Color Discrimination Attorneys New York City
Color discrimination in New York is when an employer, co-worker, supervisor, or anyone working with a company discriminates against an employee or job applicant based on his or her skin color. This can be anything from wrongful termination, refusal to hire, retaliation, demotion, refusal to promote, denial of assignments, creating a hostile work environment, or any other form of harassment or unfair treatment. The law prohibits employers and those associated with a company to treat any employee or job applicant in this manner because of his or her skin color. For over 25 years, the Derek Smith Law Group in New York has helped employees who have experienced color discrimination in the workplace receive compensation and justice for these unlawful and immoral acts.
Color discrimination relates to the color of a person’s skin. A person of one race can have several different skin colors and/or shades. Color discrimination in the workplace is when anyone associated with a company (employer, supervisor, co-worker, vendor, client, trainer, etc.) treats an employee or job applicant unfairly because of the color of his or her skin. The following issues may fall under color discrimination:
- Hostile work environment
- Wrongful termination
- Refusal to hire
- Refusal to promote
- Unfair salary issues
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, color is one of the protected classes in the workplace. Being a member of a protected class means that you cannot be discriminated against in the workplace because of that classification. Federally, this law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on the mere color of his or her skin if the person works for a company of 15 or more employees.
New York State law also discusses color as a protected class under the New York State Human Rights Law. Under this law, it is illegal to discriminate against any employee of a firm of 4 or more people on the basis of color, as well as other protected classifications.
In addition, the New York City Commission of Human Rights makes it illegal for employers of four or more employees and labor organizations to participate in any adverse employment actions or harass employees based on the color of their skin as well.
In order to have a case for workplace color discrimination, you must have evidence that the incident occurred. Evidence can come in many different forms. First, you can have what is known as direct evidence. Direct evidence is when the victim is directly told or sees an email that states that he or she was treated unfairly because of the color of his or her skin. It can also include issues like being told by a client that he or she will not work with the employee because of his or her skin color. Any direct, firsthand knowledge of color discrimination will fit into this category.
The second type of evidence is inferred or assumed based on the actions and culture of the company. This is called disparate evidence. For disparate evidence, the employee does not have to hear the reason firsthand. However, it can be inferred that the victim would not have experienced unfair treatment if not for his or her skin color. For instance, a company that seems to only put light-skinned employees on certain accounts and denied the dark-skin employee the opportunity to work on that account is committing color discrimination in the workplace because it is inferred that this is the company culture and the employee was denied the assignment due to his skin color.
Finally, evidence can exist in the policies and procedures for a company. If a written or inferred policy or procedure exists that is by nature discriminatory, the policy or procedure can be used in court as evidence of color discrimination.
There are many ways in which color discrimination in the workplace in New York can rear its ugly head. Here are some examples of what can constitute as unfair treatment or harassment when dealing with color discrimination:
- Constant jokes or comments regarding skin color
- A culture of only hiring people of a certain skin color or tone
- Terminating an employee because of his or her skin color
- Retaliation against an employer who reported color discrimination to HR
- Stating a particular client will not want to work with an employee because he or she prefers to work only with people of specific skin colors
- Not promoting an employee due to skin color
- Scolding or punishing an employee based on skin color
- Denying a raise to an employee who is doing the extra work due to skin color
- Making stereotypical comments regarding people with certain skin colors
These are just some of the examples of adverse actions or harassment that relate directly to the color of your skin in the workplace. The Derek Smith Law Group can help you determine if you have been victimized because of your skin color and help you get the justice you deserve.
The statute of limitations to file your lawsuit for color discrimination in the workplace depends on the details of your case. If you have 15 or more employees in your workplace, you can file your claim in federal court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To begin this process, you must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You will have 300 days to file your claim. The EEOC will investigate your claim and send you a Right to Sue letter. Once you receive that letter, you have 90 days to file your complaint in Federal Court.
Alternatively, if you work for an employer with 4 to 15 employees, you may be better suited to filing a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights. The time limit to do so is within 1 year of the date of the incident, or you can choose to file your complaint in the state court without filing a claim first. This must be done within 3 years of the date of the incident. Unlike federal procedures, New York State courts will not allow you to file with the NYS Division of Human Rights and the State Court. If you file with the NYS Division of Human Rights, the investigation will result in either a dismissal or the case will be transferred to an administrative hearing. The experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group will help you determine which course of action is best suited for you and your case.
Damages are determined on a case by case basis. Some of the remedies the court will provide include:
- Back pay for work missed
- Future Salary
- Reinstatement of employment
- Attorney’s fees
- Benefit Reimbursement
- Firing or moving of person responsible for discriminatory behavior
- Reviewing and revamping discriminatory policies and procedures
- Money for expenses incurred, such as medical expenses, fees incurred from late payments of bills, etc.
- Money for pain and suffering
- Punitive damages. This is the piece where the larger settlements come into play. Punitive damages are meant to punish the employer for the poor choices which resulted in the lawsuit in the first place. This number is usually determined by the gross profits of the employer, the nature of the action, and whether the employer has done this type of action in the past.
Each lawsuit settles on its own terms. That being said, certain factors can help a lawsuit settle on a quicker timeline than others. If you have a solid case with reliable evidence, your case may settle quickly. The average timeline for color discrimination lawsuits to settle in New York is between 4 to 6 months and 1 to 2 years. This depends on whether your employer is willing to settle the case or wants to go to trial and how much time he or she takes to file responses, answers, and additional questions with the court.
Starting immediately, there are several things you can do that will only help your case in the long run:
- If you are still working, do not quit your job. This will hurt your case.
- Gather evidence. Document everything and every incident that occurs. Include who was involved, what happened, and when it happened.
- If your company has an HR department, report your claim of workplace color discrimination.
- If your company has policies and procedures to help manage these types of claims, follow them immediately. It will help your case that you did.
- Contact a color discrimination attorney immediately.
If you an employee or job applicant and have been unlawfully discriminated against at work due to your race or color, call our color discrimination lawyers at (212) 587-0760 for a free consultation or fill out our free form today. We do not charge until we help you win your case!
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle:
- Race Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination New York City
- Pregnancy Discrimination New York City
- Gender or Sex Discrimination New York City
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination