Federal and state laws such as the New York State Human Rights Law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and others make it unlawful to discriminate against people in the workplace on the basis of race, national origin, sex (gender), age, religion, disability and other factors.
An employee who has suffered from unlawful employment discrimination has legal recourse, but cases can move slowly when pursued through offices such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the NYS Department of Labor.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP helps New York workers pursue employment discrimination cases and seek redress for improper and illegal treatment.
Contact an experienced attorney at Cohen & Jaffe to discuss a potential employment discrimination claim. Call us now or fill out our online contact form.
Federal and State Employment Rights Protect New York Workers
Under federal and state laws in New York, unlawful discrimination occurs when a job applicant or an employee is treated differently in a way that causes an adverse impact on him or her because of:
- Race. Racial discrimination is treating someone unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features, for example). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.
- Gender. Sex (gender) discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee unfavorably because of that person’s gender (male, female, transgender). Unlawful treatment of a transgender person is also known as “gender identity discrimination.”
- Age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids discrimination against only people who are 40 years old or older.
- Disability. An employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act that treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because of a disability is practicing unlawful discrimination. Employers are to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability when requested, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”).
- Religion. Religious discrimination involves treating a person unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, but also others who have other sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.
- National origin. Discrimination on the basis of national origin involves treating a person unfavorably because he or she is from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because he or she appears to be of a certain ethnic background (even if he or she is not).
- Political affiliation or belief. Public employers (for example, federal, state, and local governments, school districts and public authorities) in New York may not discriminate against their employees on the basis of their political beliefs or affiliations, or on the basis of an employee’s political activities outside of working hours, off of the employer’s premises and without use of the employer’s equipment or other property.
- Genetics. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions; restricts employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information; and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (family medical history).
- Arrest and conviction record. In most cases, New York employers cannot refuse to hire an applicant based solely on the fact that the applicant has been arrested, but not convicted of a crime. State law generally makes it illegal to deny an applicant a job or to fire an employee, or for a licensing agency to deny an occupational license, based solely on a criminal record unless there is a direct relationship between the criminal conviction(s) and the job, or hiring the applicant would create an unreasonable risk to property or the safety of others.
- Marital or partnership status. It is illegal in New York to discriminate against an individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of their marital status or because of a domestic partnership.
- Military or veteran status. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their military status or military obligations. It also protects the reemployment rights of individuals who leave civilian jobs (voluntarily or involuntarily) to serve in the uniformed services, including the U.S. Reserves and the National Guard. Disabled veterans are further protected by disability laws.
- Sexual orientation. Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals may bring sex discrimination claims on the basis of sexual harassment or other kinds of sex discrimination, such as adverse actions taken because of the person’s non-conformance with sex-stereotypes. New York’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment.
A person who is not hired or promoted or who has services available to employees or applicants of similar status denied or delayed because one of the factors listed above may be a victim of employment discrimination. It is also unlawful to treat an employee or job applicant in a negative way as a means of retaliation, such as in response to a discrimination complaint.
In most cases, employment discrimination may also be found if someone is treated unfairly because of the race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc., of someone the person is married to or associated with or because an organization or group the person is associated with is identified with a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.
Cohen & Jaffe – Your Employment Discrimination Lawyer
If you believe your employer or a potential employer has discriminated against you in violation of federal or state employment discrimination law, the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP is here to help you. We can help you seek justice under the laws of New York and the United States.
Call 800-483-6149 to talk to our Long Island Employment Discrimination Lawyer or email us, and we will respond to you immediately.