Law Blog

Animosity is Not Actionable

The New York State Court of Appeals has held that, "animosity on the job is not actionable." Forrest v. Jewish Guild of the Blind, 3 N.Y. 2d 295 (2004).  Simply put, while discrimination has no place in society, it is simply not the law that every dispute or wrongful act that arises in the work-place is necessarily of a discriminatory nature.  The reality is most of us are at-will employees.  As such, employers have the luxury to be able to treat (or mistreat) their employees in any manner that pleases them, for any reason, or no reason at all so long as it is not discriminatory or retaliatory in nature.  While courts do not equate personal animosity and fickleness with discrimination proscribed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the New York State Human Rights Law, the evidence is judged by a totality of the circumstances standard. The primary motivation for an employer’s seemingly adverse actions can be indicative of discrimination, as can differences in age, sex, race, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or identity, and disability status. Mere personality conflicts must not be mistaken for unlawful discrimination, lest the antidiscrimination laws "become a general civility code." Id. at 394. General mistreatment such as excessive work, unfavorable schedules, being yelled at, receiving unfair criticism or other seemingly adverse actions, have not been held as materially adverse changes in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment. See e.g. Katz v. Beth Israel Med. Ctr., 2001 WL 11064, *14, 2001 U.S. Dist LEXIS 29, *44 [S.D.N.Y., Jan. 4, 2001]. What may seem like employment discrimination may in reality be a non-discriminatory and legal personal vendetta. Still, context may salvage the circumstances and provide proof of discrimination. The question remains, is it discrimination, or does he just dislike you?

  3093 Hits
3093 Hits

To Google or Not to Google, An Employer's Dilemma

The Internet is a revolutionary tool that provides an Employer with a unique new method to evaluate a prospective employee. This freedom to access information through social media and other websites has sparked new lawsuits that are changing the dynamics of Employment Law litigation as it relates to discrimination, retaliation, civil rights and other employee rights.

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  2693 Hits
2693 Hits

New York Employment Discrimination, the Basics

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, each one of them unjust and ugly. According to the U.S. law, employment discrimination occurs when an company or its representatives adversely single out employees or applicants based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or other issues covered by the law.

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  2725 Hits
2725 Hits

New York Sexual Harassment Laws

In New York, Sexual harassment is one of the most wide-spread forms of work place discrimination.  Federal and NY state law makers have provided a remedy in case you have been subjected to such abuse. The laws are clear that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment.  When this conduct affects an individual's employment, or unreasonably interferes with an individual's  performance it creates an offensive or hostile work environment.

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2942 Hits

New York Whistleblower Laws

According to the New York Whistleblower Laws, a whistleblower is an employee who "tells" on an employer, because he or she is reasonably sure that the employer committed an illegal act. A whistleblower may uncover financial fraud, health mistreatment, environmental violations, or anything else that is against public policy or law.

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3713 Hits

New York Age Discrimination, The Problem

Common knowledge says that older employees have more experience and leadership skills than younger ones. Nevertheless, many employers see older workers as also having more problems with health, taking more time off, and being less active and ambitious.

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2612 Hits

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