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EEOC sues Wal-Mart for sexual harassment by co-worker

Most employers in New York are aware that they can be held liable for torts committed by their employees if the act falls within the employee's scope of employment. But what about newer forms of invasive behavior, such as sexual harassment. Many employers assume that they cannot control sexual harassment by employees and that they are therefore not liable for such behavior. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has a different opinion that it has expressed in a recently filed a lawsuit in Rochester, NY, against Wal-Mart Stores East, LP.

The lawsuit alleges that from 2014 to 2018, a Wal-Mart employee regularly made unwelcome sexual advances and comments to a female co-worker. The harassing behavior allegedly included comments such as how "good" the woman looked. He allegedly invited the woman to meet with him and told her that he wanted to have sex with her. The woman told the man that she was not interested, but he continued the harassing behavior. The complaint alleges that the woman reported the behavior to her supervisor but that the Wal-Mart management took no steps to curb the behavior. Instead, the woman was told to "stand up" for herself and to put her "big panties on." The complaint also alleges that several other women made similar complaints about the same co-worker and that management failed to take any steps to stop the harassment.

Intellectual property dispute over comics icon leads to lawsuit

Business litigation in New York and across the United States often stems from an intellectual property dispute. Because certain ideas and creations can have immense value, there are frequently disagreements as to who owns certain properties and how they can be used. When a person who created a creative work is seemingly taken advantage of, the matter can be even more complex if the creator has since passed away To address this complicated aspect of business litigation, it is wise to have legal advice from the beginning, as may be evidenced by one recent case.

There, the daughter of the comic book icon Stan Lee is moving forward with an intellectual property dispute regarding her late father's estate. Mr. Lee died nearly a year ago at the age of 95. His daughter, J.C., is the trustee and filed a lawsuit against POW! Entertainment, the company her father created after an acrimonious parting with Marvel Comics. Prior to his death, Lee had filed a lawsuit seeking $1 billion damages, claiming that he was taken advantage of because of his medical issues. The lawsuit also alleges that Lee signed documents he would otherwise not have signed but for his medical condition. He also asserted his signature was forged. Lee also wanted to regain the rights to his name and likeness. Eventually, that lawsuit was dropped.

Network and former talk show host faces employee rights lawsuit

As the number of employees and former employees in New York who claim to have experienced sexual harassment and other employee rights violations increases, prominent people and employers are becoming more likely to be accused of misbehavior. This is part of the growing trend of people who were previously reluctant to come forward now feeling emboldened to do so and filing lawsuits seeking compensation for wrongdoing. When sexual harassment or other illegalities occur at work, those who are affected should think about their rights and understand that time might be of the essence to file a claim. Consulting with a qualified employment firm may prove beneficial when dealing with these circumstances.

The former talk show host Charlie Rose - who lost his job after a series of sexual harassment claims - is named in a new lawsuit along with media outlet Bloomberg. A female makeup artist asserts that she was subjected to a variety of workplace violations when working for Mr. Rose. While working for Mr. Rose for more than two decades, the woman claims she was abused because of her gender and was subjected to sexual harassment, among other inappropriate behaviors.

Making an anti-harassment policy to protect employer and employee

Employers across the country, including here in New York, must do what they can to provide a safe workplace for all employees. This applies not only to any job hazards, but also to the treatment of workers. The workplace should be free from discrimination, retaliation and harassment.

With the growth of the #MeToo movement and more light being shed on the problem of sexual harassment in every industry, many employers may need to take another look at their anti-harassment policies. Any deficiencies in such policies could result in litigation against the employer and a hostile work environment in which employees dread coming to work because they know they face harassment from co-workers, superiors or third parties such as client or vendors and nothing is done about it.

Soon, New York workplaces must have sexual harassment training

In New York and throughout the United States, sexual harassment in the workplace is increasingly being reported and addressed. After many years of employers and employees being at odds over this behavior, the rise of the #MeToo movement brought new focus on the problem. With that, lawmakers sought to take steps to ensure that workplaces were properly prepared to deal with the issue. Still, with allegations of employment law violations, the circumstances are rarely clear cut. Each side will have a perspective on what might or might not have occurred, and it can be difficult to sort through. When there is an allegation of sexual harassment, much of the focus will be on the alleged victim, but the employer should also be prepared to lodge a defense.

New York and New York City have implemented new rules for training regarding sexual harassment. The state's date for training compliance is rapidly approaching, falling in early-October.. This training must be completed on an annual basis. The city's training requirement was made official in April. There, all employees must have taken part in the training within one year. In the city, businesses were informed via mail. The state also reached out. However, it is still in question as to whether workplaces are adequately prepared to adhere to the new rules.

Allegations of employment law violations spark Chipotle lawsuit

One of the biggest concerns for New York employers is navigating and adhering to labor laws. This can impact businesses small, medium and large. If there are alleged violations of employment law, lawsuits can be filed. Although employees often pursue these lawsuits in their individual capacity, sometimes the city or state can step in to take legal action against a business that they believe has violated labor laws.

New York City, for example, has filed a lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill asserting that it violated a number of city labor laws. According to the city's complaint, workers who are supposed to receive predictable schedules were not afforded that basic right. The company's alleged actions are a violation of the Fair Workweek Law, which was enacted nearly two years ago. Employees who work at some of the company's Brooklyn restaurants have filed a number of claims. According to them, the company did not provide them with an estimated work schedule in the timeframe mandated by law. In addition, those claims allege that Chipotle failed to get approval to make late changes or ask workers to close one day and open the next morning.

World famous chef and restauranteur faces wage claim

Workers in the New York service industry will laud certain benefits of the job. It can provide them with a steady income, flexible hours, and the freedom for other pursuits. Still, there are certain aspects that bartenders, wait staff, and others in the restaurant trade will feel negatively about. They are often confronted with various forms of illegality and mistreatment. That can include harassment, failure to pay full wages, and other forms of abuse. When there is a workplace violation, these workers can be intimidated from coming forward as they feel they cannot afford to lose their job. This is a mistake, and consulting with an employment law firm is imperative to ensure an individual is being fully protected, as evidenced by one recent case.

There, world famous chef Jose Andres is facing allegations that he underpaid employees at his New York food market. The case was filed by a bartender who stated she was paid less than the minimum wage per hour. She wants to be compensated for what she did not receive and requests that fellow employees also receive their wages. The woman worked at the establishment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and she also did extra work for two hours. However, she asserts that she was paid based on tips despite the extra work not being tipped. The restaurant claims that it has always paid its employees what they are owed.

LGBT workers could be impacted by civil rights case

There are many New Yorkers who are part of the LGBT community. In the not-too-distant past, these people were often forced to hide who they were to avoid problems at work, losing their jobs or not being hired at all simply because of their sexual orientation. Laws were enacted to protect these individuals. However, many employers and service providers protested saying that their religious beliefs were being violated by the protections granted to LGBT people. Now, a potential rule being promoted by the Trump administration can provide protection for government contractors who do not want to employ LGBT people. Those concerned about their employee rights or who have had their rights violated should obtain legal assistance.

The new proposal would grant companies that contract with the federal government the right to make employment decisions based on their religious beliefs. If the employee's lifestyle does not fit in with those religious beliefs, it can impact their employment decisions.

Illegal workplace discrimination still impacts older people

Workers in New York and across the nation are now granted more freedom in lodging claims for compensation after their employee rights have been violated. Although it is easier for people to address cases when they have been mistreated, that does not mean certain behaviors will stop and people no longer need to worry about being subjected to employment violations. A recent study indicates that age discrimination is still a problem. Those who have faced it should remember their rights.

The study from Hiscox USA says that more than one in five workers who are older than 40 have been subjected to age discrimination in the U.S. Many of these victims are male. According to the head of the specialty insurer, this is a growing problem for people who are of a certain age and want to keep working and advancing in their employment. Of workers 40 and above, 21% stated they experienced discrimination because of their age. The age at which workers are likeliest to be discriminated against is 51. For the study, 400 workers in that age range took part in a survey.

Federal law protects the rights of older employees

When you go to work, you know that you will give it your very best effort. You are an important member of the team, you have experience and you do what you are supposed to do, but you still may not get the respect that you know you deserve. This is often the case for older workers – they experience mistreatment and discrimination in the workplace simply because of their age.

You may be older, but that does not mean that you cannot or no longer should work. Despite the fact that you are perfectly capable of continuing in your role and bringing value to your New York employer, you may have to deal with certain types of discrimination in the workplace. If this happened to you, you can speak up and fight to protect your rights. 

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