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New York Employment Law Blog

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Title VII Held to Cover Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Seventh Circuit


On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held – in the case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana – that discrimination based upon an employee’s sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII.  The relevant facts of the case were that the plaintiff (Hively), a professor at the college, did not have her employment renewed with the defendant-college.  She claimed that it was because she is a lesbian.  The Seventh Circuit is the first court to make such a holding, finding that an interpretation of the law extends to protect gays and lesbians from employment decisions based on their sexual orientation.  In fact, as recently as last week, the Second Circuit (the Circuit that covers New York State) – in the case of Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc. –  held that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not protected by Title VII.


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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Employment Obligations and Social Media


Social media has become a big part of many employees’ everyday lives. It is accessible at virtually all times, and there is no limit to the information that individuals can share and consume. Social media and employment obligations occasionally butt heads based on what employees post or share on their personal (or even business) pages.

There have been situations where employees have lost their jobs due to what they have posted or shared on social networking sites. In reviewing these stories, you may have wondered—can employers really terminate an employee based on what they post on social media? Do employees have any protections to prevent this type of termination? An Read more . . .


Thursday, March 16, 2017

An Overview of New York Overtime Laws


Like many states, New York has mandatory overtime laws that employers must follow under most circumstances. Generally, you should be paid your full wage plus half of your hourly wage for each hour you work over 40 hours. The 40 hours is based on a payroll week, not because you work over eight hours per day or because you work on a weekend.

If an employer does not pay you these overtime benefits, you may have a legal claim for


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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Employment Contracts 101


Does my business need to rely on employment contracts?

Business owners face a number of challenges, not the least of which is the potential for employee lawsuits. One way to minimize their legal liabilities is to put in place comprehensive employment agreements. In short, a well thought out agreement will clarify the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees.

Obviously, employment contracts are not necessary for all employees, but rather executives, senior management, sales people and others who have a decision making role or an ownership interest. Let's take a look at some of the key elements of an employment agreement.


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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

EEOC Proposes Enforcement Guidance on Workplace Harassment


How can my business prevent harassment in the workplace?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently proposed enforcement guidance to address unlawful workplace harassment under federal anti-discrimination laws.

This proposal is based substantially on an EEOC report issued in June 2016 which encouraged employers to establish and implement comprehensive anti-harassment policies, communicate these policies to employees, provide anti-harassment training, and conduct regular self assessments to prevent harassment.

In short, the guidance seeks to clarify the legal standards regarding harassment claims based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion, age, and genetic information. The EEOC proposal clarifies the agency's position on a wide range of topics and covers specific examples of conduct that would and would not constitute unlawful discrimination.


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Monday, January 23, 2017

Employers Must Use New I-9 Form


Starting on January 22, 2017, employers must start using the new Form I-9.  This replaces the version of the I-9 Form dated 03/08/13. If employers continue to use the old form, penalties may be assessed.  The new I-9 Form is located on the U.S.


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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Changes may be on the horizon concerning ‘salary negotiation’ during the hiring process


Work history, background and education credentials are among the top most often-requested bits of information solicited in a job interview. Intertwined with this conversation is usually the inquiry into salary requirements or salary history – which typically sets the tone for the subsequent pay rate accompanying an incoming job offer. However, lawmakers in states across the U.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Lawsuit filed against Chipotle concerning its ‘English only’ policy


There is, of course, no “national language” in the United States – despite what some may argue. Nonetheless, the popular food chain Chipotle has allegedly implemented an “English only” policy in all its restaurants across the nation – including areas with a predominantly Spanish-speaking clientele and resident base. Now, a former employee of the chain has initiated a lawsuit alleging discrimination based on nation origin, which is a protected class under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 28, 2016

Federal Judge Blocks Overtime Rule


What is the status of the Labor Department's overtime rule?

In May, we reported on the sweeping changes to the so-called white collar exemptions to the overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for executive, professional, administrative and highly compensated employees. Now, a federal judge has blocked the Obama Administration's attempt to extend overtime pay to an estimated 4 million salaried workers.


Read more . . .


Monday, November 28, 2016

A Look at Age Discrimination in Silicon Valley


Is age discrimination a problem in the tech-sector?

As parts of the workforce grows older, age discrimination lawsuits are becoming increasingly common, particularly in industries in which employers tend to be younger, such as the tech sector. In fact, according to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), there have been 90 age-related lawsuits filed against a number of leading technology companies in Silicon Valley.

The wave of lawsuits has been filed against tech giants such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Apple, Google and Oracle, most of which claim wrongful termination, and all of these entities have denied claims of age discrimination.


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Sunday, November 27, 2016

What is a Hostile Work Environment?


The contemporary workplace is rapidly evolving, but this does not mean employees can escape bad bosses, or rude colleagues. Many people mistakenly believe that a hostile work environment is one that is merely unpleasant, however, this is not the case. There are certain legal criteria that determine when a workplace is considered to be hostile.

Legal Criteria for a Hostile Work Environment

Generally, a hostile work environment is one in which the behavior, action or communication of a boss, supervisor, manager or coworker makes it impossible for an employee to perform his or her job. In addition, the hostility must be associated with legally prohibited behavior such as discrimination,


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