Discrimination & Harassment

Workplace discrimination and harassment can take many forms – and a tremendous toll on your career. 

Discrimination and harassment can dramatically harm your relationship with the employer, your opportunities for success at your job, and your emotional and physical well-being. For that reason, we take pride in being compassionate legal advocates, who will work with you to evaluate your claims, and identify your unique goals for attaining justice. 

Our attorneys have helped thousands of employees who have suffered from illegal discrimination and harassment. We are well-versed in the federal, state, and local laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that offer varying degrees of protection for employees, as well as the federal and state agencies and courts where claims can be filed, such as the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 


Generally speaking, discrimination means less favorable treatment because of a bias based on age, gender/sex, disability, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Discrimination can take many forms and can negatively affect your hiring, the conditions of your employment, your compensation, and your prospects for promotion. It can even get you fired.

Harassment involves actions by an employer, supervisor, or co-worker that includes unwelcome advances, or conduct that is offensive, intimidating, or abusive enough to change your work environment or affect your performance. Workplace harassment can take many forms, and can dramatically harm your relationship with the employer, your opportunities for success, and your emotional and physical well-being.

Federal, state, and city laws prohibit discrimination and harassment based on age, gender/sex, disability, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. New York State and New York City laws, as well as California law, go one step further and also prohibit discrimination and harassment based on marital status, citizenship, and conviction and arrest records.

If you oppose or complain about discrimination or harassment, whether against yourself or others, within the company or in any agency or court proceeding, you may have made a legally protected complaint. In that case, your employer is legally prohibited from punishing you. Punishment can be blatant, or subtle, and can include being fired or demoted, having your salary reduced, having your shift reassigned, a reduction in benefits or vacation time, and other types of negative employment actions.

Workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation are often subtle. For that reason, successful cases often require evidence that you experienced an illegal act and suffered damages as a result. Examples of evidence include:

  • Emails, texts, hand-written notes, or voice messages containing details of discrimination or retaliation
  • Witnesses who may be willing to substantiate your claim
  • Documentation of complaints or reports made to your employer
  • A log of discriminatory or retaliatory behavior that you witness or experience
  • Pay stubs, W-2s, and other documentation that show your earnings prior to the discrimination or retaliation
  • Documentation of employee benefits, such as medical insurance or a pension plan, that you had prior to the discrimination or retaliation

While state protections vary widely, federal protections against discrimination are uniform across all 50 states. Under federal law, employees are protected against discrimination based on race, color, national origin and citizenship status; religion; sex, pregnancy and childbirth; sexual orientation and gender identity, age, disability and genetic information. Depending on the state in which the discrimination occurs, employees may also be protected against discrimination based on ancestry, marital status, military status, and AIDS/HIV status.

If you believe that a negative employment action was based on association with a protected category, you may want to bring a discrimination claim against your employer. For example, if a female employee believes that she was demoted due to her pregnancy, she may be able to recover damages for any losses suffered. And if the demotion resulted in a reduction in pay, her employer may be required to compensate for lost income, in addition to other damages.

Discrimination is not limited to on-the-job issues. It may occur before employment begins, for example in discriminatory hiring practices or questions, or during the employment relationship, for example through discrimination in compensation, promotions, or other terms and conditions of employment. It can also occur at the end of employment, for example through a discriminatory discharge, or after your employment ends, through acts like a bad reference in retaliation for objecting to discrimination.

If you have been a victim of employment discrimination, harassment or retaliation, you have legal rights. Consulting with a lawyer can help you to ensure that those rights are protected and that you have access to the maximum compensation available. At Outten & Golden LLP, our lawyers will evaluate your case and position you for the most favorable outcome. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.

(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)