Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), § 296 of New York State Executive Law, § 8-107 of New York City Human Rights Law and the New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-12) makes it unlawful for an employer, a supervisor or a manager to discriminate against any person because of that person’s actual or perceived traits. In particular it is unlawful “to subject people to differential treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, nationality, ancestry, age, gender (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, perceived disability, and AIDS and HIV status.” In addition, the laws make it unlawful for an employer, a supervisor or a manager to fire or refuse to hire a person for any of these reasons or to discriminate in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person’s sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII, New York State Executive Law, New York City Human Rights Law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
The law forbids sex based discrimination / gender based discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
It is unlawful to harass any employee person because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
Both victim and the harasser can be from the same gender, (i.e. woman on woman and man on man discrimination).
Race discrimination (also known as discrimination based on color) involves treating someone (an applicant or an employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with a particular race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of the color or complexion of their skin. Discrimination based on race need not be direct action against a worker; it can and does includes racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s race or color, or the display of racially-offensive symbols.
Race/color discrimination can also involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or color. There are also many incidents where the discrimination is inflicted by a person to a worker that is of the same race or color (African-American discriminating against African-Americans).
The law forbids race discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
It is illegal to harass a person because of his or her religion. Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs (actual or perceived). The law protects not only workers who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs as well as those without beliefs (atheist).
Religious discrimination can also involve treating someone differently because that person is married to (or associated with) an individual of a particular religion or religious group.
Religious discrimination can and does include offensive remarks about a employee’s religious beliefs or practices. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. In addition, the discrimination can be from an individual who is of the same faith (a Muslim supervisor discriminating against other Muslims in the company).
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
Pregnancy discrimination can be viewed as a type of gender discrimination (since only women can become pregnant) which involves treating a woman (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) as well as State Laws in New York and New Jersey, forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.
Pregnancy can also be viewed as a type of disability discrimination. If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees.
Additionally, impairments resulting from pregnancy (for example, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a condition characterized by pregnancy-induced hypertension and protein in the urine) may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation (such as leave or modifications that enable an employee to perform her job) for a disability related to pregnancy, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense). The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 makes it much easier to show that a medical condition is a covered disability.
Pregnancy discrimination in employment can be very complex. If you feel that you were discriminated in this regard, the Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys at the Akin Law Group are awaiting your call for a free confidential consultation.
National origin discrimination involves treating people (applicants or employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or a particular part of the world, or because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not, actual and perceived ethnicity is protected).
Examples of National Origin discrimination:
It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her national origin. Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s national origin, accent or ethnicity. In addition, employers cannot place unnecessary rules into effect if it is designed to discriminate against people of a certain national origin. For example, an employer can only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary to perform the job effectively. An “English-only rule”, which requires employees to speak only English on the job, is only allowed if it is needed to ensure the safe or efficient operation of the employer’s business and is put in place for nondiscriminatory reasons. Lastly, an employer may not base an employment decision on an employee’s foreign accent, unless the accent seriously interferes with the employee’s job performance.
National origin discrimination also can involve treating people unfavorably because they are married to (or associated with) a person of a certain national origin. Discrimination can occur even when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same national origin (for example, a Puerto Rican supervisor discriminating against a Puerto Rican worker). In addition, the harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. The law makes it illegal for an employer to use an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of national origin, if it has a negative impact on people of a certain national origin.
Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his or her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 years of age or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states do have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination. The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older. Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.
It is unlawful to harass or discriminate against an employee because of his or her age. Discrimination is not just acts taken against an older employee, it can also include offensive remarks about the employee’s age. Although minor remarks may be insufficient, discrimination is illegal when it is frequent or severe so as to create a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the employee being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee at the company, such as a client or customer.
In addition Age Discrimination can be hidden in the employer’s employment policies and practices. An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees who are 40 years of age or older and not based on a reasonable factor other than age. Age discrimination claims are very complex. If you feel you were discriminated in this regard, you should contact the age discrimination attorneys at the Akin Law Group for a free consultation.
Disability discrimination is well defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as New York and New Jersey state laws. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or a job applicant unfavorably because he/she has a disability. The law forbids disability discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment regarding a worker with a disability (actual or perceived).
Disability discrimination also occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably because he/she has a history of a disability (such as cancer even if it is controlled or in remission) or because /heshe is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he/she does not have such an impairment).
The law also protects people from discrimination based on their relationship with a person that has a disability (even if they do not themselves have a disability). For example, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because the employee’s husband or child has a disability.
The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”). Disability discrimination is very fact specific. As such, if you feel you may have a claim, contact the Akin Law Group for a free consultation.
The Equal Pay Act is a type of discrimination that often involves issues of gender. The law requires that people with different traits be treated equally. For example, men and women (as well as Caucasians and African-Americans or “Americans” and those of a different national origin (like Asians) be given equal pay for performing equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially similar. Job content (the tasks actually performed, not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially similar. All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits. If there is an inequality in wages between workers (for example men and women), employers may not reduce the wages of either sex to equalize their pay.
An individual alleging a violation of the EPA may go directly to court without the need to file claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Equal Pay and Compensation is often seen as a gender / sex discrimination claim since it most often occurs between men and women. In that regard, someone who has an Equal Pay Act claim may also have a claim under Title VII, under the New York City Human Rights Law, the New York State Executive Law and/or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, based upon an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. The law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation or government contract.
Employers may not refuse to accept lawful documentation that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional documentation beyond what is legally required, when verifying employment eligibility (i.e., completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9), based on the employee’s national origin or citizenship status. It is the employee’s choice which of the acceptable Form I-9 documents to show t employment eligibility.
IRCA also prohibits retaliation against individuals for asserting their rights under the Act, or for filing a charge or assisting in an investigation or proceeding under IRCA.
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits genetic information discrimination in employment, took effect on November 21, 2009. Under Title II of GINA, it is illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs – referred to as “covered entities”) from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information.
Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (i.e. family medical history). Family medical history is included in the definition of genetic information because it is often used to determine whether someone has an increased risk of getting a disease, disorder, or condition in the future. Genetic information also includes an individual’s request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or the participation in clinical research that includes genetic services by the individual or a family member of the individual, and the genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or by a pregnant woman who is a family member of the individual and the genetic information of any embryo legally held by the individual or family member using an assisted reproductive technology.
Filing a discrimination lawsuit gives you a legal way to recover monetary losses stemming from unfair and discriminatory treatment at your job/workplace. Discrimination laws are complex. You need the support of an attorney who is knowledgeable in the body of laws regulating this arena.
At the Akin Law Group we have years of experience assisting employees just like you, working in New York and New Jersey. We help victims of employment discrimination and file lawsuits as a result of losses stemming from various forms of discrimination, whether due to race, religion, color, creed, sex/gender, age, disability or pregnancy. Forms of discrimination include:
Another form of discrimination is “disparate impact” — which means an apparently neutral policy or practice impacts certain employees (for example, older workers more than younger workers or women more than men), such as strength or agility tests or requirements. The employer may defend by showing a reasonable business necessity for the policy or practice, whereupon the claimant may have to show that the employer could have used a less discriminatory practice to achieve the same result. In March 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court in Smith v. City of Jackson, Mississippi held that workers can challenge employers’ policies or practices that adversely impact older workers, even when there is no evidence that the employer intended to discriminate against older workers.
You have the right to safety and security in your employment. If you have faced discrimination at your workplace or have been treated unfairly, contact the New York or New Jersey workplace discrimination attorneys at the Akin Law Group immediately at 212-825-1400 for a free consultation and learn your rights or complete the contact form on this page.