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When a victim of employment discrimination wishes to seek compensation for their losses via a civil lawsuit, he or she must file any claims within the time constraints set forth under the applicable laws. In certain circumstances, however, a plaintiff’s failure to pursue a claim in a timely manner may be excused, such as when the plaintiff is suffering from a medical condition. Different standards apply in state and federal claims for tolling the statute of limitations due to an illness, though, and a plaintiff that relies on an incorrect standard may waive the right to recover damages, as demonstrated in a recent New York case. If you were harmed due to employment discrimination in New York, it is critical to retain an experienced New York employment discrimination attorney to assist you in pursuing damages.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a doctor at the defendant hospital. She filed a lawsuit in federal court against the defendant, setting forth numerous claims, including disability discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the employment discrimination claims, arguing the claims were barred by the statute of limitations.

Allegedly, the plaintiff argued that she was entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations due to health issues that prevented her from filing the complaint in a timely manner. The court granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s state employment discrimination claims. The plaintiff filed a Rule 59(e) motion for reconsideration, arguing that the trial court erred in ruling the statute of limitations should not be tolled.

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When an employee is subject to discrimination in the workplace, it is often actionable under state and federal law. Additionally, if the party engaging in the discriminatory activity is a public employer, it may be considered a violation of the employee’s civil rights. In a recent New York case in which the plaintiff alleged claims of sex discrimination and hostile work environment, the court discussed what a plaintiff alleging civil rights violations in the workplace must prove to recover damages. If you work for a public employer in New York and are subject to discrimination in the workplace, it is advisable to contact a trusted New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff worked for defendant County as a corrections officer. In 2011 the plaintiff took an examination for promotion. Individuals who took the exam were ranked according to score, and those with the highest scores were promoted when positions became available. The scores were valid for four years, but during the four-year period, twenty men and no women received promotions. Thus, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging sex discrimination and a hostile work environment created by the preferential treatment of women who were in relationships with male officers, which created a de facto policy of discrimination for which the County should be held liable. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Sex Discrimination in Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment

A public employee subject to sex discrimination in violation of his or her Fourteenth Amendment rights can pursue claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against his or her employer, which essentially alleges that his or her civil rights were violated under the color of law. Under § 1983, a municipality will only be held liable if the plaintiff’s rights were deprived because of government policy, custom, or usage of the municipality. Municipal liability may be established not only by showing a formal policy but also through a final decision made by a policymaker or where a widespread practice is so settled and permanent that it becomes policy with the force of law. Isolated acts of a non-policymaking person can be grounds for liability as well, if it was done pursuant to municipal policy or if the acts were so widespread, they constituted a policy or custom.

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While typically, the identity of a plaintiff in a lawsuit is known by the defendant in some cases, the court will allow the plaintiff to proceed anonymously, to protect the plaintiff’s rights. For example, plaintiffs are often permitted to proceed anonymously in cases in which there are privacy concerns, but a plaintiff seeking to file a lawsuit anonymously faces a high burden. This was discussed in a recent hostile work environment case in which the court found that the plaintiff failed to establish that she should be permitted to proceed anonymously. If you work in New York and are the victim of a hostile work environment, it is prudent to speak with a seasoned  New York hostile work environment attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who describes herself as a respected entrepreneur in New York and a participant in many non-profit activities, worked for the defendant, a successful investment banker from 2016 through 2018. During her employment, the plaintiff was subject to sexual advances from the defendant, and sexual assault, which created a hostile work environment. Thus, the plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant, alleging hostile work environment, discrimination, wage violations, and retaliation, and asked the court that she be permitted to proceed anonymously. The defendant did not respond to the motion, but upon review, the court ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s anonymity was not warranted.

Factors Weighed in Determining if a Plaintiff Can Proceed Anonymously

Generally, pursuant to the federal rules of civil procedure, the caption of a lawsuit must name all of the parties, and the use of pseudonyms runs afoul of the public’s right to access to judicial proceedings. Thus, if a plaintiff seeks to proceed anonymously, the court must weigh several factors to determine whether the plaintiff’s privacy concerns outweigh the public policy considerations in favor of open proceedings.

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Similar to protections against double jeopardy, civil law provides defendants protections against having to defend against the same claims more than once. For example, a plaintiff alleging sexual harassment claims against a defendant only has one chance to recover damages under such claims and cannot pursue the claims against the defendant in a different forum following the resolution of the initial claims. This was recently discussed by a federal court in New York, in a case in which the plaintiff filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the defendant following the dismissal of her claims in state court. If you live or work in New York and were subjected to sexual harassment at work, it is critical to retain a New York sexual harassment attorney who will fight to help you recover damages.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was employed by the defendant school district as a teaching assistant. She stated that during the course of her employment, she was sexually harassed by a co-worker, but when she reported the harassment, the defendant terminated her, rather than address the behavior of her co-worker.  She subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against the defendant asserting numerous claims, including claims that her co-worker engaged in sexual harassment, which created a hostile work environment, and a claim that she was subject to retaliation for engaging in whistleblower activities by reporting the harassment. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that res judicata precluded the plaintiff from pursuing claims for sexual harassment and retaliation.

Res Judicata Under New York Law

Under New York law, the doctrine of res judicata precludes a party from litigation in a subsequent action any issues that were actually litigated or could have been litigated in a prior action arising out of the same claims. In other words, a prior decision issued on the merits of a case is binding on all subsequent litigation arising between the parties arising out of the same facts, even if the subsequent action sets forth new theories or seeks different relief, as long as the claims in the second action were or could have been asserted in the first action.

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State and federal wage laws protect many employees from unjust wage practices. For example, employers must pay certain employees overtime for any hours worked in excess of forty hours per week, unless the employees fall under an exemption. While in some cases, it is clear that a plaintiff seeking overtime wages falls under an exemption, in other instances, it is disputed. This was evidenced in a recent case in which a New York appellate court was called upon to rule on whether an assistant basketball coach fell under the federal wage law exemptions. If you believe your employer unjustly denied you overtime, it is in your best interest to consult a New York wage and hour attorney to discuss your rights.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked as the coach of the women’s basketball team for the defendant community college, and as the assistant to the associate dean of physical education and athletics. The plaintiff typically worked thirty-five hours per week as the assistant to the associate dean, and during the basketball season spent thirty-five hours per week coaching as well. As the coach, he was also tasked with recruiting players and overseeing all practices and games. The plaintiff began working in both positions in 2010 but did not receive any overtime pay until 2018, during which he received overtime wages meant to compensate for overtime worked in 2017.

Reportedly, in February 2018, it was alleged that the plaintiff made a loan to a student that violated NCAA rules. The plaintiff was ultimately terminated, after which he filed a lawsuit against the defendant setting forth various claims, including claims that the defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing, in part, that the plaintiff fell under the FLSA overtime exemptions.

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In any employment discrimination case, the plaintiff must establish a nexus between his or her membership in a protected class, and the adverse employment action suffered by the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered discrimination due to his or her race, age, gender, or another protected class, and if a plaintiff fails to do so, his or her claim may be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the court dismissed the religious discrimination claims of a plaintiff who was not represented by an attorney. If you were discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of your religion, it is advisable to speak with a capable New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover compensation.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, his former employers, alleging several claims, including employment discrimination on the basis of religion. The plaintiff filed his lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Upon review, the court granted the motion.

Sufficient Allegations to Withstand a Motion to Dismiss

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for an employer to fire, refuse to promote or to discriminate against an employee in any fashion due to the employee’s religion. The court explained that to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint alleging religious discrimination must set forth adequate facts that, if accepted as true, establish a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.

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Under both State and Federal law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees due to age. Specifically, the Age Discrimination of Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects employees over the age of 40 from discrimination in the workplace. Recently, the United States Supreme Court clarified the parameters for federal employees to pursue or recover under an age-discrimination claim under the ADEA. If you are a federal employee who was subject to age discrimination in the workplace, it is prudent to meet with a skillful New York employment discrimination attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the federal government as a pharmacist practicing disease state management, which was an advanced scope designation. In 2010, the defendant began an initiative to promote pharmacists who practiced disease state management.  In 2013, however, the plaintiff’s advanced scope designation was taken away, and while she received a new position, her holiday pay was reduced. She was also denied additional training and passed over for promotions. She subsequently filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging, in part, discrimination based on age.

It is reported that the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. The plaintiff then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, and the Court agreed to hear the case to decide the discrete issue of whether the ADEA’s federal-sector provision requires a plaintiff to prove that his or her age was the “but for” cause of the defendant’s allegedly discriminatory actions.

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Although sexual orientation is not explicitly listed as a class protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), people who suffer discrimination in the workplace due to their sexual orientation can pursue claims against their employers for violating Title VII. As with any discrimination claim, however, it is essential for a plaintiff seeking damages for discrimination based on sexual orientation to comply with statutory deadlines, otherwise he or she may run the risk of waiving the right to recover damages. In a recent case, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed when a failure to file an employment discrimination lawsuit within the proscribed time period may be excused. If you suffered discrimination at work due to your sexual orientation, it is advisable to contact a seasoned New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case.

Factual History

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who self-identifies as a gay man, worked for the defendant as a social worker. He alleged that he was subject to discrimination and retaliation and was ultimately terminated due to his sexual orientation. As such, he filed discrimination charges with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, after which he received a right to sue letter, which stated he had 90 days to file a lawsuit. After receipt of the letter, he attempted to find an attorney for a few weeks but did not secure representation. He then began suffering anxiety and depression over his inability to retain an attorney, which rendered him unable to focus on the task.

It is reported that prior to the end of the 90-day period, the defendant was stabbed by his roommate. He was hospitalized for two weeks after the stabbing, and the 90-day period ran during his hospitalization. He ultimately engaged an attorney and filed his lawsuit 21 days after the 90-day period ran. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to F.R.C.P.12(b)(6), arguing that the plaintiff’s complaint was untimely.

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There are myriad behaviors that fall under the umbrella of gender discrimination. For example, a person’s employment may suffer due to his or her gender by way of a demotion or denial of a promotion. In other instances, derogatory comments or threatening behavior based on a person’s gender may create a hostile work environment. Although in some cases, a person may be subject to gender discrimination and may experience a hostile work environment, individual acts of discrimination do not necessarily equate to a hostile work environment, as demonstrated in a recent case decided by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If you suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your gender, it is wise to speak with an experienced New York employment discrimination attorney regarding your potential claims.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant for 34 years. At one point, she held the position of a supervisor of customer services, but her position was modified due to the fact that there were not enough employees to warrant a supervisor. She was advised, however, that if the position were reinstated, she would be restored to that position. Subsequently, in 2015 the plaintiff applied for the position of supervisor of customer services. No interviews were conducted for the position, which was given to a man who never applied for the position. The man then left the position, and the plaintiff once again applied for the position.

It is reported that the plaintiff’s supervisor gave the position to someone outside of the protected class a second time, after which the plaintiff filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After the plaintiff filed the EEOC complaint, she allegedly experienced a hostile work environment. Ultimately, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging claims of discrimination and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss the hostile work environment claims.

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There are numerous classes that are protected from discrimination under both state and federal law. Moreover, in addition to prohibiting discrimination, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for reporting discriminatory behavior. Similar to other employment discrimination claims, though, a plaintiff alleging retaliation must meet a high standard to prove the employer’s acts were the result of retaliation and not another non-discriminatory purpose. Recently, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York explained the elements of a retaliation claim, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged disability and gender discrimination claims. If you experienced workplace discrimination or retaliation for reporting discrimination, it is advisable to speak with a New York employment discrimination attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a part-time teaching assistant. She suffered from Hashimoto’s disease and advised her employer that she had the disease on numerous occasions. She testified the disease often causes muscle pain, exhaustion, and back and neck pain. The plaintiff reported to her supervisor that she felt uncomfortable with two of the students she was assigned to work with, due to the fact that one of them sent her notes of a sexual nature and because they both made inappropriate comments towards her. She was advised to avoid being around them and to limit her interactions with them.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was ultimately advised that the students’ behavior was addressed with the students and that she would be re-assigned to a new classroom. She became upset and resisted the transfer, suggesting she was not actually uncomfortable with their interactions. She became extremely upset and was advised not to return to the classroom, but did regardless. Later that day, her supervisor stated he was concerned that she was not maintaining appropriate boundaries and was undermining the social workers and failing to manage her classroom. The decision was made to terminate her employment, after which she provided the defendant with a note stating she was taking medical leave. She was terminated one day later. She filed a lawsuit alleging several claims against the defendant, including retaliation. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court granted the defendant’s motion.

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