"Do I have a case?"
We often receive calls from people who believe that they have been treated unfairly but are unsure as to whether they “have a case.” Here are some general guidelines to help you assess the strength of your discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims. However, it is always best to contact an attorney if you are unsure.
1. What happened?
1. What happened?
- Discrimination: Not every work-place slight is actionable. Instead Courts look for tangible, and most often economic harms suffered. For example, termination, refusal to hire, demotion, denial of a promotion, denial of opportunities for career-enhancing training, denial of overtime, unwarranted discipline which could lead to termination.
- Harassment: To establish unlawful harassment, you must show that you were subjected to severe or pervasive harassment. Thus, the conduct must have be enough to alter the terms and conditions of your employment.
- Retaliation: For retaliation, you must show that adverse treatment that you suffered would likely dissuade others from complaining.
- Discrimination: To succeed in a case for discrimination, an employee must establish that the unfair treatment that they suffered was unlawfully motivated by their protected characteristics – that is, was based on her sex, race, age, disability and/or sexual orientation. The best way to demonstrate an unlawful bias on the part of the employer is through comments that were made. Another way to establish unlawful motivation is to show that individuals outside of your protected class were treated better.
- Harassment: If you are alleging harassment, you must show that the harassment is based on your protected characteristics. Thus, it is not enough that your boss is a bully and is mean to everyone. Although there is a movement to make bullying illegal in New York, at this point it is not.
- Retaliation: To succeed on a retaliation claim you must show a connection between your complaint and the complained about conduct. Thus, your employer had to have known about the complaint and must have decided to take action against you because of that conduct.
- If you have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, retaliation or harassment you need to act quickly.
- If the complained about conduct occurred more than 300 days ago, then you might have waived your right to bring a federal cause of action alleging discrimination.
- In addition, as cases age, they are more difficult to litigate as evidence and memories fade.