Shawn R. Clark is an experienced New York City employment lawyer at Phillips & Associates. Mr. Clark graduated in 2010 from New York University School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Scholar and an Articles Editor for the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. He graduated magna cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts. He is admitted to practice in New York, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star on a yearly basis since 2015.
After graduating from law school, Mr. Clark began his legal career at the New York City Police Department and New York City Law Department as a legal fellow and Assistant Corporation Counsel. He then worked as an employment lawyer at a different law firm starting in 2014 before joining Phillips & Associates. There he frequently appeared as first and second chair in bench and jury trials in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. In one jury trial, he obtained a judgment of more than $500,000 as lead trial counsel for three plaintiffs. Mr. Clark has dedicated his career to securing justice for workers.
The New York City Human Rights Law is a law that prohibits employment discrimination based on a host of protected characteristics. It is widely understood to be one of the most robust anti-discrimination laws in the country. Protected characteristics under this law include race, color, creed, actual or perceived age, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, citizenship status, and prior arrest record. Like other anti-discrimination laws, it prohibits retaliation against employees for engaging in the protected activity of asserting their rights under the law.
Many employers are generally aware of anti-discrimination laws and do not tell employees the real reason why an adverse employment action was taken, when the real reason was discriminatory. It can be hard to know for sure whether you have been subjected to discrimination. For example, an employer may claim that it is conducting layoffs for economic reasons and ask you to sign a severance agreement, but you might notice that only older workers nearing retirement are being laid off. In that situation, it is important to consult an experienced attorney about the possibility of an age discrimination claim, as well as whether any waiver that you are being asked to sign is appropriate given the amount of severance and the possibility of age discrimination.
There are other situations in which it might be better to pursue recourse under one of the federal laws or the New York State Human Rights Law. Each case has a unique set of facts, and you should consult an experienced employment attorney.
Harassment involves unwelcome words or conduct based on the victim’s membership in a protected class. For example, if you are black and your coworkers are always calling you the n-word and making derogatory remarks about black people, you may have a claim of racial harassment. For another example, if your supervisor keeps touching your chest and making crude jokes about wanting to have sex with you, you likely have a claim of sexual harassment.
Remedies that you may be able to recover in an employment discrimination or harassment lawsuit include back pay, front pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and, if the employer’s conduct shows gross negligence, perhaps punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded when there was wrongful conduct that exceeded mere negligence, and they are only considered warranted by a court if there are aggravating factors that show another layer of wrongful conduct.
Sometimes employees who have suffered from employment discrimination and harassment based on a protected characteristic find it painful and difficult to confront an employer. Let us fight for your rights. Mr. Clark and our other experienced trial lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages. Call Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form. We litigate employment cases in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Westchester County, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.