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Identifying Discrimination in the Workplace: Signs, Solutions, and Legal Remedies

job discrimination

New York is known for its worker-friendly laws and regulations and is considered one of the best states to work in. Still, the problem of workplace discrimination persists in many organizations and continues to perpetuate systemic inequalities. As a result, countless individuals are denied opportunities for no fault of their own.

At Levine & Blit, we firmly believe that every employee deserves to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. If you’re facing discrimination or harassment at work, we can protect your rights, hold your employer accountable for their discriminatory employment practices, and make sure you receive the benefits and damages you are entitled to.

Call us today at 646-461-6838 to schedule a free evaluation with one of our New York employment law attorneys.

👉Also Read: Navigating The Legal Maze: How Employment Law Offices Tackle Employee Discrimination Cases Head-on

Understanding Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination – also referred to as job discrimination or employment discrimination – refers to the unequal or unfair treatment of employees or job applicants based on characteristics protected by law. These characteristics include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, and more.

Discrimination in workplace can take many forms including:

Direct Discrimination

It occurs when an employer treats an employee less favorably because of a protected characteristic. For example, refusing to hire a job applicant because of their race or ethnicity can be considered direct discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination

It occurs when an employer institutes a policy or practice that appears neutral, but disproportionately disadvantages employees belonging to certain protected characteristics. For example, requiring a job applicant to have a college degree for a position that does not require one might disproportionately affect individuals from certain racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.


It involves unwelcome conduct targeted at employees belonging to certain protected characteristics. It might include making jokes or comments related to race, gender, or sexual orientation. It can also include sexual harassment which involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.


It occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee or punishes them through other means for engaging in protected activity like filing a discrimination complaint, assisting with an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices.

Workplace discrimination is illegal under various federal, state, and local laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Equal Pay Act, New York State Human Rights Law, and New York City Human Rights Law.

How to Recognize Signs of Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace?

Recognizing the signs of discrimination and harassment in the workplace requires awareness, observation, and an understanding of the various forms discrimination can take. Here are some common signs that might indicate that you are being discriminated against at work.

Unequal Treatment: Pay attention to how you are treated compared to your coworkers. If you’re consistently treated differently in areas like job assignments, promotions, or training opportunities due to your race, gender, age, disability, religion, or other protected characteristics, it might constitute discrimination.

Hostile Behaviors: Be aware of any behaviors or actions that could create a hostile or intimidating environment for you. This could include offensive jokes, comments, gestures, or exclusionary practices targeting you because of your race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected traits.

Pattern of Retaliation: If you speak out against discrimination or participate in investigations, pay attention to whether you face retaliation. Retaliation can take various forms including denying opportunities for advancement, taking disciplinary action against you for minor infractions that are otherwise tolerated, giving negative performance reviews, and more.

Disproportionate Impact: Look for policies or practices that disproportionately affect you and others with similar characteristics. For example, requiring a strength test for a position that does not require physical strength might disproportionately affect female employees and can be considered sex discrimination.

Feeling Isolated or Excluded: If you’re constantly left out of meetings, important discussions, and social events due to your protected characteristics, it might constitute discrimination.

Unwanted Advances or Comments: Pay attention to any unwanted advances, comments, or gestures of a sexual nature. It’s crucial to note that workplace sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be between members of the opposite sex or gender. It can also be between members of the same sex or gender. Same-sex harassment is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as New York State Human Rights Law.

Denial of Accommodations: If you have a physical or mental impairment, your employer is required to provide you with reasonable accommodation that would allow you to perform your job effectively, except in cases where doing so would cause undue hardship. If you’re denied disability-related accommodations without a valid reason, it might constitute disability discrimination.

Pay Disparities: Be aware of any disparities in pay or benefits compared to your coworkers who perform similar work. Unequal pay based on protected characteristics is prohibited under federal, state, and local law.

How Our New York Employment Law Attorneys Can Help You Fight Workplace Discrimination and Harassment

Comprehensive Evaluation: We can conduct a thorough evaluation of your case, review the details of the discrimination or harassment you have experienced, and determine whether you have a valid claim against your employer.

Negotiation: We can draft and send a demand letter outlining the discrimination and harassment you are subjected to, the legal basis of your claim, and the specific actions that your employer should take to remedy the situation. Once your employer responds, we can negotiate with them to get the monetary damages and benefits you deserve.

Filing an Administrative Complaint: We can assist you in filing a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights or the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We can make sure your complaint is properly documented and submitted promptly.

Legal Action: If the discrimination or harassment persists, we can help you file a lawsuit against your employer in state or federal court. We can handle all aspects of the litigation process – from drafting and filing legal documents to presenting evidence and arguments in court.

Injunctive Relief: In addition to monetary damages, we can seek injunctive relief to stop ongoing discrimination or harassment. This might involve obtaining a court order requiring your employer to change their policies or practices to prevent future violations.

Retaliation Protection: We can also make sure that you are protected against retaliation for exercising your rights under federal and state anti-discrimination laws. If your employer retaliates against you in any way, we will take swift action to hold them accountable and seek appropriate remedies.

Damages Our New York Workplace Discrimination Lawyers Can Recover For You

The monetary damages and remedies we can recover for you include:

  • Back pay (wages and benefits you would have earned if you had not been subjected to discrimination or harassment)
  • Reinstatement to your former position or promotion to the position you were unfairly denied
  • Front pay (if reinstatement is not feasible, we can seek front pay to compensate you for future lost earnings and benefits resulting from the discrimination)
  • Compensatory damages (compensation for the pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other intangible losses caused by the discrimination)
  • Punitive damages (if your employer’s behavior was egregious or malicious, we can seek punitive damages to punish them and deter similar conduct in the future)
  • Injunctive relief to stop ongoing discrimination or harassment

👉Also Read: Direct And Indirect Discrimination: Legal Experts Lead The Charge Against Inequality

Take Action against Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. Consult Our Experienced New York Employment Law Attorneys Today!

Workplace discrimination and harassment can not only affect your career, but also take a heavy toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing. If you’re facing discrimination or harassment at work, don’t suffer in silence. The seasoned employment lawyers at Levine & Blit are ready to help you.

With a deep understanding of federal and New York anti-discriminatory laws and a passion for justice, our employment lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights and interests. We have decades of experience in handling a wide range of discrimination claims – ranging from race discrimination to national origin discrimination, age discrimination, sex or gender discrimination, disability discrimination, and many more.

We know what kind of challenges and complexities are involved in these claims and we have the expertise and resources to handle them. Over the years, we have represented countless employees from various industries and helped them obtain the justice and compensatory benefits they deserve.

Call us today at 646-461-6838 or contact us online to schedule a free evaluation with a top-rated New York employment discrimination lawyer at our firm.

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