Employment Lawyers File Workplace Discrimination Claims for Women in NYC

Employment discrimination attorneys represent clients in New York City and throughout New York, who find themselves victims of sex discrimination and harassment at work. Male and female workers may experience workplace gender discrimination, but more often than not, it is women who seek us out to file claims against managers, supervisors, or colleagues who violate one or more anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting women.

Employment discrimination occurs with frequency and in various ways. It may occur when a neutral office policy has a disparate impact on one gender over another. Or it may be the result of purposefully bad decision making or harassing behavior that takes an emotional and financial toll on the victim. While men receive protection from gender discrimination laws, women make up an overwhelmingly large majority of workers who file complaints about workplace sex harassment and gender discrimination.

Over several decades, New York state and Congress created laws with the purpose of prohibiting employment discrimination and harassment against women. It is unlawful to discriminate based on sex in any aspect or condition of employment. What does this mean? It means that an employer may not take gender into consideration when making a decision about things such as:

  • Advertising and the job application process
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Compensating/paying wages, bonuses, commissions
  • Offering/providing/distributing benefits
  • Training
  • Assigning work
  • Promoting
  • Structuring incentives

We take pride in helping women in New York City and the surrounding areas to recover monetary damages and any other remedies available when they are victims of sex harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace.

Our years of experience in combination with our personal, team-based approach to cases, results in aggressive and high-quality representation our clients appreciate. If you are the victim of employment-related gender discrimination attorneys are here to help you navigate a claim against your employer, advocate on your behalf, and assist you to obtain a monetary award that fairly represents your emotional and financial injuries.

Female Employees in New York City Receive Protection from Gender Discrimination

Local and New York State governments, as well as the Federal government, created laws that directly deal with employment discrimination. Some pieces of legislation specifically tackle the rights of women, like New York’s Women’s Equality Act,  while others guarantee the rights of many different workers including, transgender individuals and men.

Here, we will look at some laws that female employees may rely on to help secure a workplace environment that is safe and provides equal treatment.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII is a Federal law that prohibits employment discrimination “based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” Its prohibition against discrimination covers all aspects of the employment relationship as well as actions that occur during the pre-employment process such as advertising, job applications and hiring decisions. Under Title VII, the prohibition of employment discrimination includes harassment based on the same characteristics. For example, sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment for the victim is a form of prohibited sex discrimination.

New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) support these basic prohibitions outlined in Title VII and, in many instances provide even broader protection for female employees and bind more businesses to its provisions.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

The PDA is an amendment to Title VII that protects women from discrimination based on childbirth, pregnancy, and their accompanying medical conditions. The law states that a business may not allow bias or assumptions about pregnant women to shape employment decisions and may not refuse to hire, promote or compensate a woman because she is pregnant. For instance, it may be unlawful to deny a promotion to a qualified pregnant female a promotion because you think she will be too tired to perform the job or that when her child comes, she will not want to work hard. Employers must also treat an employee with a pregnancy-related medical condition the same way they would treat any other worker with a short term disability.

On a more local level, NYSHRL and NYCHRL also address pregnancy discrimination. The laws make it unlawful for any employer or prospective employer to take any adverse employment action against a female who is pregnant, was recently pregnant, recently gave birth or intends to become pregnant. Employers, under these laws, must provide reasonable accommodations that meet the needs of workers who have pregnancy-related conditions. Reasonable accommodations include providing adequate time and appropriate space for expressing breast milk.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

The FLSA is the federal law that established a national minimum wage and rules for overtime in our country. The EPA is an amendment to the FLSA, passed by Congress with the intention of eliminating a persistent wage gap between female and male employees. The Act “prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.”  The laws demand pay equality; employers must pay women equal pay for equal work. An exception exists when there is a bona fide seniority system or merit system that considers factors other than gender.

NYCHRL and NYSHRL Have Unique Provisions that Protect Female Employees-

NYSHRL, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination based on familial status. What does this mean? It means that in New York State, including New York City and all surrounding areas, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee because the person has or will have a child, has custody of a child or is seeking custody of a child. The law applies protects all workers regardless of gender, but it is a provision designed to prevent one kind of discrimination that is more often than not, directed at women.

Familial status discrimination can occur in a variety of ways. Some examples may include:

  • The refusal to hire a woman with “too many children.”
  • The decision to deny a promotion to a woman because you believe her parenting responsibilities will make her less likely to fulfill her job duties.
  • Firing someone because they are trying to obtain custody of a minor child
  • Making any employment decision based on your assumption that mothers do not want to put in extra hours
  • Denying employment or promotion because of someone’s status a single parent
  • Refusing to hire a qualified woman for a position because you feel women belong at home
  • Refusing to hire a person because they are in the process of adopting a child

NYCHRL goes even further and prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s role as a caregiver. NYCHRL provides this definition of the caregiver; “a person who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient.” A caregiver under this provision includes an individual who cares for children and who has the responsibility of caring for an infirmed or aging relative.

While these laws protect any individual employee who falls into the category of a caregiver and protects people of any gender from familial status discrimination, women are more often than not the ones who are impacted by their provisions. In the workplace, women, more than others, tend to be the victims of gender discrimination related to their domestic responsibilities to children and family.

Local laws in our area also prohibit employment discrimination based on someone’s status as a victim of domestic violence. New York City requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for victims of domestic violence. As with the caregiver and familial status provisions, this law does not just protect women; it protects all victims of domestic violence from employment discrimination. In practice, however, women are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence and more at risk to face workplace discrimination because of it.

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The list of laws and discussion above are mere highlights and do not detail how to seek recourse against the party responsible for sex discrimination in the workplace.  For instance, most laws also prohibit retaliation against women who file administrative claims for discrimination, otherwise report it or attempt to stop it.  If your employer takes adverse action against you for trying to remedy workplace discrimination, you may have a legal claim for retaliation, which can be stronger than the underlying claim. You may be entitled to receive back pay, money for emotional distress and other relief.

Find out about your rights to work in an environment that is safe and promotes equality by contacting experienced employment discrimination lawyers. If gender bias has negatively affected your job prospects, opportunities for promotion, wages or your comfort level at work, let us know. Our attorneys know that sex discrimination occurs with frequency, in New York City, on Long Island and throughout the state, because we have helped clients handle such cases for decades.  We can help you navigate a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or appropriate state agency, or represent you in court if that is the course of action you choose to fight to enforce your rights.  You may be able to recover significant monetary damages for your gender discrimination claim. 

Contact New York City’s dedicated employment discrimination lawyers at 1-800-585-4658. Time may be of the essence so call today for a free evaluation.