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With COVID-19 vaccination rates increasing and cases trending downwards recently, the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is getting brighter. Many New Yorkers are eager to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. However, not everything will look the same. For instance, your employer could require you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work. EEOC weighs in on mandatory vaccinations The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently provided vaccination guidance for employers across the U.S. The agency said that employers can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, employers requiring vaccinations must also provide reasonable accommodations for workers who cannot…
Treading water is a good thing, right? That is certainly a reasonable assumption in a sink-or-swim situation, but swimming in place hardly seems a victory if others are lapping you in the pool. Now, imagine that swimming pool as the American labor market. Legions of male employees in New York and across the country might not readily connect with an on-the-job analogy that underscores simply staying afloat. Many women will, though. And here’s why: According to data compiled by the Pew Research Center, the country’s female labor force has essentially remained at a standstill relative to its male peers in…
Workers in New York whose wages are at or just above minimum wage struggle every day to earn a living for themselves and their families. Things only get tougher when their employer commits wage theft against them. Unfortunately, this insidious practice is widespread among some of the United States’ largest corporations, who tend to target their lowest-paid employees, according to a new study discussed by ABC News. How companies steal millions of dollars in wages every year A review of nearly 15 years of data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed millions of dollars of wage theft each…
Employees have legal protections against workplace discrimination. These protections shield them from unfair treatment on the basis of a protected class. However, discrimination still happens. And when it does, the actions employers do or do not take will dramatically affect whether they resolve or exacerbate the situation. Below are some common mistakes that employers make in these scenarios. They do not take it seriously When someone or reports discrimination to their boss, the expectation is that the company will take the matter seriously. Unfortunately, many do not. Employers might fail to investigate or create a record of an incident. Some…
Employer misclassification of workers as independent contractors – rather than as employees – is a common phenomenon in the U.S. Contractors cost employers far less than employees, as under federal law independent contractors are not entitled to certain guaranteed wages and other benefits. Some estimates indicate that 30% or more of employers misclassify their workers as independent contractors. As the gig economy has grown exponentially in recent years, worker misclassification is depriving an increasing swath of the workforce of protections they rightly deserve. Fortunately, the current administration is making worker protection a priority. Federal changes In January of this year,…
Employer-related sexual harassment cases surface in some of the most shocking situations. Consider a recent California lawsuit, in which a fast-casual restaurant worker alleges that she was pressured into stripping to her underwear at a company-sponsored seminar while strangers and colleagues gawked at her. She filed a lawsuit in February, claiming to be a victim of sexual battery and suffering from emotional duress. The case involves a former worker at a Los Angeles-area Panda Express.  in July 2019. The plaintiff alleges that employees attending a company seminar had to participate in trust-building exercises as a “prerequisite to promotion.” If they did…
Whether employees receive individual tips or share contributions to a tip jar, workers in restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishments often depend on tips to ensure that their pay is fair. In some cases, employers establish a tip pooling policy to distribute those tips among their employees. These pooling policies, however, must meet specific legal requirements. What are the legal requirements for tip sharing? In order to mandate tip sharing and tip pooling, employers must meet specific requirements. For example, under New Jersey law, employees can only be required to contribute a reasonable portion of their individual tips to the…
Technological advancements have drastically transformed every industry. Companies in every space have social media profiles; they do online marketing; they save files and data in the cloud; and most of their employees need some level of technical proficiency. Stereotypes linking age and technical ability Technological innovation can create some problems, though, as it pertains to older workers. In a technological world, older workers may feel that their employers are passing them over or replacing them with younger workers due to their age. It can be tricky to determine whether employer practices constitute age discrimination at work or in hiring. For example, employer…
A recent article by Law360 quotes our principal attorney, Kenneth Katz, as he describes possible consequences of shift changes and lateral transfers being viewed as workplace discrimination if they stem from a place of bias. Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been pushing for courts to rule as such. This would allow for a new and expanded interpretation of Title VII.…
For professional working women, the prospect of starting a family might seem risky. You might worry about limiting your advancement prospects by taking maternity leave. You might even worry that your employer will terminate you when they learn that you are pregnant, in order to avoid having to grant you maternity leave at all. Luckily, a number of state and federal laws protect your ability to start a family without risking your career. Anti-discrimination statutes The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the hallmark federal anti-discrimination statute, to expressly prohibit discrimination…
Employment discrimination based on an employee’s religious beliefs is illegal under federal, state, and New York City laws. The New York Post reports that a 31-year-old former New York City park ranger has filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan alleging that he was forced to leave his job after experiencing discrimination in the workplace based on his religious practice. Reportedly, the ranger’s Eastern Christian Orthodox church requires him to wear a beard, although the rangers do not employees to wear facial hair. The employee alleges that his employer discriminated against him in various ways, including harassing him about his beard, not promoting him,…
The accusations of unfairness and racial discrimination continue against tech giant Amazon, which now faces a federal lawsuit from a current employee. On March 1, a Black female Amazon employee filed a lawsuit against the Seattle-based company, claiming that she and other Black employees were passed over for promotions and that the company discriminately paid her and fellow Black co-workers less than their similarly situated White colleagues. The 38-year-old woman cited continuing discriminatory practices at Amazon, for which she has worked for the past four years. Black Employees hired to lower positions, lawsuit claims The woman alleged that Amazon hired her for…
In the last year, millions of New Yorkers have been working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. A number of companies don’t plan to return to in-office work until the summer or fall of 2021. In the meantime, many employees have needed a more flexible schedule when working remotely, especially if they also have children attending school remotely. Overtime and remote work Yet offering flex time and remote work doesn’t negate an employer’s responsibility to pay overtime to eligible employees who work more than 40 hours per week. Time spent answering emails outside of normal work hours, or completing work…
It is common knowledge that it is illegal to pay women less than men for equivalent work. The federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 is over fifty years old, but despite its ban on unequal wages between genders, an 18% wage differential still exists, explain the authors of a new study on pay secrecy. Visibility to compensation levels The study’s authors cite to research suggesting that when people working together within an organization have knowledge of the pay levels of those with whom they work, the pay differential between genders narrows. Obviously, if a female employee does not know what her…