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ABOUT JOAN C. LENIHAN, ATTORNEY AT LAW

Joan C. Lenihan is a life-long resident of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and the owner of Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law. She brings an enduring passion for advocacy to her law practice. As a young adult, Joan developed an interest in politics and spent many hours volunteering for national candidates as well as working for reform-minded local politicians. During her tenure as a New York City special education teacher, Joan championed the needs of vulnerable students and their families and fought for the contractual rights of her colleagues as a representative of the teacher’s union.

Joan’s firm reflects these values. Dealing with her students, their parents, and her colleagues required patience as well as tenacity, which underlies all of Joan’s present professional interactions. In her employment law practice, Joan counsels and represents individuals who have been discriminated against at work, sometimes to the point of being fired. Joan firmly believes in taking the time to thoroughly explore all options with these clients so they can make an informed decision about serious and life-changing matters. For her estate planning practice, Joan engages clients in conversations that are uncomfortable but very necessary-who will inherit the client’s property, what provisions have clients made for long term care, and who should make the health and financial decisions for the client if they are no longer able to do so for themselves.

Joan’s commitment and energy extend to her contributions to several bar associations, including the National Employment Lawyers Association, the New York State Bar Association, the City Bar Association, and the Brooklyn Bar Association. She has taken a leadership role in each of these organizations and has participated in Continuing Legal Education panels and seminars that they have sponsored.

Joan’s practice is based in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, but she sees clients throughout the greater New York area. In addition to serving her own clients, Joan has used her legal expertise to assist individuals affected by COVID-19 through the City Bar Justice Center and the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project.

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PRESENTATIONS

“Independent Contractors v. Employees: Who is Covered and How”-CLE Panelist, Brooklyn Bar Association Employment and Labor Law Committee 5/2/12

“Social Media Trends in the #Workplace: Social Media and Employment Law”-CLE Panelist, Brooklyn Bar Association Employment and Labor Law Committee 4/16/14

“Issues in Sex and Gender Discrimination in Employment”-Speaker, Continuing Vision CE Program Fall 2014

“Nuts and Bolts of an Employee Termination Case”-CLE Panelist, Brooklyn Bar Association Employment and Labor Law Committee 6/16/15

“Sexual Orientation & Gender in the Workplace: The Evolution of the Laws on Sexual Orientation, Pregnancy, Child Care Leave & Gender Identity”-CLE Panelist, Fall Meeting Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association 9/26/15

“The Newly Amended Rules of Civil Procedure: How Will Employment Litigation Be Impacted?”-Webinar Panelist, EEO Committee of the Labor And Employment Law Section, New York State Bar Association 2/11/16

“Labor Law Protections for Low Wage and Domestic Workers: Do They Still Exist?”-CLE Panelist, Brooklyn Bar Association Employment and Labor Law Committee 5/14/18

CALL JOAN C. LENIHAN
ATTORNEY AT LAW

Located At:

  • 90 Broad Street, 2nd Floor
    New York, N.Y. 10004

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • New York State Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern
    District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern
    District of New York

LEGAL SERVICES

EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAW

Many states, including New York, are “employment-at-will states.” This means you can be fired for any reason or no reason. However, if you have an employment contract or if you belong to a labor union, you have the right to contest your termination. In addition, if you are a member of a “protected class”, you can sue if you are fired, harassed at work, or suffer discrimination on the job based on your protected class status. According to federal law, race, religion, color, national origin, and sex are protected classes. In New York State and New York City, the definition of a protected class also encompasses sexual orientation, marital status, arrest/conviction record, and domestic violence victim status.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace, please contact
Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law. We handle many types of employment law and discrimination matters including, but not limited to:

Age Discrimination
Race Discrimination
Sex and Gender Based Discrimination
Pregnancy Discrimination
Harassment
Retaliation
Preparing Severance Agreements

WILLS, TRUSTS AND ESTATES

You do not have to be elderly or infirm to draw up a will or to start planning for who will receive your real and/or personal property when you pass away. It is preferable to prepare an estate plan when you are physically healthy and mentally competent. If you do not make out a will or a trust and/or fail to designate beneficiaries of your non-probate assets before you die, the New York State Laws of Intestate Succession will determine how your property will be distributed. The results may not be in keeping with your wishes.

Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, can help you decide what is the most efficient way to accomplish your estate planning goals. We also advise you on preparing advanced directives which will give the agents of your choice instructions on handling your financial and health care needs in the event you no longer can. At Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, we will work with you on these matters:

Wills
Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
Special Needs Trusts
Powers of Attorney
Health Care Proxies
Living Wills
Estate Administration
Age Discrimination
Race Discrimination
Sex and Gender Based Discrimination
Pregnancy Discrimination
Harassment
Retaliation
Preparing Severance Agreements
Wills
Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
Special Needs Trusts
Powers of Attorney
Health Care Proxies
Living Wills
Estate Administration

AFFILIATIONS

We are proud members of:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Clients are often unsure if they require legal help. The following scenarios are very common.

My boss is rude to everyone in our office. He often shouts at and belittles my coworkers and me. Can I sue him for creating a hostile work environment?2018-09-05T22:33:15+00:00

The answer will most likely be no. A hostile work environment is based on discrimination due to membership in a “protected class”. Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law each proscribe what groups are “protected”. Your boss is abusive to everyone; however, if your boss singled out members of a protected class (e.g., women, African Americans, immigrants) and you were a member of that group, you could possibly have a claim. Call Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, to discuss a hostile work environment at your place of employment.

What would determine whether or not I have a claim?2021-03-02T22:45:54+00:00

Many factors! If you are suing under Title VII, the federal legislation that protects employees, the actions taken by your boss would have to rise to the level of “severe and pervasive” so much so that the conditions of your employment would be altered. However, under the New York City Human Rights Law, a hostile work environment can exist when an employee is treated less well than other employees because of the employee’s membership in a protected class.

Besides having different standards of proof, the statute of limitations (deadline to file) is also different under federal, state, and local law as well as the numerosity requirement (required minimum number of employees in a workplace).

Since these cases are fact specific, it is best if you hire an employment law attorney to analyze your case. At Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, we will assist you in determining whether or not you have a viable claim.

My boss called me into her office and said that I was being terminated. She gave me an agreement and said I could get three weeks severance pay if I signed it and promised not to sue the company. I have worked at my job for 10 years so I think three weeks is extremely unfair. Furthermore, I don’t think she likes Muslims and I am Muslim. Should I sign the agreement or sue for discrimination?2018-09-24T22:55:47+00:00

Do not sign any agreement until you have an attorney review it. Let Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, negotiate a fairer settlement for you and make sure that you are protected. You should also think carefully before you file a lawsuit. Can you prove that your boss doesn’t like Muslims? You would have to be able to provide evidence of discrimination based on your religion, keeping in mind the standards of proof (depending on whether you sued under federal, state, or local law), the various statute of limitations, and the numerosity requirements referenced in the preceding question. Let Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, help you decide whether or not to sue your former company and to represent you in court if there is enough evidence to support a discrimination claim.

I know I need to make out a will but I am only 30, single, and I do not have any children. I can wait until I am older or until I get married to make out a will, right?2018-09-24T22:58:19+00:00

Wrong. A person who is 30 is not too young to start thinking about making out a will. If you do not have a will, your property will be distributed according to New York Estate, Powers and Trust Law (EPTL) 4-4.1, which provides who gets the assets of persons that die intestate (without a will). Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, can help you draft your will as well as other important estate planning documents such as a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. In your case, since you are single and have no children, EPTL 4-1.1 dictates that your parents inherit your estate if they are still alive. If they are not, then your siblings take an equal share. This is not a good result if you do not get along with your parents and/or siblings or want to leave your property to someone else. Furthermore, if you do not have a will, you will not be able to name an Executor, who is the person that distributes your property and pays your bills and taxes. The court will appoint an administrator to do these important tasks-possibly someone you, yourself, would not have chosen.

OK, so I need a will. But why do I need a Health Care Proxy or a Power of Attorney? Isn’t a will enough?2018-09-05T22:37:07+00:00

No, it’s not. If you become so ill or you are so badly injured in an accident that you cannot make your own health care decisions, your Health Care Proxy gives an agent appointed by you the authority to make these decisions for you. You may also not be able to take care of your finances; then the agent you appointed under your Power of Attorney will step in and pay your bills, do your banking, and take charge of other monetary transactions. You can choose the same person to act as your Health Care Agent and Agent under your Power of Attorney. But you must have executed these documents! If you have neither document, you may need a court-appointed guardian to make decisions about your health and finances. Appointing a guardian is a costly procedure. Let Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, assist you in preparing these vital advanced directives.

I am single Mom with two adult children. I am trying to decide which one of them should be the Executor of my Will, my Health Care Agent, and the Agent under my Power of Attorney. I am afraid I will offend one child if I choose the other. What should I do?2018-09-05T22:38:23+00:00

Think of what you are asking your children to do. Is one more proficient and knowledgeable than the other in handling money? This may be the child who should serve as your Executor and/or Agent under your Power of Attorney. Are your children aware of what your wishes are if you become terminally ill? Would one of your children refuse to take you off life support due to their own personal beliefs, even though that is what you would wish? This child may not be the one you would want to be your Health Care Agent. Talking with your children about your concerns may avoid future conflicts. These are not an easy decisions, but you should be guided by what is in your own best interests.

RESOURCES

As a service to our clients, we have provided the following relevant links:

TESTIMONIALS

I hired Joan to work on my estate planning needs ( will, power of attorney, etc.).  She was very professional, knowledgeable, and thoughtful, and in the process of working with her, I grew to trust her implicitly.

C. H.

2020 was an incredibly difficult year for my family.  Instead of returning to work after my maternity leave, I was let go the same week as the Covid-19 pandemic hit in NYC. When I discovered I was wrongfully terminated because of my pregnancy, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of confronting my employer. I suddenly found myself needing legal counsel, and I was so fortunate to find Joan.  It seemed impossible to pursue any legal matter during a pandemic, but Joan was diligent in her approach and persisted in negotiating my case, despite my previous employer’s attempt to ignore the issue.

Joan is an incredible advocate and attorney who encouraged and supported me throughout the entire process. Not only did Joan help me with the settlement of this case, but she also helped bring closure to a difficult time period in my life. Because of her hard work, my family is entering the new year stronger both financially and emotionally. Standing up for my rights has given me the confidence to move forward in my career, and conviction to raise my daughter to face bullies head on. Thank you, Joan, for your strength, compassion, and excellent legal representation.

A. D.

Joan has been wonderful counsel on a number of thorny employment issues relating to my need for reasonable accommodation. She was generous in sharing her time and expertise during our initial consultation, and it was immediately clear to me that she knew the law and would fight for my rights. I highly recommend her for her professionalism, knowledge, and passion for protecting her clients.

B. W.

I highly recommend Ms. Joan Lenihan when you need legal advice about disability discrimination. Joan was very professional, polite, and understanding. She even went out of her way to visit us so she could explain how she was going to help my husband who lost his job after he hurt his knee. If you want someone responsible who cares about her clients, please reach out to Joan Lenihan.

R.W.

Ms. Joan Lenihan helped my husband and me to prepare wills. She was able to demystify the documents and made sure that we considered every possibility as we named executors and beneficiaries. She also recommended and facilitated the creation of health care proxies. She was kind, knowledgeable, and professional and made the process easy. I highly recommend her.

B.D.

CONTACT

Directions

Call Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law :

Located At:

  • 90 Broad Street, 2nd Floor
    New York, N.Y. 10004

*** WE ALSO MEET CLIENTS IN BROOKLYN,
BAY RIDGE, OR ANYWHERE IN THE GREATER NEW YORK AREA!

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