Articles Posted in Race Discrimination

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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If you’ve endured race-based discrimination at your job, you likely have many questions, like “can I sue?” and “if I sue, what proof and/or allegations do I need to make a case?” In answering these and other critical questions about your race discrimination case, be sure you’re getting the answers you need. To do that, retain an experienced New York City race discrimination lawyer with the knowledge necessary to give you the advice you need.

In many cases, a vital early hurdle is defeating your employer’s motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment. Keep in mind, though, that you usually do not need as much to defeat one of these motions as you’ll ultimately need at trial.

The race discrimination case of D.W. was a good example. She was a Black woman who worked as an administrative assistant for an employer in Westchester County and was someone who allegedly suffered extensive discrimination.

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The law generally, but especially the law of discrimination, is continuing to evolve and change. One jurisdiction where that’s true is New York State. State law recently changed in an important way that helps workers harmed by discrimination on the job. The change lowers the standard of proof the worker must establish to have a viable discrimination claim. This illustrates the importance of having legal representation from a knowledgeable New York City employment discrimination lawyer who is fully up-to-date on the law and knows how to use those recent changes to your maximum benefit.

As an example of how the above-mentioned change in New York State represents a positive change for workers, there’s this recent color discrimination case.

The worker, C.C., was a nanny in Manhattan. The nanny’s lawsuit alleged that her employer (who was also the mother of the child for whom C.C. provided care) “consistently mocked” the color of her skin. That mockery included telling her older son that the nanny’s face was the same color as “poop” and subsequently encouraging the child to repeat the scatological observation, laughing and smiling when he did so, according to the complaint.

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A common saying that suggests that someone who serves as his own lawyer “shall be sure to have a fool for a client,” dates all the way back to the 17th Century, but it’s still true today. Even licensed New York attorneys understand that, if they’ve endured discrimination at work, they should not try to pursue their case on their own, especially if they’re not experienced in employment discrimination matters. After you encountered discrimination at work, make sure you have the representation you need by hiring a knowledgeable New York City workplace discrimination lawyer.

M.B. was one of those lawyers. M.B., a Black woman, was an employee with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. After some time with the MTA, she sought a promotion to an “Attorney II” position. M.B. didn’t receive that promotion. Instead, the MTA awarded the promotion to a white woman who allegedly had less experience than M.B. had. Specifically, M.B. asserted that the employer’s standards required that all “Attorney II” lawyers have three years of experience, which she had and the white woman did not.

So the Black attorney sued, and retained counsel to handle her case. Her complaint alleged that racial discrimination was the reason that the employer promoted a less-experienced white woman over her.

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It is both sad and strange that people displaying nooses in workplaces still happens. Fortunately for workers in New York City, there are laws at multiple levels that protect you from having to put up with these kinds of hostile conditions on the job. Whether your situation involves a noose, the N-word, or some other form of misconduct, a knowledgeable New York City race discrimination lawyer can help you assess and advance your case.

One of the more recent cases addressing this problem comes from a federal court in Tennessee. T.G., a Black man, worked for the public electric utility in Nashville. Over the years, T.G. allegedly endured nooses in the workplace, racist drawings, comments about bringing back slavery, the need for Black workers to “stay in their place,” and coworkers asking him to teach them to “talk Black.”

The federal court in Nashville refused to throw out T.G.’s hostile work environment claim on summary judgment, deciding that he had presented sufficient evidence to proceed. In reaching that conclusion, the judge pointed out that “the nooses found” on the employer’s property were the “most disturbing pieces of evidence.” The court stated that it “is clear beyond any reasonable debate that a noose is severely physically and mentally threatening for anyone, especially for” Black people.

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Many people in today’s world of work may be employed by one entity, but they may not necessarily work for that entity alone. There may be one or more other entities with the power to exert genuine control over you and the work you do. Working for an employment structure that includes many layers can be tricky, especially if you need to pursue a discrimination, harassment, or retaliation case. These cases can be challenging because, even if you win, your direct employer may lack the financial wherewithal to pay the damages award you recover. To that end, it often makes sense to include a larger entity as your “joint employer.” Successfully pleading these cases can be complex, so you need to make sure you have proper legal representation from a knowledgeable New York City employment retaliation lawyer.

One recent case involved a security guard who worked at various United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments, including the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. A firm hired the guard to work the 2016 U.S. Open, but his supervisor later discovered that the USTA refused to grant the guard credentials because he had previously made a race discrimination claim (that had settled in 2015.)

The guard sought to sue the USTA for race discrimination and retaliation under federal Title VII. He, however, had a substantial problem: a Title VII discrimination or retaliation claim requires an employer-employee relationship, and the guard’s case had not substantiated that such a relationship existed.

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