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James J. Corbett

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A Comparison of New York City Sexual Harassment Law With Federal and State Laws

Long Island Attorney Knowledgeable in Employment Discrimination Laws

Harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace long have been recognized as not only inappropriate but illegal. Employees placed in situations such as a hostile work environment have recourse under three levels of law. First, the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides a basic layer of protection. New York State law also shields workers affected by discrimination at their jobs. But the most generous law affecting employees’ rights in the workplace is the New York City Human Rights Law. A worker who has experienced discrimination has many more rights under this local law than under its federal and state counterparts.

Filing an employment discrimination lawsuit is a complex process, so it is essential to consult an experienced New York sexual harassment lawyer. James J. Corbett understands the nuances of all three laws that can protect you. He can explain how the additional rights provided by the New York City Human Rights Law may affect your case.

New York City Human Rights Law Provides Broad Protections to Workers

Employees who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace often file a claim under the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, arguing that the severe or pervasive harassment created a hostile work environment. This may be a high standard to meet, depending on the circumstances, whereas the standard provided by the New York City Human Rights Law is more favorable to workers. New York courts have ruled that it covers any incidents of sexual harassment beyond those that a reasonable person in the victim’s situation would find trivial.

Employees in New York City also find the Human Rights Law more favorable than the Federal Civil Rights Act and New York State law because the burden of proof rests on the employer rather than the employee. Whereas a claim under the Federal Civil Rights Act requires the employee to show that the harassment was severe, the New York City Human Rights Law requires the employer to show that the conduct was trivial. That difference may influence workplace policies, for it gives New York City employers greater incentive to prevent or stop discrimination. It also gives employees in a discrimination lawsuit a stronger position during settlement negotiations because it would be less difficult for them to prevail at trial.

The New York City Human Rights Law offers further advantages of which workers in this City should be aware. Employees affected by discrimination at their jobs often hesitate before filing a claim. This hesitation can cost them because discrimination lawsuits have time limits, and a court will dismiss your case if you fail to file it within the required time. Federal, State, and City discrimination laws provide an exception for continuing violations, however. This applies when a claim is based on conduct that started outside the proper time window but continued during it. Once again, the New York City Human Rights Law is more generous to workers than the Federal Civil Rights Act. Whereas the federal provisions on continuing violations apply only to discriminatory harassment claims, the City Human Rights Law applies to continuing violations in all types of discrimination lawsuits, including those involving specific employment decisions.

Employees Affected by Discrimination Should Consult a New York Lawyer

While many employers comply with discrimination laws, others continue to engage in or turn a blind eye to violations. If you have experienced, or are experiencing, sexual harassment or a hostile work environment at your job, you should not hesitate to take action. Discussing your situation with a dedicated Long Island employment discrimination attorney can clarify your options. James J. Corbett assists employees throughout New York City, including Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Contact him to learn more about your rights under laws such as the New York City Human Rights Law. You can call us at (516) 679-9494 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your discrimination claim.