, though, companies with four employees or more must comply with anti-discrimination laws. Employment agencies and labor organizations must also adhere to the laws.
Employers in New York Must Also Accommodate Certain Employees
Employers in New York are also legally required to accommodate the religious practices of employees, pay men and women equally, and protect employees from sexual harassment.
An employer may not retaliate against an employee who reports or opposes an illegal discriminatory practice or one who participates in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.
You Can Take Legal Action If You Experienced Discrimination in the Workplace
No one deserves to be treated unfairly at work, and the law gives you options for recourse if you experience workplace discrimination. You can file a civil lawsuit against your employer.
You may stand to recover certain damages, such as:
- Back pay for unfair wages
- Promotional benefits you were previously denied
- Sick leave or overtime pay you were previously denied
- Insurance benefits that should have applied during your employment
Even if you only experienced discrimination during the interview process, you may still be able to recover awards for your lost opportunities. A lawyer from our firm can determine how much your case is worth and fight for fair compensation.
A Free Consultation Can Shed Light on Potential Workplace Discrimination
As we said before, workplace discrimination may not be obvious. It is often subtle, and it may leave you wondering if you are being treated fairly.
You can discuss your experiences with our firm during a free consultation. We can determine whether you suffered discrimination as a protected class and explore your legal options going forward.
The initial consultation is free of charge and obligation. You may discover you have more options for recourse than you previously thought.
You Have a Right to Legal Representation
You do not have to handle a civil lawsuit alone. You have the right to hire an attorney to represent you and protect your rights. Our firm can handle your case from start to finish so you can focus on your career.
- Investigate any instance of discrimination
- Handle all the paperwork involved with taking legal action
- Communicate with the liable party and their defense attorneys
Work with the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP If You Experience Workplace Discrimination
If you are still uncertain about your legal rights in the workplace or if you have concerns about a particular employer or incident, we can help. The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can protect your right to work without fear of discrimination or prejudicial treatment.
Call us at (516) 358-6900 if you suspect you are the victim of workplace discrimination. We can get started on your potential case immediately.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900