Employment Discrimination Lawyers Help Protected Classes

Employment Rights Attorneys Help Protect Workers from Discrimination

Attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., representing clients in New York City and the surrounding areas, meet people almost daily who tell them they lost their jobs. Many of these hard workers are under the impression that there is nothing they can do about it. After all, New York is a state that has a policy of employment “at will.” Many folks believe that they can lose their job for any reason and they have no recourse.

Being an “at will” employee, however, does not leave you without rights. Your employer may not discriminate against you or fire you for an unlawful reason. There are federal, state and city laws that protect certain groups and individuals from employment discrimination. The same laws provide recourse if you fall into a protected category and lose your job because of a discriminatory reason.

Knowing whether or not you are in a protected group is the first step toward understanding what rights you may have under one of the many discrimination laws. If you think you have experienced workplace discrimination or unlawful termination, consider speaking with lawyers at Leeds Brown. Our employment attorneys have spent decades successfully advancing discrimination and retaliation cases. Whether you need advice on how to handle a particular employment situation, want to file a discrimination claim or proceed with litigation, we have the skill and dedication you want on your side.

What Laws Protect Employees From Discrimination?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees the enforcement of the federal legislation that governs employment discrimination, which includes:

  • Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

There are also laws in New York State and New York City that address workplace discrimination against particular groups of employees. You can find them in the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). One of several agencies may oversee the enforcement of these laws. They include the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Department of Labor, in addition to the EEOC.

What is a Protected Class?

A protected class, or group, has characteristics that render them secured by law from employment discrimination. While essentially everyone should receive fair treatment, certain groups have been granted specific legislative protection. These additional safeguards are due in large part to a history of hostile treatment by employers. Consider the following characteristics or classifications that receive protection under federal, state or city laws:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Physical Disability
  • Mental Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • National Origin
  • Color
  • Gender Identity
  • Gender Expression
  • Genetic Information
  • Status as a Whistleblower
  • Familial Status
  • Military Status
  • Status as a Victim of Domestic Violence
  • Status as a Caregiver
  • Nursing or Lactating

What does this all mean to you? It means that if you are a member of one of these groups, it is unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you based on your membership in the group.

For instance, federal age discrimination laws protect employees over the age of 40 from age discrimination. If you are over 40, you receive protection from this law. If you lose your job, you may have the right to file a discrimination claim against your employer under the ADEA. If you are 35, the ADEA does not protect you from discrimination based on your age. New York law, however, has an age discrimination law that protects all employees over the age of 18. Therefore, you may have a state claim that entitles you to some relief.

While the same 35-year old may not receive federal protection from age discrimination, if the employee is a pregnant woman, she may have a claim for pregnancy discrimination or sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Of course, she would have to prove that her employer fired her for being pregnant.

What if your boss fires you because he or she does not like your hair? Hairstyle or haircut is not a protected class under any law so you may not have a claim based on this characteristic alone. However, if you can prove that your hairstyle is related to your racial characteristics, religion or even, you may just have a discrimination claim.

Employment Discrimination Against Protected Classes Includes More than Termination

Employment discrimination laws make it unlawful to make an employment decision based on a protected characteristic. An employment decision involves not only firing someone. It can include a decision about any of the following:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Training
  • Compensating
  • Assigning work
  • Assigning shifts
  • Providing benefits
  • Harassing

Most laws also protect employees from retaliation. Employers may not retaliate against any employee who files a complaint, reports or otherwise assists in the reporting or investigating of discriminatory treatment. Retaliation may include any adverse employment action or negative change in employment conditions.

Contact Us

Have you lost your job and think there is nothing you can do about it? Is it possible that you were fired for a discriminatory reason? Consider contacting experienced employment attorneys for a consultation. Once you tell us the circumstances surrounding your job and termination, we can assess whether you may have a claim against your employer. Every case is different and what may seem lawful in one scenario may not be under another.

If you do have a claim for sex discrimination, race discrimination or any other form of employment discrimination, it is important to have seasoned attorneys who can help direct you toward a fair resolution. Whether you want your job back, to negotiate a settlement or file a case in a court of law, Leeds Brown has what it takes to get you to the finish line.

We are passionate, skilled advocates who love our work. We take pride in representing hard working New Yorkers when they need us most. Don’t let your employer discriminate against you. You may have protection under one of the many laws designed to prevent illegal employment decisions. Let the lawyers at Leeds Brown help you protect your workplace rights. Call us 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658. Your case evaluation is free. Call New York employment discrimination attorneys today.