If you’ve suffered discrimination at work, it is important to recognize that bringing a lawsuit that will end in success involves much more than just understanding the factual aspects of what happened. There are also tactical and procedural litigation strategies that can help maximize your odds of success. That’s why a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer is so important to your case. Your lawyer can take the facts you provide and then generate a winning plan.
A recent national origin and age discrimination case involving an NYPD detective shows ways in which this can be true. A.P., who was born in Russia in 1967, was a detective and a member of the Executive Protection Unit (EPU) charged with protecting the mayor.
During A.P.’s nearly three years with the EPU, 26 of the roughly 30 detectives with the EPU received promotions, but A.P. was not one of those detectives promoted. According to the detective, a “significant number” of the 26 promoted detectives were individuals with fewer years of service and were less qualified than him. Most allegedly were younger than him. Additionally, all were non-Russian.
Eventually, the detective decided to raise the issue of his promotion or, more precisely, his lack thereof. Shortly thereafter, and allegedly in response to the complaint, A.P. was reassigned to a role guarding the gates of City Hall. This was a job that required him to wear a uniform. That was problematic because “being ordered to wear a uniform is considered degrading and humiliating to police detectives,” according to the detective’s lawsuit.
One of the essential elements of any successful discrimination case is proof that you suffered an adverse employment action. This action can take many forms, including firing or constructive termination, demotion, suspension, written reprimand, reduced hours, reduced pay, reduced benefits, or reassignment to a less prestigious or less respected role.
Additionally, you are not limited to asserting just one adverse employment action in your lawsuit. As an example, if you believe you were suspended and then had your hours cut due to discriminatory reasons, you can use both of those in your case. Using multiple adverse employment actions may be advantageous as, even if the court finds that you lacked enough evidence to back up one adverse action, you can still succeed if the court finds sufficient proof of another adverse action.
State and City Laws’ Standards for Discrimination Lawsuits Are Different
If you potentially have claims under multiple statutes, it is often a huge benefit to assert both claims. That is something that can often come into play if you are a New York City worker who suffers discrimination on the job. In that scenario, you may be able to launch claims under both the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).
Using both of these laws is important because the standards these two laws erect are different. That means that, even if your evidence isn’t enough to succeed under the NYSHRL, you could still have a winning case under the NYCHRL.
A.P., for example, asserted claims under both laws, and that proved to be a wise choice. His reassignment to uniformed guard duty, in the absence of a reduction in pay, was something that did not rise to the level of an actionable adverse employment action under the NYSHRL. However, the allegedly degrading and harmful reassignment did qualify as an actionable “disadvantageous action” under the NYCHRL.
One additional lesson that A.P.’s appellate case highlights is that, even if you don’t immediately know all of the exact details you’ll need to succeed, don’t let that intimidate or discourage you. Not everything you’ll eventually need in your case is something you have to know and disclose in your initial showing. The law allows you to present an initial showing and then get additional details later. In A.P.’s discrimination claims, for example, he asserted “that two non-Russian, younger, and less qualified detectives… were promoted ahead of him.” While his initial complaint did not identify the precise ages of the two younger detectives, he could still proceed. The detective “amply met his pleading burden by naming as a comparator a specific individual whose details can be particularly verified during discovery,” according to the appeals court.
If you’ve suffered age discrimination on the job, or have incurred harm because you spoke up against age discrimination at work, there are options out there for you. Reach out to the experienced New York age discrimination attorneys at Phillips and Associates to find out what path forward makes the most sense for you. Contact us online or at (212) 248-7431 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.