Targeted discriminatory harassment occurs every day in New York City, regardless of the type and size of workplace.  It can happen at a mammoth Fortune 500 company on Wall Street or even a small business specializing in graphic design in a shared space in Brooklyn. What if the target of this discriminatory harassment is you?  What if you are being incessantly harassed at work by a supervisor or coworker and you believe the harasser has a certain discriminatory motive?  Sadly, the victim of harassment typically feels like they have no one to turn to.  Your coworkers will not likely help your cause for fear of losing their jobs.  You are scared to go directly to your Human Resources manager since they are basically a biased extension of your employer, only looking to preserve the company’s interests.  You are unsure whether your employer will retaliate against you, and possibly fire you from your position, simply for speaking up.

What can you do?  First thing, take a deep breath and take solace in the fact there are knowledgeable, well versed specialists in this field who are willing to guide you through this daunting and nerve-racking process.  Below, I have outlined a few steps that will help ensure the preservation of your civil rights under Federal, New York State and New York City employment discrimination laws, but before you do ANYTHING, contact an attorney.

Some Helpful Steps

  1. When you first sense that a supervisor or coworker is harassing you based on a discriminatory animus, try to deduce the true reason.  That animus can fall under a myriad of protected categories, including, but not limited to, age, gender, national origin, race, religion, military status, sexual orientation, a pregnancy or a disability or perceived disability.  Please be aware that if the harassment taking place does not fall under a protected category, the harassment is not actionable under Federal, New York State and New York City employment discrimination laws.
  2. You should next memorialize the event. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the main purpose of this step is to put your employer on notice of the harassment.  Clearly, if the employer in unaware of the inappropriate behavior, they will claim they could not do anything to remedy it and will deny ever knowing it occurred.  One example of giving proper notice would be by sending a letter or email to Human Resources summarizing the harassment.  This step is anything but easy, and fear may prevent you from initiating the process, but failing to do so may cause major difficulties if your employer decides to terminate and retaliate against you in the future.
  3. At this point, if you haven’t already, contact an attorney.  Waiting only leads to an escalation of the discriminatory acts against you and may complicate issues facing the attorney.

As always, if you believe you or your family member was and/or has been discriminated against in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact the employment discrimination attorneys at the Law Office of Risman & Risman, P.C. at (212) 233-6400 or contact us online.


The information at this site has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is offered as a public service. Information on this site does not constitute legal advice and is presented without any representation or warranty whatsoever, including as to the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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