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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.

PRESENTATIONS

“Zoom Carefully: Ethical Obligations and Privacy Considerations of Remote Work”-CLE Panel Moderator, New York City Bar Association 7 th Annual Employment Law Institute, March 4, 2021

“The Interplay Between OSHA, the CDC, and Employment Discrimination Laws”-Presenter for the Brooklyn Bar Association Access to Justice Series, December 10, 2020

“An Introduction To Wrongful Termination Claims”-CLE Panelist, New York City Bar Association Bridge-The -Gap: Practical Skills, Ethics, & More, October 13, 2020

“Unemployment Insurance and Covid-19 Updates”-CLE Panel Moderator, New York State Bar Association, August 12, 2020

“New York State Unemployment Insurance System”-CLE Panel Moderator, New York City Bar Association, June 6, 2020

“COVID-19’s Impact on Employment and Tax Issues for the Solo Practitioner and Small Law Firm Owner”-CLE Panelist, New York City Bar Association, April 14, 2020

“Sexual Harassment Reporting Requirements & First Amendment Implications”-CLE Panel Moderator/Panelist, Brooklyn Bar Association, September 24, 2019

“Sexual Harassment and the Workplace: New York State and New York City’s Recent Legislation”-CLE Panelist, New York State Bar Association, December 4, 2018

“Epic Supreme Court Rulings: Blockbuster Cases and Their Impact on Labor and Employment Law”-CLE Panel Moderator, City Bar Association-November 7, 2018

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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

What should I expect now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted?
Consider these scenarios.

My office is opening in August. Everyone will be required to report in person. I have no health issues but my elderly father who is diabetic is living with me. I am afraid that I might possibly bring the virus home to my father. Can I get an accommodation to continue working from home in order to protect my parent?2021-06-22T00:03:19+00:00

No, not unless you, yourself, have a disability that makes you more likely to contract the virus. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require your boss to provide an accommodation to you in order to protect a vulnerable family member. However, some employers have been willing to accommodate employees who find themselves in your situation, although they are not legally bound to do so. Ask Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, to work with you and your employer.

My employer has emailed our staff that we are expected to return to work in July, fully vaccinated. I do not trust and I am fearful of getting what I consider a brand new vaccine. Can my employer make me get vaccinated? Can I lose my job if I don’t comply with her request?2021-06-22T00:02:33+00:00

Under federal law and local law, an employer can require employees to get vaccinated in order to enter the workplace unless an individual employee has a disability that would be impacted by the vaccine or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents the employee from being vaccinated. In these cases, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to the employee, unless doing so presents an undue hardship to the employer and/or would provide a direct threat to workplace health or safety. Mistrust and fear of the vaccine would not qualify for a reasonable accommodation, unless you also have a preexisting mental condition such as anxiety disorder or PTSD that has exacerbated your fears. Contact Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, to discuss your options.

I have started to work in person two days a week. My employer is very conscious of providing a safe work space for myself and my colleagues as well as our clients. I am comfortable working in the office, but I am very concerned that I might contract COVID-19 on the subway. Shouldn’t my employer have to arrange for transportation for her employees?2021-06-22T00:01:37+00:00

No. Your boss is not obligated to pay to get you to and from work. That is your responsibility. The General Duty Clause of the Occupational, Safety, and Health Act of 1970 requires that your boss provide a safe and healthful workplace that is free from serious recognized hazards. According to what you have described, it appears that your employer is complying with the law.

I applied to be a waiter in my local coffee shop. The owner is desperate to hire people since many of his former workers have found other positions. However, I did not get the job because I told the owner that I do not believe in vaccines and I do not intend to get the COVID-19 vaccination. I have a lot of experience and excellent references. Is it legal for him to not hire me? Don’t I have a constitutional right to refuse to get vaccinated?2021-06-23T18:55:35+00:00

The owner of the coffee shop is a private employer and has a right to ask his employees to be vaccinated as long as he does so in a non-discriminatory way. For example, it would be illegal if the owner only required Asian workers to be vaccinated, based on the false belief that they would more likely have the virus. The owner also has a duty to provide a safe workplace for his employees (see #3). He has decided that having employees get vaccinated is how he wants to ensure a safe and healthy environment. You would not qualify for an accommodations as they are only mandated in certain instances (see #2). At this time there is no federal mandate requiring the general population to get vaccinated, but there is authority that states can require vaccines to protect public health. Given this set of circumstances, I agree that you do have the right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine but not the right to a job by a private employer who requires employees to get vaccinated.

I heard that a new Power of Attorney went into effect on June 13, 2021. I just executed a Power of Attorney last year and I am still not comfortable going to a lawyer’s office or any other office for that matter. What should I do?2021-06-23T18:56:53+00:00

Your Power of Attorney will be grandfathered into the new law as long as it was validly executed in accordance with the laws in effect at the time of execution. This holds true for all Powers of Attorney but they, like your other estate documents, should be periodically updated.  If you have any questions about your Power of Attorney or other estate planning documents, you can reach out to Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, via Zoom.

What are the most important documents that I must have to protect myself if I get sick with COVID-19?2021-06-21T23:57:35+00:00

At the very least, you need a Health Care Proxy and a Power of Attorney. The Health Care Proxy will name an agent to make health care decisions for you and the Power of Attorney appoints an agent (s) to deal with your financial matters. But you should already have these documents, as well as a Will and a Living Will. Do not wait until there is an emergency to protect yourself and your assets. Contact Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, to assist you with drawing up your estate plan.

My Dad contracted COVID-19 and died suddenly. He wisely prepared his estate plan a few years ago and named me as his Executor. I am almost finished marshaling his real and personal property but I can’t access some family photos he posted on his Instagram account since I don’t have the password. I would also like to retrieve his blog posts which consist of witty essays and commentary about when he grew up. What should I do?2021-06-30T12:29:40+00:00

There is a strong likelihood that you will not be successful. Your Dad did not own the Instagram or blog platforms. He had a license to use them until he passed away. At that point, Instagram and the blog platform, the custodians of these electronic records, took control of your Dad’s accounts. You, as his executor, could only access your Dad’s “digital assets” if he gave you permission to do so. Instagram, YouTube, online bank accounts, and Twitter are examples of digital assets. While some other platforms such as Google and Facebook offer options such as the Inactive Manager or Legacy Contact, these options are specific to those particular platforms. This is why it is so important to choose someone who will control your digital assets after you die. Joan C.Lenihan, Attorney at Law, will ensure that this is part of your estate plan.

What happens to my property if I die from COVID-19 without a will?2021-06-21T23:48:11+00:00

If you have designated beneficiaries on your assets they will go to those individuals regardless of whether or not you have a will. However, any real or personal property that does not have a beneficiary designation will become part of your estate. If you do not prepare a will, an administrator will be appointed to distribute any assets without beneficiary designations or that have not been placed in trust. The administrator must distribute your assets in accordance with the New York Estate, Powers and Trust Law (EPTL) 4-4.1. Make an appointment with Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, to ensure that your estate plan reflects your wishes.

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RESOURCES

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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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