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New York City Employment Law Blog

At least 11 Nike executives out after sexual harassment scandal

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"There are certain pockets of the company where that jock kind of mentality kind of does exist," says a former Nike designer. "And I guess it spills over into some of the corporate processes."

That may be as good a description as any for the shakeup happening at Nike. So far this year, at least 11 executives, including senior leaders, have left the company after a New York Times exposé, an internal survey and an investigation revealed widespread allegations of discrimination and harassment against women.

Despite advocacy, domestic violence brings down AG Schneiderman

AdobeStock_177748742.jpegThis week, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stepped down after an expose in the New Yorker detailed allegations by four women that he subjected them to physical violence during romantic relationships or encounters. The news came as a shock to many because Schneiderman had developed a reputation as a champion of women's issues.

Schneiderman denies the allegations, but he resigned in acknowledgement that they would prevent him from effectively leading his office at what he calls a critical time. His office had been pressing to change state law to allow prosecution of Trump administration personnel if they are pardoned by the president. That effort now faces an uncertain future.

Were NBC staffers pressured to sign letter supporting Tom Brokaw?

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Sexual harassment often goes unchecked in workplaces with rigidly hierarchical cultures in which subordinates feel they have no choice but to put up with a superior's inappropriate conduct. That same culture can make witnesses reluctant to speak up -- or even to feel pressured to actively supporting the accused. These are signs of a hostile work environment.

Recently, newscaster Tom Brokaw was accused of sexual harassment by two women. One remains unidentified. The other was once a war correspondent for Brokaw's network, NBC.

As "ban the box" spreads, background checks are tricky ground for employers

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Employers have long conducted background checks on job applicants, and for good reason. Depending on the position, previous actions by an employee may reflect badly on the company if they come to light. Some jobs require a background check on all potential employees.

While employers have an incentive to conduct background checks, they can also be unfair to employees. This is particularly true when a background check generates a false positive or the company fails to conduct them in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Controversial report finds no systemic discrimination at WNYC

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Public radio station WNYC and its parent company, New York Public Radio, have recently faced multiple allegations of inappropriate conduct, sexual harassment, and bullying. Several popular hosts were accused of impropriety by co-workers and guests, and a number were put on leave and then fired. An internal probe revealed additional incidents and indicated that management was aware that at least some of the programs were facing such problems.

The bad publicity appeared to come down on Laura R. Walker, president and chief executive of New York Public Radio, and other top managers. Last year, Walker said that she had "prioritized growth and content and programming over investment in some of the processes and people." Observers expected Walker to be held responsible.

Using the Contents of a Safe Deposit Box to Satisfy a Judgment

Using the Contents of a Safe Deposit Box to Satisfy a Judgment By Kenneth J. Katz

Contrary to popular belief, seizing houses and cars and freezing bank accounts are not the only ways to enforce a judgment.

There are other creative avenues to pursue against a debtor who may or may not have liquid funds to satisfy a judgement, including issuing a subpoena with restraining notice to the debtor's bank and seizing the contents of his or her safe deposit box.

Federal judge rules Uber limo drivers are independent contractors

AdobeStock_92164785.jpegPart of what makes Uber, Lyft, Grubhub and other "gig economy" companies so profitable is that they have relatively few employees. The vast majority of these companies' workforces are made up of independent contractors. Since they are not employees, they are not entitled to minimum wage or overtime protections, much less workplace benefits such as workers' compensation, access to unemployment insurance, shared payroll tax liability or employer-sponsored healthcare.

If gig economy companies can avoid paying for those benefits by classifying their workers as independent contractors, why doesn't everybody do it? There are a couple of main reasons. One is that our government put those workplace benefits in place for a reason, and it's bad public policy to let employers avoid them. Second, determining who is an employee vs. an independent contractor is not up to the organization -- it's a legal question.

9th Circuit: Salary history doesn't justify gender gap in pay

AdobeStock_72205790.jpegAccording to the Pew Research Center, an average woman working in the United States makes about 82 cents for every dollar a male peer makes for doing the same work. Some of that pay gap can be explained by differences in choice of occupation, educational attainment, or work experience, but the majority of the gap is likely the result of gender discrimination.

One of the problems that women face in attaining more equitable pay is that any pay disparity in earlier jobs can continue to depress their wages over a lifetime. This is because many, if not most, employers base new hires' pay in part on their salary history. If a woman receives lower pay in an earlier job -- whether due to bias or not -- that lower pay can be reflected in a lower salary at every subsequent job. An early salary disparity between men and women could thus lead to an enormous pay gap over the course of a career.

NY harassment laws change in response to #MeToo, #TimesUp

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One of the most notorious revelations of sexual misconduct in the #metoo movement was the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Accused by numerous assistants, actresses, and others of sexual harassment and sexual assault, Weinstein and his associated film production companies used nondisclosure agreements to aggressively keep his behavior quiet.

According to Zelda Perkins, a former assistant to Weinstein, her nondisclosure agreement was "morally lacking on every level." Mr. Perkins recently spoke out against nondisclosure agreements to the British Parliament.

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