Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
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Workplaces are settings where people must find ways to work together if they are to achieve optimal success. Representing the flip side of this, many discrimination and harassment cases arise because of an unreasonable refusal to “work together” with an employee who had a disability. If you were that worker, you are entitled to take legal action and potentially recover substantial compensation for the harm you endured. Get in touch with an experienced New York disability discrimination lawyer today to find out more.

Some years ago, an employment attorney in another state opined that, in a lot of cases, employers find themselves facing discrimination or harassment litigation because of a failure to follow one simple rule: don’t be a schmuck. (The author didn’t say “schmuck,” but you get the point.) This is good advice that too often goes unheeded. Whether it is utterly unnecessary jokes about a worker’s race/sex/ethnicity/religion/etc. or excessive uncooperativeness toward an employee needing a disability accommodation, many cases come to exist because of entirely avoidable violations of the law.

Take, for example, the disability discrimination case of D.B., a stage manager for a major cable sports network. He had a medical condition, exacerbated by working in cold studios, that affected his skin. Indeed, the manager’s direct supervisor allegedly once asked him, in front of a sizable group of people, “What’s wrong with your skin?”

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Pregnancy discrimination is an illegal form of employment discrimination. That has been true under federal, state, and city law for decades. Nevertheless, the insidious problem of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, including discrimination against breastfeeding moms, remains. Whether you’ve suffered harm on the job because of your pregnancy or because of post-partum issues (like breastfeeding or expressing breast milk,) you are entitled to take legal action and potentially entitled to recover substantial compensation. There is, however, only a limited time to act under the law, so don’t delay. Reach out and retain a knowledgeable New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyer right away.

One of the forms of discrimination that happens to a lot of pregnant or breastfeeding working mothers is inappropriate jokes or comments at the workplace. Take, for example, A.Z., an account manager for a children’s clothing manufacturer. In 2018, the manager informed her supervisors that she was pregnant. After a brief maternity leave, A.Z. returned to work in the spring of 2019.

Once A.Z. was back in the office, the comments started, according to her complaint. One of the company’s owners allegedly asked the manager for some breast milk for his coffee, requesting that she “just squirt it in there.” The other owner allegedly would yell things like “pump station” and “pumper” as he passed A.Z.’s lactation accommodation area. The owners additionally opined that their office was “turning into a regular dairy farm” and that A.Z. could “put a milk company out of business,” according to the lawsuit.

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On the job, you may have experienced something that was blatantly inappropriate, unacceptable, and wrong, but you may not instantaneously have spoken out. Even if you didn’t, and even if others thought you were “OK” with it, that doesn’t make it OK and doesn’t mean that you cannot use that improper conduct as the foundation of a hostile work environment lawsuit. If it has happened to you at your workplace, reach out to a knowledgeable New York hostile work environment attorney to discuss your legal options.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone did or said something you found highly personally offensive? (We’re confident almost all readers are nodding “yes” right now.) Many of us may say or do nothing. “Unfriending” that guy you graduated high school with — the one who keeps posting memes mocking your ethnicity or your sexual orientation or your religion — would cost you little, but you fear the possible repercussions anyway. You somehow feel an innate urge not to “rock the boat.”

Now, imagine you were subjected to those offensive comments, not on Facebook, but at work. Repeatedly. You know the behavior is wrong and is hurtful to you. But you also know you need that job, and you fear the consequences if you speak out. Would you object, or would you gently smile and laugh (and hope it stops soon)? Whether you are the objecting kind or the laughing type, you may still potentially have experienced an actionable hostile work environment.

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Back in 2007, radio host Don Imus got fired after he referred to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, the majority of whom were Black, as “nappy-headed hos”. That incident may have been particularly infamous, but the thousands of women of color working in New York City know that such attitudes are not uncommon. Many women of color face insidious race and/or gender discrimination on the job. Oftentimes, though, it will be something less obvious than being publicly demeaned with vulgar language like Imus’s. While it may have been less obvious, that doesn’t necessarily make it any less damaging to you in your career. If it happens to you, you should take action. Get in touch with a knowledgeable New York City discrimination lawyer to discover what legal options may exist for you.

Take, for example, K.R., an Afro Latina woman of Dominican ancestry working at a Manhattan media strategy and “crisis management” firm.

According to K.R.’s discrimination lawsuit, which she filed last year, the firm’s owner criticized her demeanor on the phone as “angry.” The complaint stated that, by contrast, the woman accused exactly none of her white female workers of having an “angry” phone demeanor.

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Under federal law, you must prove that you suffered either “severe” or “pervasive” harassment to win a hostile work environment case. So, what happens if the harassment you endured was encapsulated in just one incident? Clearly, that’s not pervasive, but can it be severe? The answer is “yes, it can,” so don’t give up on your case just because you don’t have a long list of incidents of harassment. Instead, reach out to an experienced New York sexual harassment lawyer and find out what options exist for you.

The case of B.B., a clerical assistant with the New York Department of Sanitation, is a strong example of what a viable single-incident hostile work environment case looks like.

In 2014, the department reassigned B.B. to a garage in upper Manhattan. At the Manhattan garage, B.B. allegedly was the target of multiple sexually explicit comments about her body.

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Disability discrimination in the workplace can occur in many different ways. The disability that makes up the foundation of your lawsuit could be something chronic or, potentially, it could be very temporary. Whatever the particulars, if you’ve suffered disability discrimination on the job, you should contact a knowledgeable New York City disability discrimination lawyer and find out more about your legal options.

Often, in this blog, we look at court cases involving workers harmed by discrimination, so that you can see their circumstances and see how they, like you, may have the potential to achieve success through the legal system.

Sometimes, though, there are cases that are not employment discrimination matters but may still be of potentially massive importance to you as a New York City worker who may need to consider an employment discrimination lawsuit. The recent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case of one New York prisoner is an example of this kind of case.

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Most people, when they contemplate workplace retaliation, picture a worker who is demoted or fired for having filed a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit (or EEO claim.) Retaliation in the workplace can take many forms beyond just that, though. If you believe you’ve been punished at work because you stood up for yourself (or others) in opposition to illegal practices in the workplace, you ought to get in touch with a knowledgeable New York employment lawyer right away.

One of the more hotly debated topics within employment law is mandatory arbitration agreements or, more specifically, the interconnection of mandatory arbitration agreements and claims of discrimination. New York State law says that such agreements are void and unenforceable in that context, but that law has experienced a rocky road in court across the last three years. At least two different federal judges in New York have ruled that federal law preempts CPLR Section 7515, allowing the employer to transition the case from court to arbitration.

Sometimes, though, the significance of your mandatory arbitration agreement goes beyond the procedural question of where your case will be litigated and into the question of whether the initiation of the agreement itself was a punitive act done in retalaition. That was the case for M.C., a woman who was the head of recruiting at a New York City financial technology firm.

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27 years ago, the box office blockbuster film Disclosure debuted in theaters. The Demi Moore-Michael Douglas film shone a light on a topic rarely highlighted in a big-budget Hollywood movie: workplace sexual harassment. All sexual harassment is a cancer upon the workplace, but quid pro quo sexual harassment, which was the type featured in Disclosure, is a particularly problematic thing. It places a worker under pressure to provide sex due to that party’s inferior power in the workplace (vis-a-vis the harasser) and the party’s fear of workplace reprisals (up to and including termination.) It is something no worker should have to tolerate and, if it happens to you, waste no time in taking action, including getting in touch with an experienced New York sexual harassment lawyer.

Of course, quid pro quo sexual harassment takes more forms than just what was described above. In some scenarios, the harasser, rather than threatening to punish a refusal, instead offers to use his power for your benefit if you provide sex. Offers like “I’ll make sure you get that promotion if you’ll agree to start dating me” or comments like “you could go far in this industry, and I can help make it happen if you would just ‘play ball’” are examples of this.

The recent case of an upstate New York bartender is a real-life illustration of that kind of alleged quid pro quo harassment. J.K., a bartender at a club in Hudson, sought out his supervisor to discuss possibly doing extra work and making “a little bit more money.” According to the lawsuit, the supervisor, who knew the bartender was gay, replied that he used to sleep with his manager to get shifts he wanted. The man then allegedly asked J.K. if he wanted better shifts, whereupon he spun around in his swivel chair and turned toward the bartender with his legs spread open.

In your federal lawsuit for workplace sexual harassment, one of the keys to getting the best possible result is making sure you get to put before the court all of your evidence, with none of it being stymied but a fallacious effort by the defense to exclude it. Another key is ensuring that you are successful in keeping out all of the defense’s evidence that, according to the rules, is inadmissible. Doing these things will strengthen your case and weaken the defense’s case, thereby giving you an enhanced opportunity for success. To maximize your ability to do all of these things, make sure that you have the representation you need from a knowledgeable New York sexual harassment lawyer.

Undeniably, the #metoo movement did a vital service in exposing the rampant and sometimes severe sexual harassment women endure in certain industries. As the New York Times pointed out back in 2018, though, modeling is an area where men experience an elevated frequency of harassment.

Regardless of your gender, the federal rules can be a powerful friend in your sexual harassment case. Consider, as a good example, the lawsuit of a male model currently proceeding in the Southern District of New York federal court.

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Sometimes at work, circumstances may arise that call for you to stand up against improper harassment or discrimination in your workplace. Regardless of whether you were the target of that illegal conduct or a coworker was, the law says you have the right to take action (whether that is filing a complaint, giving testimony, or participating in an investigation) without suffering punishment in your job. If you do get punished, that’s retaliation, it’s impermissible and it’s something that should motivate you to consult a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer.

According to the New York Daily News, one NYPD lieutenant was the victim of this kind of retaliation and received a sizable jury award as a result.

A.O. was an NYPD lieutenant who was a platoon commander at a precinct in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 2015 and 2016, A.O. wrote and submitted three internal complaints on behalf of one of her subordinate officers, whom she believed was being subjected to a hostile work environment because of his ethnicity. (The subordinate officer was a Latino man.) The lieutenant also testified on the Latino subordinate’s behalf at the departmental hearing on the matter.

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