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What was the most common charge of discrimination filed in 2015?

Every employee and employer in New York City should understand that the law prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, these laws haven't stopped employers from demoting, harassing or otherwise mistreating employees on the job because of certain characteristics.

If and when this happens, it can be vital for employees to remember that they don't have to just accept this misconduct. There are options available to workers who have been subjected to discrimination, including legal action. According to recent reports, more than $525 million was awarded last year to victims who filed discrimination claims. Out of all the charges filed, one proved to be the most-often cited: retaliation.

Retaliation occurs when a employer takes negative action against an employee for engaging in protected activities. This could include filing a discrimination complaint, refusing to participate in unlawful activities or filing a workers' compensation claim.

In fact, retaliation was cited in more than 44 percent of the 92,641 charges filed in fiscal year 2015. Charges of discrimination based on race and disability followed as the second and third most commonly filed charges.

This is certainly a troubling amount of instances where employees have had reason to believe they were wrongfully punished by their employers. And while the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is working address issues related to retaliation, there is still a long way to go in protecting employees.

What we hope readers take away from this blog post is the awareness that you are not alone if you have been the victim of unfair, discriminatory treatment on the job. This is true whether you have been demoted, wrongfully terminated or denied employment opportunities based on your race, disability, pregnancy, religion or other characteristics protected by law. 

You should also understand that you can take action against the party that violated your rights as an employee. Discussing the options of filing a lawsuit against your employer can be a crucial step in protecting yourself, your rights and your future.

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