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Articles Posted in Retaliation

Numerous laws protect employees from discriminatory practices in the workplace; as such, an employee that is the victim of discrimination can report the unlawful practices in hopes of resolving the issue without legal intervention. In some instances, however, reporting illegal activity can worsen the situation and ultimately result in adverse employment actions against the victim, which may be grounds for a retaliation lawsuit. In a recent employment discrimination case, a New York court assessed what a plaintiff must plead to set forth a valid retaliation claim. If your employer treated you differently after you reported discrimination or harassment, you may be able to pursue claims against your employer and should speak to a dedicated New York employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a firefighter for the defendant city. He alleges that throughout the duration of his employment, he was treated adversely due to his race, sexual orientation, and religion. He filed a complaint with the EEOC in the spring of 2015, after which he alleged the defendant struck back against him by placing him on light duty. He subsequently filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the defendant, alleging numerous causes of action, including retaliation. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted.

Allegations Sufficient to Sustain a Retaliation Claim

Pursuant to the New York State Human Rights Law and Title VII, a plaintiff alleging retaliation must set forth plausible allegations that he or she participated in an activity that is protected under the law and that the defendant knew of the protected acts. The plaintiff must also show that he or she suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination or a reduction in pay or duties, and that the protected activity and the adverse action are causally related.

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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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