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When you’re pursuing a retaliation case in New York, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Here are a quick three: (1) even if your underlying discrimination (or harassment) claim fails — even at the summary judgment phase — you can still win your retaliation claim, (2) even if your employer has put forward a legitimate basis for the adverse action it took and a viable theory as to why your claim is not legitimate, you can still successfully make out a retaliation claim, and (3) if you believe you were the target of illegal retaliation at work, you need to get in touch with an experienced New York employment discrimination lawyer.

A recent retaliation case from upstate illustrates the points briefly outlined above. The worker, J.D., was a manager working for a chain of auto repair and maintenance stores, overseeing 10-14 stores.

In late 2019, one of the manager’s female subordinates, S.M., informed him that she “had been touched inappropriately by a co-worker” on multiple occasions that day. According to the employer, the manager badly mishandled the investigation into the woman’s complaint, failing to follow company policies and engaging in deceitful behavior.

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If you think you’ve been the target of illegal age discrimination in New York City, it’s extremely important that you get in touch with an experienced New York City age discrimination lawyer right away. That’s true because the costs of delaying are potentially catastrophic. If you miss the deadline for filing your complaint, then those responsible may completely avoid liability for that discrimination on the basis of the statute of limitations.

In connection with statutes of limitation and limitations periods, there’s also something called “tolling,” which possibly can mean that you have a longer window of time in which to sue. Knowing if tolling applies to your situation and, if so, what your specific deadline for filing is can be crucial to your success. This again illustrates the importance of having knowledgeable legal counsel on your side.

As an example, there’s S.G., a woman who, for many years, was the director of a senior center in Lower Manhattan. In 2017, her employer terminated her employment. The director, believing that the true reason for her termination was her age — she was in her late 60s — launched a civil lawsuit against her employer for age discrimination in violation of the New York State Human Rights Act and the New York City Human Rights Act.

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As most people — lawyers and non-lawyers alike — know, most civil lawsuits start with a complaint, followed by a response from the defense, after which comes pre-trial discovery and motions, possible settlement negotiations, and if the case is still unresolved, a trial. Sometimes, though, cases don’t follow that usual path. An experienced New York City sexual harassment lawyer can help your hostile work environment case in lots of ways, especially when your case doesn’t follow the typical pattern listed above.

For example, what do you do when you file your sexual harassment complaint and the defense responds by doing… nothing?

That was the scenario facing B.M., a woman working in the investments and finance business. She was a successful hedge fund analyst and consultant who, in 2021, took a position in investor relations with a Lower Manhattan-based firm.

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Retaliation is a very real problem for many workers. These workers reasonably fear that, if they speak up against discrimination or sexual harassment — either what they’ve endured or that targeted someone else, they run the risk of professional harm. No worker should fear losing their job because they spoke out in opposition to harassment or discrimination. If that has happened to you, be aware that retaliation is an illegal practice and you have a right to pursue legal action. A knowledgeable New York City employment retaliation lawyer can show you how.

A hospital worker upstate recently overcame his employer’s motion to dismiss his retaliation claim, making for a good example of what it takes to present a viable retaliation case.

Here were the facts as described in the court opinion: M.Z. started working at the hospital’s phlebotomy lab in September 2018. M.Z.’s employment contract ended at the end of the year but the employer allegedly told him that it would “automatically” be renewed.

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Telling a coworker to “smile more” or generally exhorting someone to “smile!” might seem like an effort to encourage positivity but, for many women in the workplace, it comes across as something very different; namely, controlling, insulting, and sexist. The reality is that people in the workplace target comments like “smile” or “you should smile more” toward women far more often than men. Rather than benign, these comments may represent crucial proof in a woman’s workplace sex discrimination case. A knowledgeable New York City sex discrimination lawyer can help you assess how your facts may potentially be the foundation of a winning employment discrimination lawsuit.

S.E. was a woman and a physician who allegedly encountered that kind of illegal bias in her workplace. She wasn’t just any female doctor, either; she was a highly accomplished and board-certified specialist in rheumatology, having co-owned a successful medical practice for many years.

In 2014, she joined the health system of a major New York City university, assuming a role in the faculty practice group. Three years later, two vice presidents convened a meeting with the rheumatologist to discuss her “purportedly deteriorating relationships with her colleagues.” At that meeting, the vice presidents, both of whom were men, advised the physician that she should smile more at work.

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Nationality/racial stereotypes span across all nationalities/races and a wide array of subject matter. What all racial stereotypes have in common is that they are offensive, harmful, and inappropriate for the workplace. If you’ve endured this kind of stereotyping at work, a violation of anti-discrimination law may have occurred, so it is well worth your while to contact an experienced New York City employment discrimination lawyer to discuss your circumstances.

Here in New York City, there’s an enhanced possibility that the racial stereotyping you endured at work broke the law. That’s because, in this city, there are multiple different laws banning employment discrimination based on race or nationality.

H.L.’s national origin discrimination case makes for a clear illustration. H.L., who was originally from China, worked for ConEd from 2004 to 2020. During that time, the employee allegedly endured various racist comments and taunts, including one coworker who “would pretend to be Chinese” and speak to H.L. in broken English with a mock Chinese accent. The coworker also frequently instructed H.L. to “open your eyes,” according to the complaint.

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People on social media often question something still being “a thing in [the current year].” The phrase is meant to convey frustration, disbelief, or contempt about some antiquated notion, viewpoint, or belief still occurring in our modern world. One would certainly hope that truly grotesque and blatantly offensive displays of racism in New York workplaces would no longer be “a thing,” but the news and court case filings tell a different — and more depressing — reality. Whether what you encountered was a noose, a banana, gorilla jokes, a KKK hood, or some other insignia of overt racial hostility, don’t wait to take the necessary legal action, and make sure you start with retaining a knowledgeable New York race discrimination lawyer.

In one of the most recent hostile work environment incidents, K.P., a Black man from Brooklyn, allegedly endured gorilla jokes, complete with props.

K.P. started working as a night-shift dispatcher for a distribution-systems provider headquartered upstate. There were also various isolated instances of epithets like “Uncle Tom,” “coon,” “jigaboo,” and the N-word, the last of which was used in connection with the holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, according to the complaint.

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As a person of color, one understands that racial discrimination in the workplace can come from many different directions. Perhaps it is a coworker, a supervisor, or your employer. Other times, though, the racial animus you encounter comes from people outside your employer’s direct control. The law allows you to pursue race discrimination cases against your employer based on the acts of third parties (such as clients/customers, vendors, and contractors,) if the employer was negligent in controlling your workplace. If you’ve encountered racial hostility at work, regardless of who did it, you may have a potential legal case, so you should get in touch a knowledgeable New York City race discrimination lawyer right away.

S.C. was a Black female home health aide who encountered a hostile workplace perpetrated by a client. Six months into her job, she received a phone call from a care manager, who assigned S.C. to work two 12-hour shifts at the home of an 88-year-old woman in Manhattan who suffered from dementia.

The woman who assigned S.C. to the dementia patient told the aide that the patient “could become agitated very quickly” as a result of her dementia. What the care manager did not tell the aide, however, was that the client’s history was more complicated and problematic than that. According to the aide, the employer had a years-long file on the client and her history of “targeting Black people or people of color… with malicious conduct, which included frivolous 911 reports triggered by the client’s racial hatred.” According to S.C., she would have declined the assignment if she had known the truth about the client.

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If you follow the news, you likely have come across the phrases “the wage gap” or “the pay gap.” Generally, when these phrases appear in news stories, they refer to the gender wage gap, a/k/a the extent to which women make less than men for comparable work. Sometimes, though, wage gaps cut along lines other than gender, as a recent federal race discrimination case demonstrates. If you discover that you (and others of your race) are being paid less than others outside your racial group for the same or similar work, then it’s time to consult a knowledgeable New York City race discrimination lawyer and consider what your next legal steps should be.

A group of New York City inspectors recently achieved success, not just in pursuing their wage gap-driven race discrimination case, but in pursuing it as a class action. (Class actions can benefit workers by allowing them to litigate as one, often making costs lower and the likelihood of financial recovery greater.)

The plaintiffs were employed as fire protection inspectors employed by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). These jobs called for inspectors to “conduct inspections of buildings, facilities, vehicles, and public activities in New York City to ensure compliance with safety codes, rules, and regulations.” According to the inspectors’ lawsuit, roughly 70% of the individuals employed in that role were people of color.

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In any discrimination and/or harassment lawsuit, there are two elements that are essential to success. Obviously, you’ll need to have to present a case where the facts and the law are on your side. Before you can do that, though, you have to acquire the evidence necessary to establish that factual basis. Much of this acquisition process occurs through pre-trial discovery and the exchange of information with the other side. Sometimes, though, the other side doesn’t follow the rules in engaging in the discovery process and, when that happens, you need a skilled New York employment discrimination who can advocate effectively for you to address the situation.

The race discrimination case of R.E., a Black woman employed as a personal training manager by a chain of luxury fitness clubs, shows how all these pieces can come together.

During her last three months on the job, R.E. allegedly experienced racial harassment on multiple occasions and complained about the incidents, but her employer failed to “properly investigate or address” the situations.

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