GELC's work focuses on breaking down legal and societal barriers that limit equal opportunities for individuals on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, along with recognizing and eradicating those specific to the intersection of gender and race. To this end, GELC employs a blend of strategies including: impact litigation, legislative reform, education and community outreach, “know your rights" trainings, and organizing.
GELC’s three main programs include: (1) combating gender-based discrimination in the workplace and in schools to ensure that every individual can compete on a level playing field regardless of their gender; (2) mitigating instances of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and in school settings; and (3) striking a work-family balance by fighting against pregnancy discrimination and for family leave.
While all of GELC’s work focuses on advancing and protecting the rights of individuals who face social, institutional, and legal discrimination, our mission is to provide access to legal services for low income individuals, particularly those from historically marginalized communities in New York
We litigate cases that will advance new laws and expand existing legal protections for both individuals and groups. Our goal is to use litigation as a tool to help break down legal and social barriers to equality whether it be in the workplace, education, housing, public accommodations or in the right to have an equal voice in our society.
Our cases affect a wide group of individuals impacted by gender-based discrimination. But in choosing cases we focus on representing low and modest income individuals who cannot afford to hire private counsel. In furtherance of this goal, we operate an Intake Hotline where we provide callers with basic information about their legal rights and seek to match lower and modest income clients with qualified pro bono counsel.
LITIGATION SUPPORT & CO-COUNSEL ASSISTANCE
We provide co-counsel in selective cases and also help match lawyers with cases that have a significant legal issue impacting gender equality. We advise lawyers both in the private and public sector on litigation strategy and the substantive law. We mentor newer lawyers developing their legal skills in handling gender discrimination cases. We invite you to contact us for more information about how we may support your work.
City employee wins full back pay in pregancy discrimination case.
NYC Commission on Human Rights to grant "probable cause" finding in pregnancy accommodation case where employer failed to enter into "cooperative dialogue" wth pregnant worker.
NYS Division of Human Rights grants a "Probable Cause" finding in a sexual harassment case of a woman who was the sole employee in her employer's household.
GELC seeks award of legal fees under new City law permitting attorney's fees for representation of clients before City Commission.
We work to advance and support legislation that will enhance the rights and opportunities of individuals who have historically experienced gender-based discrimination. Over the past few years we have supported various bills by providing testimony to legislative bodies, joining coalitions and participating in organizing and outreach efforts.
We Worked to Help Pass and/or Implement the Following Pieces of Legislation:
Legislation We Support
(yet to be passed)
PUBLIC POLICY & ADVOCACY
We use a variety of non-legal advocacy efforts to promote and influence change in government and the private sector. Some examples include sharing our expertise with government officials and other policymakers, building coalitions with other nonprofits and community advocates, and bringing much needed attention to the needs and rights of diverse groups of women and members of the LGBTQ community. Our public policy work is also closely aligned with educating and empowering individuals and communities who can give voice to stories that amplify the need for changing policies.
Specifically our work has encompassed working to educate the public about intimate partner violence and its impact on a victim's employment, changing the business culture around pumping breastmilk on the job, speaking with new mothers about work-life balance issues and the need for subsidized childcare and creating benchmarks for corporate America to follow in "onboarding" and "offboarding" men and women who take time off to give birth and/or bond with a newborn.
We are currently designing a writing contest to showcase the opinions and viewpoints of a diverse group of young women and youth who identify as female as to their experiences living in New York City. The goal is to gain a better understanding of what they believe are the most important policy initiatives this City needs to take in the next decade to ensure gender equality.
TRAINING & EDUCATION
We mentor, train and offer strategic assistance to private and government lawyers, as well as to nonprofit legal staff. Trainings can be conducted one-on-one or in a small group setting. Strategic advice is often provided over the phone, but can be provided in person.
Conducted training for Make the Road's Legal Staff on workplace sexual harassment claims.
Roundtabled with private civil rights lawyers about co-counseling with nonprofits.
Trained non-profit's legal staff on utilizing NYCHRL's new protections on reasonable accommodations in pregancy dicrimination cases.
Provided training to Legal Services coalition on "best practices" in pregnancy discrimination cases at the federal, state and local levels.