With the passing of "Religious Rights" laws in North Carolina, Alabama and potentially Tennessee, recent headlines across the country are dominated with the battle over Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) rights. Specifically, their right for protection against discrimination. Regardless of your beliefs though, here in New York, it is important to understand employees have rights that protect them from all forms of discrimination.
New York outlines those rights in statute. According to the New York State Department of Labor, "Under Federal & New York State laws, discrimination occurs when you are treated differently in a way that causes an adverse impact to you, based on your: race, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin, political, affiliation or belief, genetics, arrest and conviction record, marital status, genetic, predisposition and carrier status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or retaliation."
Discrimination can take many forms. New Yorkers may be denied a promotion or opportunity, denied extra work hours, receive extra unwanted hours or shifts or not receive equal pay or benefits compared with co-workers.
This list of discriminatory behaviors, however, are not exhaustive. Essentially, any action that puts one in a less favorable position than that of a coworker, based on reasons other than job performance, may be considered discrimination.
There are a few ways New Yorkers may proceed when faced with employment discrimination. They may want to first speak to their immediate supervisor or manager, although the superior is often the one causing the discrimination.
New Yorkers may want to then talk to their human resources department in an effort to rectify the situation. If one suspects that may not work, they should file a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the federal U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. Furthermore, a victim of discrimination may also want to speak with a law firm familiar with employment law to help with the process.
Source: Labor.NY.gov, "How to File a Discrimination Claim," accessed on April 12, 2016