Law Blog

Supreme Court Rules that Employers are Prohibited from Discriminating Against Employees Due to Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

US Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court: Employers Prohibition of Discriminating Against Employees Due to Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) cover individuals who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Court took on three separate cases where an individual was terminated after disclosing that he or she was homosexual or transgender. Although the plaintiffs in all three lawsuits alleged that they were unlawfully discriminated against because of their sex in violation of Title VII, they received different results from the federal appellate courts.

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What You Need to Know about New York’s Lactation Laws

Breast pump
What You Need to Know about New York’s Lactation Laws

New lactation laws went into effect in March 2019 in New York City. The laws stipulate minimum requirements for employers and mandate that there be a written lactation room policy for employees. All employers are also required to create lactation rooms that would be available to employees upon request.

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202 Hits

Can I Be Fired for Political Activities?

Packing office
Getting Fired because of Politics

It is an election year, and primary season is upon us in New York. People across the state are becoming increasingly active in campaigning for the candidates that share their political beliefs, and are eager to engage with their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to promote candidates and platforms that align with the principles they believe to be most important in day to day life. It could be that there is a hot button issue you believe strongly about, or a candidate for local or federal office that represents your values, and you want to get involved and support that candidate or platform. Participation in the political process is a core American value, one that this country was founded upon.

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287 Hits

New Guidelines Issued by EEOC in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

EEOC
EEOC Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently unveiled new guidelines regarding federal anti-discrimination laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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301 Hits

COVID-19 and Returning to Work

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Returning to Work as Businesses Reopen in New York

As New York State begins to permit many non-essential businesses to reopen after months shut down to flatten the COVID-19 pandemic’s curve, many employees may fear returning to work amidst the on-going pandemic.  However, there are certain precautions an employer can take to attempt to ensure their employees’ safety during this on-going pandemic.

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300 Hits

Can I Be Fired for My Political Views?

exit employment
Political Views and Employment

The United States is gearing up for a big presidential election in 2020 and most people have strong opinions about the candidates.

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701 Hits

New York City Becomes the First Municipality in the Country to Ban Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants

Marijuana
New York City Becomes the First Municipality in the Country to Ban Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants

On May 10, 2019, the New York City Council’s bill prohibiting employers from drug testing prospective employees for marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols (“THC,” the active ingredient in marijuana) was passed into law. The law, which is the first of its kind in the country, makes such testing an unlawful discriminatory practice under the New York City Human Rights Law.

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901 Hits

What You Need to Know about New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act

paid time leave
The Earned Sick Time Act in New York City

As of May 5, 2018, the New York City's Earned Sick Time Act permits employees paid time off, if they or their family members are victims of domestic violence. Such time off, referred to as “safe time” in the Act, may be utilized to address certain non-medical needs concerning domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking.

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768 Hits

Paid Time Off (PTO) Changes in New York Could Be on the Horizon

Paid Time Off
New York Proposes Changes to Paid Time Off Rules

Paid time off (PTO) is a term used to describe time employees are entitled to pay when they are away from work. PTO is sometimes categorized more specifically as sick time or vacation time or by other similar terms, but this is becoming increasingly less popular.

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4328 Hits

How to Know If You Were Wrongfully Terminated

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Were you Wrongfully Terminated?

Job termination is a fact of life. Employees are let go all the time and in many cases, the reasons for termination are justified.

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1337 Hits

New York State Department of Labor submits proposed regulations on employee scheduling

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New York regulations on employee scheduling proposed

On December 12, 2018, the New York State Department submitted proposed regulations on employee scheduling for public comment. These proposed regulations require employers to compensate employees for unscheduled shifts, canceled shifts and “on-call” shifts.

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915 Hits

What is “Cooperative Dialogue”?

dialogue
“Cooperative Dialogue” in Employment Law

Making a request for accommodations in the workplace can be a stressful and intimidating process for many. Luckily, New York has enacted guidelines to make the process easier for employees and employers.

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1790 Hits

Has Your Employer Misclassified You to Avoid Compensating You?

classify
Employee misclassification is one of the most common problems in the workplace.

In some cases, misclassification is a mistake and an employer just doesn’t understand the different classifications or their responsibilities concerning each type. But in other cases, employers intentionally misclassify employees to avoid providing benefits.

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1713 Hits

New Ruling Expands the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to Cover Small Government Employers

Age Discrimination

On November 6, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, holding that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) applies to state and federal government employers regardless of their size. In Mount Lemmon, a small Arizona municipal fire department terminated its two oldest employees, arguing that it was exempt from the requirements of the ADEA because it had fewer than 20 employees. The Supreme Court disagreed and found that all government employers, regardless of size, are subject to the ADEA. The Supreme Court’s opinion focused its analysis on the phrase “also means” as it was used in the statute, finding that the phrase was additive as opposed to clarifying and meant that under the statute “employer” “also means … a State or political subdivision of a State.” As a result of the decision, employees working for state or federal government agencies with less than 20 employees now have protection against discrimination on the basis of age and it is important for such employees to be aware of their new rights and protections.

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1840 Hits

Transgender Rights in the Workplace Under Fire

Gender
Defining “sex” for purposes of Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as meaning a “person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth"

Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced that it was considering defining “sex” for purposes of Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as meaning a “person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth . . . The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.” This would be an effective refusal by the federal government to recognize transgenders as an entity.

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Final Version of New York’s New Sexual Harassment Policy Now in Effect

metoo

The New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”) released the final version of the new sexual harassment policy, along with training guidelines, on October 1, 2018 and the new, updated policy took effect on October 9, 2018. The final policy contains some changes from the earlier proposed version, most notable however, is that employers now have until October 9, 2019, to provide employees with the mandated training in accordance with the new policy. Other changes include removal of the “zero tolerance policy” language as it conflicted with federal guidelines on sexual harassment policies and removal of the requirement that new hires receive sexual harassment training within thirty days in favor of encouraging employers to complete new hire training “as soon as possible.” Additional changes to the policy from the proposed policy and required training are listed below:

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921 Hits

New Workplace Accommodation Requirements for NYC Employers

Workplace

Effective October 15, 2018, employers in New York City will be required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with any person who may be entitled to a workplace accommodation. This recent amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) expands an employer’s obligation to address possible accommodations with the employee beyond what is required under either Federal or New York State law, and further expands the categories for which an employee may request accommodations.

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1846 Hits

New York Expands Rights for Civil Service Workers

Disciplinary Action

On September 7, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to Civil Service Law Section 75 extending notice and hearing rights to “Labor Class” employees after five years of continuous service. Previously, Labor Class employees (who were not veterans or exempt volunteer firefighters) were not afforded the right to written disciplinary charges and a hearing when facing charges that could impose a reprimand, fine, suspension without pay, demotion, or termination. After the recent amendment, all Labor Class employees with five years of continuous service will receive the protections of Civil Service Law Section 75, entitling them to a disciplinary notice and hearing. These protections are effective as of September 7, 2018, and Labor Class employees should familiarize themselves with their new rights; a brief outline is provided below.

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4790 Hits

Temporary Schedule Changes: New NYC law gives employees more flexibility

schedule

On July 18, 2018, the new Temporary Schedule Change Law took effect in New York City. Under the law, covered employees have a right to temporary changes to their work schedule for certain “personal events.” All employees who work over 80+ hours per calendar year in NYC and who have been employed by their employer for more than 120 days are covered by this law. Government employees, certain collective bargaining employees, and certain employees in motion picture, television, and live entertainment industries are exempt from the new law. The new law also requires that employers place a conspicuous notice of the law in the workplace.

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892 Hits

Sick Time, ADA, and Mental Illness

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Most people understand the law protects people with disabilities. Laws provide protection for consumers just trying to live normal, healthy lives, as well as those who are employees. Employers are legally required to accommodate employees with disabilities.

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1058 Hits

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