I would like to file a lawsuit against my place of employment, if I quit will the suit still be valid?

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I would like to file a lawsuit against my place of employment, if I quit will the suit still be valid?

I’m working in a workplace that is very hostile and discriminatory against me. I have tried to resolve the issue with the executive director only to be verbally abused. I want to file a lawsuit but feel unable to continue working at my place of employment due to my health and sanity. In the past, other employees have quit for the same reasons. Is there a way that this issue can be resolved?

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) IF you have a valid cause of action, then quitting does not mean you can't pursue it--though it could reduce what you might win. For example, say you feel that you are discriminated against on a racial basis and are underpaid. If you voluntarily quit, depending on the circumstances, you may only be able to recover additional compensation up to when you quit (if your forced out, that's a different story; but if it's merely unpleasant, you might have to stick it out to sue for money going forward).

2) However, no all hostile environments or discrimination are actionable. In brief, a workplace can be hostile to employees, and it can treat them differentially or unfairly and discriminate, with this exception: it can't discriminate on the basis of a specifically legally protected characteristic, such as an employee's race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability. Discrimination on those bases can give rise to liability; but simply discriminating against an employee who a supervisor doesn't like is not illegal.

If you  feel you may be the victim of illegal discrimination, you should consult with an employment attorney before taking any action.


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