Identifying Sex And Gender Identity Discrimination In New York’s Workplaces
New York has been a leader in protecting its employees, both public and private, from all forms of discrimination. One of the most pernicious forms is bias on the basis of sex, and indirectly, gender identity, which occurs when an employee is treated differently on the basis of sex or gender identity at any point in the employment process. However, it can be difficult for you as an employee to spot this type of behavior. Consulting an experienced attorney may help to clear up any lingering questions.
Many employees choose not to report behavior that is harassing or discriminatory because they do not believe it rises to a serious enough level, or because of some other characteristic – for example, they may believe that harassment must come from a superior in order to be actionable, or that it must come from a coworker of the opposite sex. In reality, none of these statements are accurate.
Sexual harassment may also fall under the umbrella of sex or gender identity-related discrimination, and in New York, the standard of review for sexual harassment claims is quite low. In many other states, and under federal law, the harassment must be “severe or pervasive” in order for it to be severe enough to file a complaint over; in New York, that standard has been abolished for these cases. This means that as long as the alleged harassment was not mere “petty slights or inconveniences,” you may take the case to your superiors.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of discrimination based on sex or gender identity, you can allege at least one of three main types of workplace harassment in your complaint. One is the creation of a hostile work environment (where the harassment directly affects your ability to do your job), while the others are disparate impact or treatment, and the infamous quid pro quo. Disparate impact or treatment occurs when a policy treats different groups of employees differently, while quid pro quo harassment is fairly self-explanatory, particularly in cases of sexual harassment.
Once you have decided to seek redress, it may be in your best interests to file an initial complaint with your superiors or your Human Resources department, depending on your situation. However, if not, or if the situation is not resolved, you have the right to file a charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (assuming your employer has at least 15 employees), or with the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR). If you live or work in New York City, you may also file with the city’s Commission on Human Rights. Each case is different, so consulting an attorney may help you discover what works for you.
Contact A New York Sex Discrimination Attorney
It can be easy to simply assume the best of people, to convince yourself not to bother making a discrimination complaint. But you have the right to a workplace free of harassment, and if you have questions or concerns about your situation, calling a New York City employment to get them managed. Contact our office today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.