Employees in New York and throughout the country are protected from workplace harassment by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits harassment based on a person’s color, national origin and race. It also prevents companies from discrimination based on gender and religion. Other laws ensure that workers aren’t harassed or retaliated against because they are pregnant or because they are disabled. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employment discrimination complaints have increased in recent years.

This is partially because people have a better understanding of their rights. Companies are increasingly holding seminars and other events aimed at helping employees learn more about what constitutes discrimination or harassment and how to prevent it from happening. The rise of social media has made it easier to report harassment or to learn about what others are experiencing in the workplace.

Traditional media outlets such as the New York Times have also made a point to publish stories involving workplace discrimination. In some cases, acts of retaliation occur because an employer simply wants a problem to go away. The company may feel as if intimidating an employee is better than facing a lawsuit. In 2016, 45.9% of workplace discrimination claims made to the EEOC were claims of employer retaliation.

Attorneys who understand employment law for employees may be effective allies for those who feel as if they have been mistreated at work. An attorney may use evidence such a hiring records, pay records or statements from managers to show that a person was discriminated against. If successful, a worker might be entitled to compensation in the form of back pay or other damages. Cases may be resolved in court, and employment law cases might also be settled through informal private talks or arbitration.