Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected employment discrimination claims?
As of this writing, the United States is being hit by another spike in cases of COVID-19, affecting every industry and forcing employees into difficult positions. However, none of this is grounds for allowing employers to act unethically, and where true discriminatory action exists, employment discrimination claims have continued to be filed. If you suspect unlawful behavior on the part of your employer, you have the right to report it and to seek fair treatment, regardless of the current conditions in New York.
Filings Are High
Statistics published in the National Law Review indicate approximately a 17 percent decrease in harassment case filings in 2020, but at least some of this drop can be attributable to pandemic-related conditions. For example, fewer employees have been sharing workspace during the pandemic, which obviously mean fewer interactions may occur between them. In addition, this may also have to do with the layoffs that have affected every public industry – employees being laid off are not only not on site to experience discrimination, but also may have to (depending on the industry) waive all possible claims against their employer in order to receive severance.
The statistics also note that New York remains in the top 7 states, as it did in 2019, for total number of cases filed. It does not appear as though infrastructure to make a claim is unavailable, at least in New York, even though courts are short-staffed. The data illuminated 309 employment-related cases directly related to COVID, and of those 309, the majority have either been related to disability claims, alleged wage and hour violations, or discrimination. Thus, the employment discrimination picture in New York has not changed overmuch, but it has been notably affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seek Redress Quickly
The major difference that workers who have allegedly experienced discrimination are seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic is that it is markedly more difficult to deal with their issues in-house, as might be expected in a “normal” time. For example, a former Amazon worker filed a “proposed class-action suit” filed in the Eastern District of New York after he was terminated for “organizing a public demonstration” demanding increased safety protocols after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. In another time, this type of disagreement might have been handled in house, but now, the stakes are simply too high.
If you believe that you have been terminated or experienced negative employment action – for example, being forced to work without sufficient safety protocols – know that you are able to file a claim if you believe that your treatment was due to a protected characteristic, such as race, gender, pregnancy, national origin, or disability, among others. However, the path your claim takes may be slower and require more discussion before a sufficient outcome can be reached, and it is crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights moving forward.
Contact A New York Employment Discrimination Lawyer Today
The COVID-19 pandemic is a time when stability is crucial for the average person, but that stability includes a work situation where your rights are respected. If you have experienced unfair or unlawful treatment because of a protected characteristic, you may be able to seek compensation for the discrimination you have experienced, even at this point in time. A New York City employment discrimination attorney from Mansell Law, LLC is ready to try and assist you with your case. Call us today at 646-921-8900 to schedule a consultation.