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Filing a New York workplace discrimination claim

Discrimination in the workplace can present itself in many different ways. If an employer denies a person a job or promotion or fires an employee based on one of the protected statuses, that person may be able to file a discrimination claim. Protected statuses in New York include race, gender, age, disability, religious or political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, genetic predisposition or carrier status, arrest and conviction record and veteran status. The law also prohibits retaliation by the employer after an employee files a claim.

The discrimination claim must be filed within 180 days of the incident. The person may choose to file the claim personally or allow a representative to file the claim on his or her behalf. A representative could be anybody that the complainant chooses, and the paperwork submitted must reflect that a representative submitted it on behalf of that person.

The person does not need to file any specific forms for the complaint. The only requirements are the types of information that must be included. This includes the name, address and phone number of the complainant and the representative filing the paperwork if applicable. It also requires the name and address of the employer and a narrative of what occurred. The filer should state how, when and why he or she believes the situation to be a form of discrimination and what type of discrimination is involved. The narrative should include the names of all individuals involved in the act of discrimination including any witnesses, and the complainant and representative, if applicable, must both sign and date the complaint.

A victim of workplace discrimination should document everything that happened in the incident as quickly as possible. The person should also collect the names of any witnesses to the situation so that he or she has the proper information when working on the complaint. An employment law attorney can be of assistance in this process.

Source: New York State Department of Labor , "How to File a Discrimination Claim", September 10, 2014

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