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When Should I Hire an Employment Lawyer in New York?

— June 9, 2022

New York is an ‘at-will’ state and an employer can fire anyone at any time for any reason or no reason at all.

When you’re facing problems at work, like being underpaid or discriminated against, you may feel powerless. After all, it’s your boss we’re talking about and you may lose your job if you start complaining, right? Actually, no. Your rights are clearly protected under New York employment laws as well as under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you are mistreated, you have the legal right to complain and even sue your employer if need be. However, it would be best to talk to a trustworthy New York employment lawyer first as there are certain procedures you need to follow.

What are the laws on discrimination in New York?

Both state and federal laws prohibit workplace discrimination based on various protected characteristics such as race, color, nationality, sex and sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, etc. 

For instance, if your boss decides to fire you right after you share the happy news that you are expecting a baby, that can be a violation of your rights. The same goes for the unfortunate situation when your employer terminates you because you’ve turned 50 and they don’t think you’re up to the job anymore. 

New York is an ‘at-will’ state and an employer can fire anyone at any time for any reason or no reason at all. However, if you are in a protected class firing you may be illegal. If you’re in such a situation, contact a good employment lawyer in New York City to see if you have a case. 

The anti-discrimination laws also apply to those looking for a job. If you feel your job application was rejected because of the color of your skin, an experienced lawyer might help you file a complaint. 

How do I file a sexual harassment complaint in New York?

Sexual harassment falls under sex-based discriminated and is prohibited in the state of New York, in both private and public organizations. 

The law defines two types of sexual harassment.

LGBTQ flag. Image via Quote Catalog, Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

Quid pro quo cases refer to cases where a supervisor or manager asks for sexual favors under the threat of termination or the promise of a promotion, followed by a nice pay raise.

Hostile work environment refers to those situations when you are harassed by your coworkers, verbally, visually or physically.

In both cases the procedure is the same. You need to file an internal complaint and allow your boss the time to take appropriate measures against your harasser. If you work in the state of New York you should have received the Employee Handbook clearly detailing the procedure to follow when making an internal complaint for discrimination of any kind, including sexual harassment. Bear in mind that New York employment laws also prohibit retaliation against those complaining about discrimination, work conditions, work safety or wage issues, as well as against those who testify on your behalf. If your boss retaliated by firing or demoting you, you have the right to recover damages and benefits even if it turns out you were wrong and your complaint was unjustified.

If your employer doesn’t do anything to put an end to the sexual harassment you complained about, your lawyer will help you file a formal complaint at state or federal level. 

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