As an experienced Orange County Attorney people frequently come to me with claims of discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment. When I think that they have a claim, there are many options that I discuss with the client. First of all, if they have a claim under federal law, either under title 7, under the Americans with disabilities act, and under the age discrimination and employment act. Before one can even commence a lawsuit in federal court, one must file a claim of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There are time frames in which to do this so we caution people who are thinking about such a claim to talk to us sooner rather than later because we don’t want you to be out of luck. The EEOC is an administrative form, and up until recently our experience is that the EEOC took very little action except to say that they couldn’t investigate because there weren’t enough staff members that would give the employees the right to sue.
Most recently in our office, we have had so many meditations through the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Recently, two where the mediators from the EEOC came to our offices. In both cases, we were able to resolve the cases in favor of the client without ever having to file a federal claim, so that’s always an option. Another option is that we have a state agency called New York Division of Human Rights, and you don’t need a lawyer to file that claim. You can go and fill out a form and the commission employee will help you and you can assert the claim yourself. Do we recommend that? Not typically, we have represented both the employees and employers before the New York state Division of Human Rights. It’s a much faster resolution practice, it doesn’t involve exchange of documents and depositions, and the commission reserves a two day window to have a hearing and the dispute can be dissolved fairly quickly.
The other option is to assert a claim under the human rights law in New York state court, again in the administrative for the division of human rights it’s a very short time in which to assert your claim so if you are thinking of doing that we urge you to talk to us first. We do have a county commission and we have had a number of cases before the commission. Typically we have had resolution of those cases before the commission both from the employee’s side and the employer’s side.
Do you have questions about discrimination claims in New York state? If so, contact the experienced Orange County Employment Attorney Kim Berg.