If you are harassed by a city employee or agency, you may be eligible to sue for civil damages. Speak with a New York civil rights lawyer at Manhattan’s Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. to discuss your case and take the first steps towards remuneration and accountability for the injustice you suffered. We provide complimentary, no-obligation case reviews to advise you of your rights. No city employee is above the law. An experienced personal injury lawyer at our firm is here to help you defend your civil rights and secure fair compensation for the losses you sustained.

What kinds of actions constitute harassment?

Harassment claims in New York are generally based on unequal and extreme treatment that causes a person to experience physical injury or emotional distress. Where city agencies are concerned, that treatment might include frequent discriminatory contact by law enforcement authorities, false arrests, excessive use of force by police officers, or a city agency’s refusal to give credence to a valid complaint.   

How can you prove that a city agency harassed you?

In almost every case, a city agency will deny that any harassment occurred. Your best response is to document the circumstances to the fullest extent possible and as soon as possible after they occurred, with:

  • Your own written, detailed description of the circumstances;
  • Statements from witnesses who observed the harassment;
  • Any real-time photographs or video from bystander cell phones and surveillance cameras; and
  • Reports from medical exams that you submitted to after the harassment to show any physical injuries that you suffered.

Further, an independent investigator can research the employment history of the city employee who allegedly committed the harassment. That employee may have other harassment complaints in her or his file, which will lend credence to your allegations.   

How much time do I have to sue a city for harassment?

Harassment lawsuits against a city or its agencies are governed by strict procedures and statutes of limitations. New York City Municipal Laws, for example, require an injured party to file a Notice of Claim no later than ninety days after the occurrence of injurious conduct. If the city does not resolve the claim, the injured party then must file a lawsuit within one year and ninety days after that occurrence.  These short deadlines can trip up even the most diligent individual. If you believe that you were harassed by a city employee in New York, do not hesitate to contact an experienced civil rights lawyer as soon as is possible after the harassment occurred. Your lawyer will help ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines.   

What defenses will a city raise against your harassment lawsuit?

A city’s easiest defense against a harassment claim is that the injured party failed to file his or her lawsuit within the deadlines established by the statute of limitations. If that defense is not available, a city may have other defenses:

  • Sovereign Immunity: Government entities, including all city agencies, will frequently argue that they are immune from private lawsuits. There are a number of exceptions to private immunity that a civil rights lawyer will use to counter sovereign immunity defenses.
  • Actions Outside of Government Capacity: The city may not be liable if a municipal employee is acting outside of the scope of his or her authority at the time that the harassment takes place. 

A city can also argue that a city employee’s allegedly harassing actions were within the scope of his or her job duties. This is a common argument that law enforcement authorities use, for example, to justify their use of force during arrests. Whether that force was so excessive as to rise to the level of harassment will always be a function of the specific facts of each case.

Call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C.

The New York personal injury lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, and Green support city employees who do their jobs within the proper scope of their authority. When a city employee exceeds that authority and harasses a private individual, we  do not hesitate to pursue the city to recover damages for our clients. Our attorneys represent individuals who have been targets of harassment in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. Please call us to schedule an appointment with one of our civil rights attorneys.   

Additional Resources:

  1. www.nycourts.gov: Filing a Notice of Claim. http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/6jd/forms/srforms/ntc_howto.pdf
  2. www.nyc.gov: Police Officer Misconduct. https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/3102/police-officer-misconduct