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New York City Law Blog

Are sexual harassment claims underreported?

AdobeStock_221300552.jpegWhen one employee makes sexually offensive remarks or belittles another employee, it can create a hostile workplace environment. Employees can file a claim against the offender in an attempt to end the harassment-yet some employees choose not to.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment may be more prevalent than employees realize, which could be due to a lack of reporting by employees for fear of retaliation from their employer.

The murky parameters of the ministerial exception

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The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a pair of consolidated cases from California in which they will consider how far the ministerial exception to anti-discrimination in employment law reaches. The ministerial exception is a court-made doctrine based on the federal Constitution's provisions that separate church and state and guarantee the free exercise of religion.

Could a new year mean new protections for gig economy workers?

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The rise of the gig economy has made it possible for anyone to make some money by driving passengers, making deliveries, or even walking dogs. As businesses reliant on this model have grown into money-making giants, scrutiny of the working arrangement has increased. Regulators and lawmakers across the country are considering actions that protect people working non-traditional jobs.

That includes right here in New York, where some early discussions could pave the way to a new reality for the state's gig economy workers.

Arbitrator may certify arbitration class in sex discrimination claim

AdobeStock_180955484.jpegThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held on Nov. 18 that a private arbitrator in the case of Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. had the power to define a class of plaintiffs to participate in the arbitration. While only 254 female plaintiff-employees asked to arbitrate their original claim for sex discrimination in pay and promotion, the arbitrator's 2015 class certification increased the class size to about 44,000 women.

Those additional class members were female employees who had signed the arbitration agreement but had not joined the original claim's 254 plaintiffs. According to plaintiffs' counsel, the class will ultimately encompass about 70,000 female employees of the giant retail jewelry conglomerate, according to The Fashion Law.

Wage-and-hour issues for holiday delivery truck drivers in NYC

The New York City holiday season is bustling, festive and filled with tradition - think Handel's Messiah, Dyker Heights light displays, West Village holiday windows, Central Park skating, carriage rides, the Met Christmas tree, the Union Square Holiday Market and - wait for it - armies of parcel delivery trucks.

About 1.5 million packages arrive at New York City destinations every single day, reports the New York Times. New Yorkers cannot miss the accompanying congestion, pollution and noise, but other human problems may not be so obvious. The complex pressure cooker that is the patchwork of delivery companies trying to get more packages to their destinations faster is a dizzying logistical nightmare.

Feds find wage-and-hour violations at Queens gas station

AdobeStock_71333490.jpegAt our New York City law firm, we advise employers about compliance with federal, state and local wage-and-hour laws involving payroll issues like overtime, minimum wage, classification of employees and similar issues. Our attorneys provide guidance in drafting employee handbooks and creating policies and procedures that meet these kinds of legal requirements.

Likewise, we provide employees with advice about their potential legal remedies for wage-and-hour violations.

What can workers do when their paychecks are delayed?

paycheck.jpgMost likely, there's been Most likely, there's been at least one point where you weren't certain your paycheck was going to make it to the bank before the bill collectors tried to tap into those funds. In fact, it's not uncommon for people to face this anxiety on a regular basis.

According to Forbes, approximately 78% of all workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. They need their checks deposited on time to buy their food, pay their rent and make sure their bills don't bounce. So what can these people do when employers withhold their timely pay? The answer, as it turns out, is "quite a lot."

Punitive damages may be available for harassment, discrimination in New York

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Employees who work in New York are protected by some of the most expansive anti-discrimination laws in the country. Now, the recently passed Senate Bill S6577 provides one more tool for victims of discrimination, allowing employees to pursue punitive damages against private employers.

You may be eligible to collect more damages than you think

If you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination, know that New York has never been more supportive of your situation, legally speaking. Under the recently passed Senate Bill S6577, individuals forced to endure discrimination now have more protection, including the option to pursue punitive damages from private employers.

When most people think of discrimination cases, their first thought is making the perpetrator (person or organization) pay their debt to the victim. That’s why this is such an important development in the New York State Human Rights Law. This new provision facilitates more recovery potential for the victim.

NYC issues guidance on work discrimination for immigration status

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On Sept. 25, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released a detailed enforcement guidance document that provides examples of employer behavior that would constitute discrimination or harassment of an employee or job applicant based on their actual or perceived immigration status or national origin. The guidance gives employers and employees a deeper understanding of what conduct would be illegal under the New York City Human Rights Law, or NYCHRL, which generally applies to any employer operating in New York City with at least four employees.

While New York City law already protects employees against discrimination based on actual or perceived "alienage and citizenship status" and national origin, this new guidance explains how this kind of discrimination or harassment might occur (the commission explains that because the term "alienage" can be demeaning, it instead uses "immigration status.")

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