Race Discrimination Attorneys in New York City


Race discrimination in the workplace is the negative treatment or harassment of an employee or job applicant based on their race or color. Race is clearly defined as a group of people characterized by their features, such as skin color, hair texture, eye shape, facial features, bone structure, and so on. An employer is not allowed to ever treat you poorly because you are a member of any race, whether it be white/Caucasian, black/African American, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, or any other race. The Derek Smith Law Group has helped victims of race discrimination in New York City for over 25 years receive the compensation they so rightly deserve.

What is Race Discrimination in New York City?

Race discrimination in New York City is when an employer, co-worker, supervisor, or business associate treats an employee or job applicant unfairly or harasses the person because of his or her race. Racial discrimination in the workplace can be based on:

  • Skin color
  • National origin
  • Physical features, such as hair texture, eye shape, facial structure, etc.
  • Clothing
  • Culture
  • Cuisine
  • The people you associate with, such as your spouse, friends, and family

Race discrimination can occur between people of the same race and people of different races. Race discrimination knows no bounds, and anyone can be a victim.

Is Race Discrimination in the Workplace Illegal in New York City?

Race discrimination in the workplace in New York City is illegal by both federal law and New York City law. Federally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that it is illegal for an employer of 15 or more employees to harass or treat an employee unfairly because of race. Race is one of the protected classes under the law, which also includes issues of color, gender, sex, national origin, age, disability, religion, citizenship, military status, and pregnancy.

In addition, the New York City Human Rights Law protects employees of a business of 4 or more employees from unfair treatment or harassment based on race, among other protected classes.

What Evidence is Needed to Prove Race Discrimination in New York City?

Proving racial discrimination in the workplace can consist of several types of evidence, including direct evidence, actions, and policies.

Direct evidence is when the employee or job applicant is told directly or indirectly that he or she did not get the promotion, job, pay raise, or was terminated because of his or her race. This can come in the form of a verbal conversation or written comment or email. Direct evidence also includes racial slurs and derogatory comments aimed at the victim of race discrimination.

Actions or disparate actions are unfair treatment and indirect harassment of an employee or job applicant because of his or her race. For instance, a person who is qualified and still denied a promotion when a less qualified worker of a different race is promoted is facing racial discrimination in the workplace. Issues such as only hiring people of a certain race or never hiring people of a certain race, making racial jokes not aimed at any person, but aimed at a race of people, denying benefits to certain races by never putting them in full-time roles that allow for benefits, and other such actions are disparate actions that can be used as evidence in a race discrimination claim. Retaliation against a person for complaining about racial discrimination can also be used as evidence of racial discrimination.

Finally, company policies can be used as evidence, if they are discriminatory. A company cannot have a policy that blatantly or indirectly works to discriminate against race. For instance, no company policy should discuss what hairstyles are and are not acceptable as a way to discriminate against race.

What Are Some Examples of Race Discrimination in the Workplace?

Race discrimination in the workplace can take on many forms. It can be subtle or can be very blatant. Typically, employers are more aware of blatant race discrimination and try to avoid such actions. Either way, race discrimination is very real and is seen in the workplace more often than expected. Here are some examples of race discrimination in the workplace in New York City:

  • Refusal to hire a job applicant because of race
  • Wrongful termination of an employee because of race
  • Retaliating against an employee who reports racial discrimination or complains about harassment based on racial discrimination
  • Creating a hostile work environment for any one of a different race
  • Failure to give a promotion to a person who is qualified because of race
  • Giving extra work to a person but refuse to give that person a raise because of race
  • Racial slurs in the workplace
  • Consistent derogatory comments based on race
  • Berating a person for poor work while using racial slurs and derogatory racial comments
  • Refusal to put a person on a project because of race
  • Negative treatment to a person married to a person of another race
  • Forcing an employee to change their hairstyle, clothing, or other variable outward appearances that are related to their race and culture
  • Denying use public accommodations to an employee or job applicant because of his or her race
How Long Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Claim for Race Discrimination in New York City?

If you want to file your claim in Federal Court in New York City, you must first file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the date of the last incident of racial discrimination. The EEOC will investigate the claim and, if they find that your federal rights under Title VII have been violated, they will send you a Right to Sue letter. Then, you can file your complaint in the Federal Court and proceed with your case.

You also have the option to file your case in State Court and even municipal court. In New York City you can file your claim with the New York City Commission of Human Rights (CHR). For an investigation to be conducted by the CHR, your claim must be filed within a one-year time limit of the date of the last incident.

New York State also allows you to file a claim with the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR) within one year of the date of the last incident.

In New York, you do not have to file a claim with all three agencies. Instead, New York has a work-sharing agreement. This means your claim can be filed with one agency and you can request that agency file a crossclaim with one or more of the other agencies for workplace race discrimination.

How Long Does a Racial Discrimination Case Take to Close in New York City?

A race discrimination case in New York City can last anywhere from a few months to a year or two. Once you receive the Right to Sue letter, you have 3 months to file the complaint in the state or federal court. From there, you will likely be offered an opportunity to meet your employer outside of court and settle the case. Many times, this offer is not going to be fair and you will likely continue the process until you are given a fair offer, or the case settles in court. Depending on the employer and its attorney, you may be given the opportunity to settle the case out of court. However, sometimes, the case needs to go to trial, which can take anywhere from a year or more.

What Type of Remedies Will the Court Provide for Racial Discrimination?

New York City courts do not like employers that practice racial discrimination. However, you must ask the court for what you want to receive in order to receive any remedies for your claim. The court may offer the following remedies for your claim of race discrimination in the workplace:

  • Reinstatement of employment
  • Removal of the person harassing you or discriminating against you
  • Reimbursement of back pay
  • Payment of future earnings
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Reimbursement of medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages (an award of money from the court meant to punish the employer for his or her actions. This payment is based on the gross profits of the company, the serious nature of the action, and whether the employer has acted this way in the past).
What Can Be Done to Prepare to File a Claim for Racial Discrimination in New York City?

If you are the victim of race discrimination in the workplace, there are several steps you can take to prepare to file a claim that will help your case.

  • If you have not already quit or been fired by your job, do not quit. Quitting your job can hurt your case.
  • If your company has an HR department, file a complaint regarding race discrimination. It may not help your current situation, but it will help your case.
  • If your company has the policy to follow if you are the victim of race discrimination, follow it. Once again, this may not change anything at your company or for your current situation, but it will help your case.
  • Gather evidence. Document everything. Take notes of the incident that occurred, who was involved, when and where it occurred, and any witnesses.
  • Contact a race discrimination attorney immediately.
Contact Our Experienced New York City Race Discrimination Attorneys for a Free Consultation

All employees and job applicants are entitled to work in a place free from race discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, training, benefits, compensation, and other aspects of employment. If you are the victim of workplace race discrimination in New York City, the attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group are ready to help. Contact us at (212) 587-0760 today for your free consultation. We do not collect money until we win your case.

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