Four Common Kinds of Employer Retaliation

It is illegal under the New York Human Rights Law for an employer in New York State to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, sex, creed, color, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status, domestic violence victim status, military status, criminal or arrest record, or predisposing genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee for making a complaint, either to their employer or to the government, based on discrimination they experience or observe. However, not all forms of retaliation are easy to spot. Here’s just a handful of ways an employee can be retaliated against by their employer:

Being fired or having pay cut

By far one of the most obvious forms of retaliation, an employer accused of discriminating against their employees may simply decide to get rid of the employee who complained about them. Alternately, they may decide to punish an employee by cutting their pay. Obviously, this can have severe economic consequences, and sometimes simply wielding the threat of a firing or a pay cut can be enough to stifle would-be complainants.

Suffering abuse or harassment

Another of the more obvious forms of retaliation, an employer who is displeased with an employee complaint can simply choose to berate, harass, intimidate, or even assault the complaining employee. While, again, these are all illegal, an employer who is already discriminating against their employees may be willing to commit illegal acts to cover up other illegal acts. The goal in harassing or abusing complainants is to either get them to drop their complaints, or to get them to leave the company on their own volition, which would deprive them of any benefits they might otherwise get for having their job terminated.

Getting passed over for promotions or raises

Just as victims of employment discrimination might find their opportunities for advancement within their company cut off, so too might people who complain about discrimination find themselves unable to get raises or promotions, despite the work they put in or the success they have at their job. It becomes a way of quietly smothering a person out of the job, by making it impossible to advance a career. This can be more difficult to prove as people get passed over for raises and promotions all the time, for reasons that have nothing to do with employee retaliation.

Negative employee reviews

An increasingly common way for employers to retaliate against employees who complain about discrimination is to give them bad performance reviews. Employees who previously excelled in their job may find their reviews becoming worse, even if they haven’t changed anything else about their work habits or attitude. The reviews may say they “don’t take direction well,” or that they’re “not a team player,” or that they “lack emotional intelligence.”

If you have been discriminated against by your employer, or have suffered retaliation for complaining about discrimination by your employer, you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf during the legal process. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with forty years of experience in handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

Supreme Court Considers LGBTQ Employment Discrimination Case

The Supreme Court is currently considering a case, Bostock v. Clayton County, which may have an impact on LGBTQ rights across the United States. The plaintiff in the case was allegedly fired from his job after his employer discovered he had joined a baseball team for gay men. This case has become a focus of national attention to see whether the Supreme Court is willing to recognize employment discrimination because of sexual orientation as legally protected in the same way that many other forms of discrimination are. Continue reading “Supreme Court Considers LGBTQ Employment Discrimination Case”

When Employment Discrimination Gets Sneaky

When people think of employment discrimination, whether based on gender, race, age, sexuality or disability, they usually have a specific picture of what that looks like. They imagine bigoted tirades or inappropriate physical contact, or managers or executives outright declaring their refusal to treat certain kinds of people as equals. That said, with employers now more conscious of lawsuits than ever, discrimination can often take more subtle forms. Continue reading “When Employment Discrimination Gets Sneaky”

Inflammatory Bowel Disease May Result In Reasonable Accommodations

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), there will be an estimated 1.6 million new cases of inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed in the United States this year. Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term that refers to intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation that result in anemia, ulcers, diarrhea, bowel obstructions, colon cancer, fistulas, and malnutrition.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibits discrimination against individuals with a qualified disability. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees.  Federal employees are afforded protections under the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). In addition, the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL) provides, “It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to the known disabilities of an employee.” (Executive Law 296(3).)
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Paid Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave refers to when an employee takes time off of work to grieve and mourn the loss of a spouse, child, or close family member. There are only two states which offer some form of bereavement leave to its workers, which are Oregon and Illinois. However, New York may become the third state to offer a form of bereavement leave.
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Age Discrimination Is Illegal

Recently, a federal lawsuit was filed against Amazon and T-Mobile, among others, for discriminating against older employees in violation of the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA). According to the complaint, these companies posted recruitment advertisements on Facebook, a social media platform, which targeted only specific age groups.
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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Public Portal

On November 1, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a public portal that will give people online access to inquiries about discrimination. “The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.” The public portal will make EEOC information, as well as personal charge information, easily accessible. The features included in the public portal are currently available for all newly filed charges and any charges that were filed on or after January 1, 2016 that are currently in investigation or mediation. Continue reading “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Public Portal”

U.S. Appeals Court Rules That LGBT Workers Are Protected From Bias

Recently, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that a civil rights law from 1964 protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees from workplace discrimination. The 8-3 decision is the first ruling by the federal appeals court to recognize that law as protecting the rights of LGBT individuals in the workplace.

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Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

On January 11, 2017, a proposed class action discrimination lawsuit was filed against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Detroit, Michigan by the company’s former diversity manager Marlin G. Williams. In her discrimination suit, Ms. Williams alleges that FCA’s employee evaluation process impedes the success of African-American employees at a disproportionate rate. This lawsuit has the potential to affect many African-American managers who are subject to an evaluation process. Class-action status is the designation that can be approved by a federal judge if a plaintiff can prove numerous employees were also harmed in the same manner.

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New York State Eases Burden on Hiring Ex-Convicts

On December 21st the Cuomo Administration implemented a new regulation prohibiting insurance companies from refusing coverage for crime-related losses caused by employees. Effective January 1, 2017, the regulation allows businesses to obtain commercial crime coverage after sustaining losses in a situation involving an employee’s dishonesty.

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