FAQs

What is harassment?

Harassment can be defined as an unwanted behavior that gets in the way of an individual’s work and responsibilities. The law protects employees from harassment on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as race, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation. Harassment can include verbal comments, unwanted behavior, touching, and more. Harassment can be carried out by supervisors and bosses, coworkers, temporary workers, or clients just visiting a place of employment.

What should I do if I am being treated unfairly?

If you are being harassed or treated unfairly, the first thing you should do is complain to Human Resources or anyone at the office that could write down your complaint. In order to build up a case for discrimination, an employee should have a written record of bringing the situation to the attention of the employer. Moreover, making formal complaints can help mitigate the situation.

What is at-will employment?

The at-will employment doctrine is popular in many states, including New York. It was designed to give employees and employers maximum flexibility. Under this doctrine, an employer is able to fire an employee at will, for any reason or for no reason at all. However, there is a caveat: an employer cannot take an adverse employment action because of a discriminatory reason. At-will employment also allows employees to leave a job for any reason and at any time, without repercussions if they find other opportunities.

Can my boss fire me for any reason?

As an at-will employee, your employment is subject to the will of your employer. Your employment is subject to termination for any reason—unless it is a discriminatory reason—and at any time the company chooses, with very limited exceptions.

What is a class action lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is an action brought against a defendant that has multiple plaintiffs. The plaintiffs generally claim the same sort of treatment and seek similar damages. There are many advantages to a class action lawsuit, such as streamlining multiple lawsuits and putting more pressure on the defendant, as well as reducing costs.

Am I protected if I am being discriminated against based on my sexual orientation?

Though no federal law explicitly forbids employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, statutes in both New York State and New York City protect individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Under these statutes, it is illegal to harass or discriminate against an individual based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Am I protected from harassment if I am not a United States citizen?

New York state law provides protections for non-citizens who are being harassed based on their citizenship status or their status as aliens within the country. It is is illegal to discriminate against or harass an individual based on their citizenship status.