Navigating the contemporary workplace has become increasingly complex due to numerous local, state and federal laws governing the relationships between employers and employees. These laws are designed to address concerns such as harassment, discrimination, retaliation as well as wage and hour claims.
The law offices of Yale Pollack, P.C. represents employers and employees on Long Island and in the New York area regarding a wide range of work related issues. We are well versed in state and federal employment laws and are dedicated to helping employees protect their rights while providing advice and counsel to employers on how to manage the workplace in accordance with these laws.
Although all employees have a right to a workplace that is free from both sexual and nonsexual harassment, workers continue to be harassed based on their sex, race, age, color and other legally protected characteristics.
Sexual Harassment - There are two types of sexual harassment. The first is referred to as "quid pro quo" which occurs when an employer demands sexual favors in exchange for a job, raise, promotion, or other employment benefit. This form of sexual harassment also occurs when an employee is disciplined or fired for refusing sexual advances or when an employer gives a negative performance evaluation to an employee who rejects a sexual advance.
The second type of sexual harassment occurs when an employee is exposed to a pattern of unwanted sexual behavior, comments or visual displays that create an offensive or distressing atmosphere, also referred to as a “hostile work environment.”
In order to bring a sexual harassment claim, an employee must demonstrate that he or she has complained about the behavior to a supervisor and that managers failed to take action to stop the offending behavior.
- Nonsexual Harassment -
This type of harassment involves offensive comments, jokes and other behavior that is intended to intimidate an employee based on his or her age, race, national origin, disability or other legally protected characteristic and results in a hostile atmosphere.
Proving a hostile work environment under state and federal law requires an employee to show that conduct was so severe or pervasive that it altered the terms or conditions of employment. Under New York City law, however, the individual only needs to show that he or she was treated "less well" than others because of the defined trait. On the other hand, an employer can defend a charge by demonstrating the conduct was limited to "petty slights" or "trivial inconveniences."
As the contemporary workplace has become increasingly diverse, it is essential for employees and employers to understand their rights and responsibilities under a variety of federal and state laws, including:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of legally protected characteristics when making decisions regarding hiring, terminating, promoting, demoting, compensating, and any other terms and conditions of employment.
If you have been the target of workplace discrimination, before bringing a lawsuit, you must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While the deadline is generally within 180 days of the discriminatory act, the time period is extended to 300 days because local and state laws prohibit employment discrimination based on the same characteristics as the federal laws.
If you complain about discrimination or harassment or other workplace violations, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate by taking any action that adversely affects your employment, including discipline, negative evaluations, issuance of warnings, salary reduction, demotion, or reassignment, and firing.
Retaliation may also be more subtle, such as changing work shifts or job assignments, or involve hostile attitudes or behavior by managers, supervisors, or coworkers toward an individual who has made a complaint.
Wage and Hour Claims
In New York, employers are required to pay their employees according to state and federal mandatory wage and hour laws, including:
The Fair Labor Standards Act
New York State Minimum Wage Act
The Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA)
The New York Labor Law
Wage and hour claims can arise for a variety of reasons, including minimum wage violations, overtime pay violations, failure to pay for off-the-clock work, breaks or meal time, misclassification of exempt and non-exempt employees or independent contractors.
The law offices of Yale Pollack, P.C. represents employees in employment harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims and fights for those who have not been properly paid their wages including commissions, paid time off and overtime. We are keenly aware that employers have an unfair advantage because they rely on attorneys and human resources teams when defending claims. Our firm has the skills and resources to level the playing field. We have a proven track record of successfully pursuing claims and helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
We provide advice and counsel to small businesses, midsize and large companies on the preparation and review of employment policies and manuals to ensure compliance with state and federal law. We also offer comprehensive services that include helping clients design and conduct management training programs to prevent potential problems and the protocols for addressing complaints that may arise. Our firm also represents employers in hearings before the EEOC, the New York State Division of Human Rights, Department of Labor investigations and if necessary litigation in the state and federal courts.
The Law Offices of Yale Pollack serves clients in the New York area including Manhattan, Queens and Nassau and Suffolk Counties.