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White Plains Employment And Commercial Law Blog

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. 

Alleged lies about illness sparks breach of contract dispute

Business disputes in New York can emanate over contractual language and attempts to breach agreements. While in many employer-employee disagreements there is a reactive belief that the employer is always in the wrong, that is not always the case. In fact, employees will frequently violate a contract due to misbehavior, malfeasance or outright lying.

A woman who worked as a vice president at a modeling agency is being sued by her former company because she allegedly lied to commit a breach of contract. According to the filing, the former V.P. exaggerated her husband's illness and stated that she was resigning to provide him with full-time care. In addition, she said she intended to sell her home and move to Canada to assist her husband with his illness. She said she would do consulting while there, but for that she needed to receive relief from her contract as it had a non-compete agreement. After it was given, she went to work for a competitor located not far from her former employer.

Arbitration agreement in employee rights case sparks backlash

Women who believe they have been sexually harassed on the job and had other employee rights violated are increasingly willing to lodge complaints over how they have been treated. This is true in New York and across the nation. Even with the increased willingness to speak up about illegal workplace discrimination, civil rights violations and sexual harassment, hindrances remain in place. One concern that dissuades many from speaking up is forced arbitration. Common in the corporate world and present in other careers, being limited in options and forced to pay significant sums due to forced arbitration can be problematic.

In one recent case, forced arbitration has sparked New York State lawmakers to speak out about how a woman was treated not just by employers and coworkers, but through the arbitration process. In the case, the professional services company Ernst & Young is accused of mistreating a female employee who complained about sexual harassment and illegal workplace discrimination when she filed her case in 2018. The woman was a partner and stated that she was sexually harassed and was subject to wage discrimination. This was said to be prevalent against women at the company with statements made about their bodies amid other inappropriate comments.

Limo and car service accused of employment law violations

The current situation for drivers of taxis, limousines and car service vehicles in New York is fluid. As the industry changes, companies are increasingly streamlining operations and using different strategies to maximize profit. Often, this leaves drivers wondering how they can adapt and earn the same wages they did in the past when there were fewer alternatives and cars could not be summoned with the press of a button. There is an argument for both sides -- owners and management versus drivers -- that the landscape must be defined with greater clarity.

Black car drivers who had a well-to-do clientele are claiming that their company has taken to using business tactics that costs them money. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the car service company that currently oversees the drivers and the company that sold the franchise to the new company. Drivers say they earned nearly six figures before the sale and that has been reduced to nearly nothing with the changes implemented. According to the drivers, the company is not giving them sufficient assignments to earn a living.

Adherence to employee rights with sexual harassment is improving

New York employees who have been sexually harassed in the workplace might take solace in the increased attention and scrutiny to put a stop to it. Research indicates that there has been a reduction in sexual harassment on the job since the #MeToo movement gained prominence. Still, the news is not completely positive as research shows that gender harassment increased in the two years since the #MeToo movement. Those who are still facing sexual harassment or are now dealing with gender harassment should remember they might have the right to file employment claims because of it.

A study from the University of Colorado says that women reported a reduction in sexual harassment from 2016 to 2018. This reduction directly coincided with the #MeToo movement. More than 500 women took part in a survey in September 2016 and again two years later. They stated that various forms of harassment including unwanted looks, touches and general attention had reduced in that time. 25% said they received this type of attention in 2018. 66% said the same in 2016. There was a reduction in sexual coercion to 16% in 2018 compared to 25% in 2016.

As an employee, do you have concerns about the HR department?

Most companies have a human resources department. It is not unusual for individuals who work in HR to become the butt of jokes or a disliked character on sitcoms that involve workplace settings. However, you and many others may have a real-life dislike of the HR department.

If you face an issue at work, such as discrimination or harassment, it is likely your first step was to report the wrongdoing to your supervisor or the human resources department. Of course, as an employee, you may feel hesitant to even file a complaint because you believe that HR is not on your side.

New law makes workplace discrimination for hairstyles illegal

New York employers understand the difficult nature of running a business and how problems with human resources and employee relations can have a negative impact on the workplace and the business overall. To combat that, most employers will have detailed employee handbooks containing workplace policies such as appearance and comportment, and they expect employees to adhere to the rules therein. Recently, California passed a law that outlaws workplace discrimination based on hairstyles. Now, New York has done the same.

The law was signed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. He stated that it was an attempt to avoid discriminatory practices from the past. With this new law, employers cannot mandate that workers alter their hairstyle to conform with the workplace or face termination or not getting the job in the first place. Employers cannot order workers to avoid dreadlocks, braids or for them to straighten their hair. This is frequently categorized as a racial issue for people of color concerned that their natural hair and wearing it as such could cause problems at work.

Famous entertainer and businessman sues over alleged fraud

Creating a lucrative and successful business is the dream of many New York entrepreneurs. To have a brand that is prominent, popular and global is a noteworthy goal. And, it is hoped that through hard work, this goal will be achieved. There are, however, problems that arise even when a business is successful. If other companies do not adhere to contracts, commit fraud or there are other behaviors that are cause for commercial disputes, it could lead to litigation.

The business mogul and entertainer Jay-Z alleges that a licensing firm committed fraud against his companies. The allegations against the business say that it misrepresented its financial position when it made agreements with Jay-Z's Roc Nation clothing company. The companies began working together in 2013. According to Jay-Z (whose real name is Shawn Carter), the company in question provided phony financial reports signifying it had greater earnings than it really did.

Employers must fully understand new sexual harassment laws

With the attention that sexual harassment is now getting in New York and across the nation, it is no surprise that many states - New York included - are tightening up the laws regarding how these allegations are handled. While these steps are intended to protect employees, it is undeniable that they can also make it difficult to conduct business if employers are repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and related violations, and the laws are in place to hold them accountable even if it is a situation that is not so clear.

For employers who are concerned about how the new employment law will impact them, it is crucial to have a grasp of the mandates. With the new law, employers are no longer shielded from liability if there is an employee who did not file a complaint or failed to adhere to the procedures that are required when filing a report. This is meant to protect workers who have been harassed and fail to complain because they were concerned about retaliation. In addition, the harassment does not need to be classified as "severe and pervasive."

Cable company faces illegal workplace discrimination lawsuit

Many cases of employment discrimination in New York are in private companies and involve people who are unknown to the public. Others, however, involve those who are prominent and have jobs that make them well-known in the community. Those who are on television in any capacity will be familiar to the public. If there are allegations that illegal workplace discrimination has taken place, their name recognition will spark interest in the case. It can also give others who have been confronted by similar treatment the idea that they too can file a claim for workplace violations.

According to recent reports, a lawsuit has been filed alleging that the New York 24-hour news station NY1 has discriminated against five female news reporters. According to the women, they were discriminated against because of their age and gender. They say the station reduced their roles and favored younger men and women. The company was acquired by Charter Communications in 2016. After that, the women's careers stagnated. The newscasters' ages range from 40 to 61. They say that the way the company is using them does not cast an accurate reflection on society. The company says that it believes the case is meritless, but a review is still being conducted.

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