Being Discriminated at Work

I Feel Like I’m Being Discriminated at Work

Check out this educational legal video about what you can do if you are being discriminated at work by Andrew P. Fleming, one of our experienced Hamburg employment lawyers.

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The most routine call that I receive at work comes from someone who’s been referred to me by another lawyer. They call and say, “I’m being subjected to discrimination in the workplace.” My initial response to that caller is to ask a number of specific questions. First of all, I want to know who their employer is and gather other pertinent information. It is not illegal to treat someone different in the workplace. For example, I am allowed to meet with my employees and say, on a typical Tuesday morning, “You know what? I’m not in a good mood and you’re fired.”

New York State is what’s called an employment-at-will state. If somebody calls me saying, “I’ve been discriminated against in my workplace,” my initial question to them is usually, ”Why?” For instance, if they call and say, “I’ve been fired, and I think it’s a wrongful termination, and I feel as though I haven’t been treated fairly.” I always ask the question, “Why? Why have you been treated unfairly?”

When the issue is based on personality conflicts, poor management, stupidity, or bias related to some personality trait, none of those things are illegal. It is not illegal – in a workplace – to dislike somebody. When I ask the question, “Why,” and the response is, “Well, I think I’m being treated differently because I’m a woman. The men are being treated better than me. They get more overtime, and they’re getting the better job assignments, while I’m stuck here and there,” I say, “Well, tell me more about why you’re being discriminated against.”

If the focus is on an illegal factor, that person may very well have a claim of employment discrimination. Those illegal factors have broadened considerably over the course of the last 15 years. They start with age, race, gender, religion, marital status, familial status, even genetic background, and of course, disability. If the focus of the caller’s complaint relates to one of those illegal factors, they may have a claim of illegal discrimination in the workplace.

The experienced Hamburg employment lawyers at Chiacchia & Fleming, LLP have extensive experience in aggressively representing the rights of employees in age discrimination claims as well as other workplace disputes. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Let our experience work for you.

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