Terminated Based on Discriminatory or Retaliatory Reasons?

By Leeds Brown Law | January 15, 2019

Workplace Harassment Based on Discrimination or Retaliation

Federal, state, and city/local laws protect employees in New York from discrimination. These laws also protect individuals who complain about discrimination in the workplace and are met with retaliation, including but not limited to termination.

Were You Fired For Some Discriminatory Reason?

If an employer terminates you based on a discriminatory reason and/or in retaliation for your complaints of discrimination, you may have a legal claim against your employer. Many forms of discrimination in the workplace that targets individuals are unacceptable and unlawful.

Here is a list of the protections offered by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).*

Here is a list of the protections offered by the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”).*

  • Age
  • Creed
  • Race/Color
  • Sex/Sexual Orientation
  • National Origin
  • Marital Status
  • Arrest Record
  • Conviction Record
  • Genetic Information
  • Citizenship Status

Here is a list of the protections offered by the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”).*

  • Age
  • Alienage or citizenship status
  • Race/Color
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity
  • Marital status and partnership status
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion/Creed
  • Sexual orientation
  • Status as a Veteran or Active Military Service Member
  • Arrest or conviction record
  • Caregiver
  • Credit history
  • Unemployment status
  • Salary History
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sex offenses

*Note that some laws offer varying degrees of protections to employees than others.

*Although this provides a list of different protections offered by various agencies, it should in no way be interpreted as the only protections provided by these agencies. Nor does it represent any changes in the law which may occur, from time to time, coverage of these protections.

While it is unlikely that an employer would admit to firing you for a discriminatory reason, it may be apparent by the circumstances surrounding your termination. It is important to ask yourself whether similarly situated employees (those with similar protected characteristics as you) were being treated differently. For example, your employer might choose to promote male employees over female employees, even when the female employees had as much, or even more, experience than the male employees. It is also important to ask yourself whether you are or were being singled out because of one or more of your protected characteristics. For example, a coworker who is younger than you and has less experience than you might get a promotion over you because they are younger. These are examples of possible discrimination in the workplace.

Did Your Employer Fire You With Retaliatory Intent?

It’s also important to know that complaining to your Human Resources department or employer regarding unlawful workplace conduct is considered a “protected activity.” It may be illegal for your employer to retaliate against you based on the fact that you have lodged a complaint of discrimination/retaliation. Examples of retaliation may include demotion, denial of a promotion, or worse – termination. Retaliation based on your complaints of discrimination may be unlawful.

Contact a New York City and Long Island Employment Lawyer Today

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has been successfully protecting victims of workplace discrimination for over 30 years. Employees should be judged solely based on their job performance. When workplace discrimination impedes upon your career, it’s time to take legal action. We’re here to listen to your needs when no one else will. We understand that the thought of challenging your employer may seem daunting. We represent our clients’ interests and work diligently to help them when they need it most. If you feel you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or termination, contact Leeds Brown Law, P.C., today. You can reach us via email or by phone at (212) 433-2403 or (516) 701-2289.

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I hired Lenard Leeds, Esq. to assist me with my wrongful termination. I was let go of my position because of my age. I was not only told to take a decrease in pay but also required to work fewer hours to do the same job. Additionally, they kept asking me “When are you going to retire?” I visited the...


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