Law Blog

New Rights for Unpaid Interns in NY

In 2013, it was held that an unpaid intern working in New York City did not have a right to sue for sexual harassment because she was not an “employee” under the City’s Human Rights Law. Since the classification of “employee” did not apply to unpaid interns, such interns also did not have standing to sue in New York City administrative agencies. The effect of this narrowed classification eliminated unpaid interns from having standing to sue for sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination.

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2936 Hits

College Football Players deemed “Employees” under NLRA

In early March, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) conducted hearings regarding Northwestern University’s Football Players bid to form a union.

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3157 Hits

New Employment Rights for Truckers In New York

On January 10, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act (“CGTIFPA”). As a result, New York’s Labor Commissioner, Peter Rivera recently announced a new state law for determining whether a commercial truck driver is an employee or independent contractor, and provides penalties for employers who fail to properly protect and classify their employees.

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3243 Hits

Dealing with Sexual Harassment in a Small Business

Working for a small company has its advantages – things are sometimes more laid back, you feel like a person instead of just a number, and you often form close personal bonds with your co-workers. Unfortunately, there are also drawbacks to working for a small company. In addition to the reduced benefits and lack of opportunity you might encounter, small business culture can be very different from that of a large corporation.

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2989 Hits

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Whistleblower Protection under Sarbanes-Oxley

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the class of employees entitled to whistleblower protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley” or “the Act”). In its 6-3 decision in Lawson v. FMR LLC, the Court held that the employees of private companies that contract with publicly held companies are entitled to whistleblower protection for reporting the fraudulent activities of the publicly traded company. According to the Court's interpretation of § 1514A of Sarbanes-Oxley, the Act prohibits private employers that contract with publicly held companies from taking adverse employment actions against its employees who report the fraudulent activities of the publicly held companies. For example, an employee of a private accounting firm who reports the fraudulent tax practices of a publicly held client is now protected from adverse employment actions taken by the accounting firm for reporting the fraudulent tax practices of the public company.

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The Employment Non – Discrimination Act - EDNA

“Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument.”- Samuel Johnson

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3515 Hits

Don't Use Your Work Email to Contact an Attorney

If you have problems with your employer, it is often hard to decide to contact an attorney and bring a case. Likewise, it is just as hard, if not harder, to find time during the day to contact your attorney with information and to receive updates. It might be tempting to do it from your employer’s computer, even using your work email. However, it is important that you DO NOT. If you do use your employer’s devices to contact your attorney, YOU MAY WAVE THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF YOUR COMMUNICATIONS.

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DOL-Timesheet Application for Tracking Overtime

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), a federal law, certain employees are entitled to earn overtime wages, paid at 1.5 times their hourly pay rate. The determination of who is entitled to overtime is based on a number of factors, including job responsibility and income.

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Second Circuit Affirms SDNY’s Broad Use of “Employer” under FLSA

On July 9, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed an SDNY decision approving individual “employer” liability on supermarket owner of Gristedes Supermarkets, John Catsimatidis for wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) class action lawsuit. Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, 2013 WL 3388443 (2d Cir. 2013); Torres et al. v. Gristedes Operating Corp. et al, 628 F.Supp.2d 447 (SDNY 2008).

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3930 Hits

Borrelli & Associates Settles Whistleblower Retaliation Case on Behalf of New York City Detective

James Griffin commenced his lawsuit against the City of New York for retaliation after he reported a cover up to Internal Affairs. In retaliation, his fellow and superior officers made his life a living hell. Mr. Griffin paid the price for violating the “blue wall of silence.” In what can be characterized as nothing short of victory, Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C., on Mr. Griffin’s behalf settled his lawsuit prior to trial for $280,000. Click on any of the links to read the news coverage of this settlement.

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3349 Hits

Plaintiff’s Claim for Hostile Work Environment Survives Summary Judgment

Many times in the workplace, there is a fine line for conduct that is unfair versus conduct that is unlawful. Creating a hostile work environment is prohibited under a number of Federal discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and Americans Disabilities Act of 1990. Most states and municipalities also have equivalent laws which may provide for even better protection from a hostile work environment, such as New York which has the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law that govern these types of claims and provide even greater protection for employees.

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5473 Hits

The Effect of DOMA on Employers

The Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) is the federal law that defined marriage as being solely between a man and woman. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the fate of DOMA in United States v. Windsor. In that case, the Supreme Court held that the provision of DOMA prohibiting the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Although it is still unknown how the ruling will affect the workplace long-term or how it will affect same-sex couples in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages, the decision has currently resulted in many changes particularly in the way benefits are provided for employees by employers.

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3319 Hits

NY Increases Minimum Wage

Wage and Hour laws exist to ensure that employees receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and set standards for how employees should be properly paid so that they are neither overworked nor underpaid. Prior to January 1, 2014, the minimum wage in New York was $7.25 per hour, which is the federal minimum wage. However, the NYS Legislature has passed legislation which will increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour over three years. Beginning December 31, 2013, New York State’s minimum wage increased in a series of three annual changes, as follows:

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3433 Hits

NYC Considering a Bill that Protects Caregiving Employees

As we know, an employer may not discriminate against an employee for their disability, race, national origin, age or religion in any state under the federal laws. Specifically, in New York City, there are even more statutes that offer additional protection to New York City employees, such as offering protection for unemployment discrimination or offering additional sick pay leave. Currently, New York City is considering an additional basis of protection for discrimination in the workplace: caregiver status. This bill, if passed, would add a person’s caregiver status onto the list of reasons that an employer cannot discriminate against, and it would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees with familial obligations.

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3422 Hits

Does the Law Protect Against Discrimination Based on Obesity?

Until recently, lawsuits based upon obesity and weight discrimination had been largely unsuccessful despite the fact that there are many statistics that indicate obese individuals are vulnerable to discrimination based upon their weight as often as individuals are discriminated against based upon their race. Examples of weight discrimination in the workplace include obese employees facing unfair hiring practices, lower wages, harsher discipline and wrongful termination compared to thinner employees.

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4386 Hits

Court of Appeals Rules: there is an “Intimate Association Right in Betrothal” – An Employer Cannot Discriminate Against You or Who You Choose to Marry

Plaintiff Scott Matusick, was employed by the Erie County Water Authority as a dispatcher. Plaintiff, who is white claimed he was assaulted, harassed, and ultimately terminated from his employment because of his romantic relationship with African-American woman, Anita Starks, who he was engaged to.

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8002 Hits

New Rights for New York City’s Pregnant Women

On October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Bloomberg signed into law the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Local Law 78 of 2013 (the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” “Local Law 78,” or the “NYCPWFA”). On September 24, 2013, the New York City Council had approved the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act by a unanimous vote of 47 to zero.

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3478 Hits

New York Civil Rights

The United States Constitution guarantees every American citizen certain civil rights and personal liberties. Among these are: the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, the right to privacy, the right of peaceful protest, the right to a fair investigation, and more generally-based constitutional rights such as the right to vote, the right to personal freedom, the right to freedom of movement and the right of equal protection.

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3180 Hits

Getting More Than What You Bargain For

Access to the courts is a constitutionally protected fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens. Still, exercising this fundamental right may not always be the best method for purposes of resolving legal issues, or maximizing results. Driven by the freedom and power to design resolutions, the use of mediation as an alternative to litigation is on the rise in employment law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has instituted voluntary mediation programs for employment discrimination disputes.  Used in collective bargaining agreements, mediation has also grown to resolve other employment disputes including discrimination cases, breach of contract and other areas.  To understand this current trend, one must first be familiar with the rules, roles and effects of mediation.

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3005 Hits

Pregnancy Discrimination at the Workplace

While most are aware of the physical and emotional changes women face when pregnant, many fail to realize the changes and effects pregnant women face at their workplaces. Pregnant women may require more frequent bathroom breaks, days off due to pregnancy complications or doctors’ appointments. As a result, many are fired due to requesting the evolving needs that they require in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy or not hired if employers are aware they are pregnant. Federal and New York law prohibit employment discrimination and harassment against pregnant women and provide remedies for such women when discrimination and harassment occur in the workplace or when a pregnant woman is qualified for the job but not hired because she is pregnant.

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2935 Hits

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