Anti-discrimination law in new york

New York has several human rights laws which protect employees for unlawful discrimination. On a federal level, these is also a lot of legalities in place to protect employees from discriminating against their existing or potential employees. These legal issues arise when someone is mistreated due to their sex, religion, race, color and the such.

Discrimination laws protect employees from retaliation that has a negative impact on employment such as layoffs, hiring, dismissal, demotions and promotions, wages, benefits and training. Discrimination is not permitted under many federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination toward an employee or potential employee based on sex, religion, country of origin, race or color. This is in addition to the New York Human Rights Law.

Given that it can be difficult to prove direct discrimination, federal and state workplace discrimination laws allows for disparate impact discrimination, giving employees an opportunity to demonstrate an employer’s inadvertent discrimination. What this means is that, while an employer policy may appear unbiased initially, it may in actuality have an unfair outcome towards a particular employee or group of employees. For example, workplace attire policies may have a disparate impact, due to religious beliefs and practices wearing or not wearing certain articles of clothing may be an issue. In such a case, an argument could be made based on the disparate impact of the employer policy.

The preliminary responsibility in disparate impact cases is on the employee to demonstrate an seemingly unbiased employer practice or policy that has had a significantly harmful effect on people classified in a protected category. The employer then has the opportunity to dispute the charge, and prove that the practice or policy in question is in line with typical business policy. If the employer is able to show the policy was a business necessity, the employee is then responsible for showing how the employer could have adjusted the policy to reduce discriminatory effect.

The workplace anti-discrimination laws in New York provide stronger protections across several circumstances for employees, often more so than federal laws do. Additionally the New York Human Rights law offers protection on behalf of a wider range of groups, such as protecting employees based on race, age, color, pregnancy, marital status, citizenship, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, police record, unemployment, credit history, care giver and victims of domestic abuse. Moreover, compensation and damages are not limited and apply to all employees.


Make sure your rights are protected, whether you are thinking of filing or have already filed a charge or lawsuit, your employer will have legal counsel – so should you. As an employee, or as an applicant, you should never feel like you are being discriminated against based on your religion, citizenship, race, sex or color of your skin. Unfortunately, it happens whether we like it or not. Anti-discrimination laws are in place to keep you protected against such unbiased action. Hiring a lawyer experienced in various types of discrimination, for instance sexual harassment, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, race discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, age discrimination and or religious discrimination, is important.

The legal team at Cohen & Mizrahi LLP is experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to guide you through the process. Contact us today.


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