Joan C. Lenihan is a life-long resident of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn who brings an enduring passion for advocacy to her law practice. As a young adult, Ms. Lenihan developed an interest in politics. She spent many hours volunteering in national campaigns as well as working for reform-minded candidates in Bay Ridge and other areas of Brooklyn and New York State. During her tenure as a New York City special education teacher, Ms. Lenihan 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.

The firm of Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, reflects these values. Ms. Lenihan’s practice is focused on representing individual employees who have suffered employment discrimination which can result in lower wages, missed promotions, and even termination. Ms. Lenihan also assists clients and their families with estate planning such as preparing wills and trusts, as well as living wills and health care proxies.

Ms. Lenihan’s approach is client centered. She firmly believes in taking the time to thoroughly explore all options with her clients so they can make an informed decision about their matter. The size or complexity of a case is immaterial; Ms. Lenihan’s goal is to achieve satisfactory results.

For more information about Joan C. Lenihan, Attorney at Law, see Linked In.


“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


Located At:

  • 65 Broadway, 7th Floor
    New York, N.Y. 10006


  • 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



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:


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:

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


We are proud members of:


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?2018-09-05T22:33:41+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. This standard is also applied under the New York State Human Rights Law. 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.


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Located At:

  • 65 Broadway, 7th Floor
    New York, N.Y. 10006


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