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Practice Areas

New York Attorneys Assisting Victims of Civil Rights Violations

Many laws protect your rights in the areas of employment, education, and testing accommodations. If your rights are violated, or you suffer from retaliation for exercising them, you may wish to consider taking legal action. At Friedman & Houlding, our New York civil rights lawyers have been dedicated to representing employees and students for more than 50 years. When we take a case, we commit to trying your case to a jury if the defendant does not make an appropriate settlement offer. We can represent people who need a sexual harassment attorney or representation in fighting many forms of discrimination and wage violations in a wide range of industries.


Federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination and harassment based on certain protected characteristics. Title VII, enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is the primary federal law prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, and gender, among other protected characteristics. Discrimination occurs whenever an employer takes an adverse action based on a protected characteristic. For example, a supervisor who fires an employee because she refuses to grant a sexual favor has committed employment discrimination based on sex. However, sometimes the discrimination is more subtle. For example, an employer that enacts a policy that has a disproportionately adverse impact on people of one sex or one race may be liable.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as the New York State Labor Law and other laws govern wage and hour and overtime issues. In addition to paying employees at least minimum wage, employers also need to pay overtime to nonexempt employees who work over 40 hours in a single workweek. Most employees are "nonexempt." Typically, only executive, professional, administrative, and certain sales positions are exempt from FLSA and other wage and hour or overtime rules.


We also handle civil rights lawsuits involving sexual and racial harassment in schools. Title IX prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment of students in educational institutions that receive federal funds. Title VI prohibits discrimination and harassment of students in educational institutions based on their race, color, or national origin. The discrimination or harassment must be so serious that it limits or denies a student's ability to participate in the educational program, the school must be aware of it, and the school must fail to take prompt and reasonable steps to eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and correct the effects. Generally, schools have notice of discrimination or harassment if a responsible employee knows or should have known about it. However, knowledge may be imputed to a school if the pervasiveness of the harassment is widespread, well-known among students, and openly practiced.

Testing Accommodations

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an individual with a disability is someone who is physically or mentally impaired in a way that substantially limits a major life activity, including learning, reading, or thinking. The ADA provides that testing accommodations should be given to individuals with learning disabilities so that they can fairly compete for and pursue educational opportunities. Covered tests include college entrance exams, high school entrance or equivalency exams, admissions for graduate school, and licensing exams for trade and professional purposes. Examples of accommodations that may be required under the ADA are large print exam booklets, extended time, distraction-free rooms, and scribes to transfer answers or record dictated essays.

Consult an Experienced Civil Rights Lawyer in New York

The New York civil rights attorneys at Friedman & Houlding can help you file a lawsuit for damages if you have been mistreated in the workplace or elsewhere. Our firm also represents people who have been harmed by civil rights violations in Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. We make all court appearances, take all depositions, and try these out-of-state cases ourselves. Contact us online or call us at 888-369-1119 ext. 1 to set up a free consultation with an employment, education, or testing accommodations attorney.