Articles Posted in Law Firm News

Phillips & Associates has established itself as one of New York City’s top employment discrimination law firms, with an exclusive focus on employee representation. Our attorneys have obtained more than $110 million in verdicts and settlements. Many of them have received recognition from their peers as leaders in the field of employment law. The legal publication TopVerdict recently recognized three of our attorneys for a jury verdict of $2.31 million in an employment discrimination lawsuit. Marjorie Mesidor, Brittany A. Stevens, and Nicole A. Welch represented a former employee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in a case that alleged hostile work environment based on race and national origin. TopVerdict included the case in its “Top 100 Verdicts in New York” list for 2018.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against employees and job applicants on the basis of race and national origin, among other factors. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Multiple court rulings have established that an employer commits an unlawful employment practice when they create a hostile work environment based on a protected category. While a hostile work environment is probably most familiar in the context of sexual harassment, it can also occur when an unwelcome and pervasive pattern of harassment is directed at a person’s race, color, religion, or national origin.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 offers further protection against discrimination on the basis of race. It guarantees the right of all persons in the U.S., regardless of race, “to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property.” Id. at § 1981. Unlike Title VII, this statute allows plaintiffs to recover punitive damages if they can establish that a defendant acted “with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual.” Id. at § 1981a(b)(1).
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In late May 2019, the National Law Journal (NLJ) published its list of finalists for its 2019 “Elite Trial Lawyers” awards. These awards recognize law firms in more than twenty areas of practice, including employment, business, finance, civil rights, bankruptcy, and tort law. Phillips & Associates has been nominated in all three employment-related categories: Discrimination, Employment Rights, and Racial Discrimination. New York City has one of the broadest antidiscrimination statutes in the country, and we have positioned ourselves as one of the top employment discrimination firms in the tri-state area.

Phillips & Associates has received recognition as a firm for its work in employment law. Numerous attorneys with the firm have received individual accolades for their accomplishments. We are one of the only employment law firms in greater New York City with an exclusive focus on employee representation. Our clients often have claims against their employers for discrimination and other unlawful practices under statutes like the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law.

Our firm has actively pursued justice for clients with discrimination claims under recent amendments to New York City law, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of factors like criminal history, unemployment, and caregiver status. We also represent clients with claims for unlawful practices under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and for minimum wage and overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
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Phillips & Associates is honored to announce that US Business News has recognized our employment discrimination practice in its “2019 Legal Elite Awards” issue. We are one of a small number of New York City employment discrimination law firms that exclusively represents employees. Our firm has received multiple honors and accolades in recent years. Many of our lawyers have achieved “Super Lawyer” status. Six of our attorneys are members of the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which is only open to lawyers who have obtained verdicts or settlements of a million dollars or more. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our attorneys and staff, we are one of the top law firms in the great New York City area for sexual harassment and other employment discrimination claims, with over $110 million in settlements and verdicts.

A significant part of our legal practice is dedicated to advocating for workers who have experienced sexual harassment. Under laws like the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex. This includes situations in which a supervisor or manager makes submission to sexual activity of some sort a condition of employment, and situations in which pervasive and unwelcome sexual behavior creates a hostile work environment.

Our firm has also taken an active role advocating for employees’ rights under new amendments to the NYCHRL that make it one of the most comprehensive antidiscrimination laws in the country. This includes provisions that protect job applicants from discrimination on the basis of criminal history, and which allow individuals to demonstrate their qualifications for a job before an employer may ask about past convictions. New York City also prohibits discrimination against employees because of caregiving responsibilities for children or other family or household members, because of prior periods of unemployment, because of gender identity or gender expression, and many other factors.
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Phillips & Associates is expanding into Long Island with the opening of a new office location in Manhasset. This location on Long Island’s North Shore will enable us to help workers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties assert their rights under federal and state laws against discrimination, harassment, and other unlawful practices. New York anti-discrimination law provides powerful protections for workers. Our Manhasset office will work alongside our locations in Manhattan and Princeton, New Jersey in helping aggrieved employees and job applicants seek justice.

Workers on Long Island are protected from workplace discrimination and harassment by Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). Title VII identifies five protected categories:  sex, race, color, religion, and national origin. The statute considers both sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination to be discrimination on the basis of sex. The NYSHRL includes additional protected categories, such as sexual orientation, family or marital status, and domestic violence victim status. These laws prohibit employers from refusing to hire, firing, demoting, or otherwise making adverse employment decisions about an employee or job applicant solely because of their membership in a protected category.

Leading the new office will be Phillips & Associates partner Marjorie Mesidor, a tireless advocate for people who have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of factors like sex, race, and disability. She obtained a unanimous jury verdict in a landmark 2013 case, Johnson v. Strive, which established that people of the same race can discriminate against one another in violation of state and federal laws. Joining Ms. Mesidor will be Joshua P. Frank, an employment attorney with a commitment to protecting people’s right to equal opportunities in the workplace.

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