Workplace Racial Discrimination in New York

As we’ve previously outlined in this space, New York State has some of the nation’s strongest protections against workplace racial discrimination and harassment. New York law protects employees from racial discrimination in the workplace that leads to things like:

  • Pay inequity
  • Failure to promote
  • Unfavorable treatment from managers, coworkers, or vendors
  • Hiring or firing decisions

It is also essential to note that, should an employee complain about racial discrimination on the job or file a charge with the New York State Division of Human Rights or U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an employer cannot take adverse action against them in response. This is true regardless of whether a claim of workplace racial discrimination is sustained. If an individual had a “good faith and reasonable belief” that racial discrimination occurred, New York State law protects you from retaliatory action.

Through measures like these anti-retaliation provisions, New York State has extended a great deal of legal protections to ensure that employees are able to seek recourse for claims of workplace racial discrimination or other forms of harassment. In 2019, new legislation was passed that:

  • Mandated that all non-disclosure agreements allow for employees to file a discrimination or harassment complaint
  • Eliminated the restriction that racial discrimination complaints or other workplace disputes must constitute “severe or pervasive” harassment to be legally actionable
  • Extended the statute of limitations for workplace sexual harassment claims to three years

The New York State Division of Human Rights summarizes the key takeaway thusly: “settlements of employment discrimination claims cannot prevent complainants from speaking to an attorney, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, local human rights commissions, or any other form of law enforcement.”

If you are dealing with a matter of racial discrimination outside of the workplace, it may be valuable to investigate filing a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, here. This law prohibits discrimination in employment, but also in:

  • Apprenticeship and training
  • Purchase and rental of housing and commercial space
  • Places of public accommodation
  • Educational institutions
  • All credit transactions

If you are dealing with racial discrimination specifically in the workplace, it may be valuable to discuss the matter with an employment attorney. The Noble Law has a New York office that works to level the field for employees in the state. We work to deliver positive outcomes for clients with integrity and empathy while recognizing the unique nature of everyone’s journey. You can learn more about our consultation process by visiting our webpage.

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