What is Employment Discrimination?

Brooklyn Employment Discrimination AttorneysIndividuals are protected by federal and state anti-discrimination laws, where they fall into the “protected class” of persons that the particular laws cover. Protected classes can include those based on an individual’s race, gender, age, disability, marital status, ethnic background, religious practices. They are state laws which protect individuals based on their sexual orientation. In addition, the City of New York has promulgated its own human rights laws, providing workers within the city limits with additional protections against discrimination in the work place.

In evaluating whether you may have a claim, certain factors must be considered:

  • Are you a member of a protected class? For example, if you are claiming age discrimination, are you 40 years of age or older? This is required under Federal Law. However, under New York State Law, you need only have attained the age of 18 to bring a claim for age discrimination. Along the same lines, if you are claiming disability discrimination, are you disabled?
  • The second factor examines whether you were qualified for the position you held with your employer? For example, if your job description required you to be licensed for your job, were you?
  • The third factor looks at whether your employer took an adverse action against you as an employee? Were you fired, demoted or failed to be considered for a job?
  • If you were fired, were you replaced by someone who is not in your “protected class”? In the example of an age discrimination claim, were you replaced by someone substantially younger than you?

Satisfying each of these factors is a prerequisite to making a “prima facie” claim of employment discrimination. However, no single piece of evidence is usually enough to prove discrimination. Moreover, there is no specific amount or type of evidence required to prove a case of discrimination in employment. All cases have facts unique to that case. It will be those facts, which will determine what type and amount of evidence will be necessary to prevail on your claim. Examples of evidence of employment discrimination may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Does your employer have a history of showing bias against persons in your protected class?
  • Are there employees in your protected class who seem to be singled out for adverse treatment or denied opportunities for advancement?
  • Are there statistics that show favoritism toward or bias against any members of a particular protected class?
  • Did your employer retain less qualified, individuals who are not members of a protected class?
  • Have other employees in your protected class complained about discrimination?
  • Did supervisors regularly make rude or derogatory comments directed at your “protected class”?
  • Are members of non-protective classes being treated more favorably?