Articles Posted in Gender Discrimination

A well-worn aphorism posits that “just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.” This truth applies to lots of areas of life, including legal matters. In this country, the law allows you to pursue your civil case without an attorney. However, entrusting your workplace discrimination case to someone who’s not familiar with the law and the rules of court procedure (which includes most victims of discrimination) can often be costly. It may cost time, it may cost money, or it may cost you your entire case. Rather than incurring these risks, entrusting your case to an experienced New York City employment discrimination lawyer may be the wisest investment you ever make.

As an example, there’s the case of T.S., an elementary teacher in New York City’s public schools. While T.S.’s lack of attorney didn’t destroy his entire sexual orientation discrimination case, it arguably did cost him in terms of securing success more completely and efficiently.

For three years, the teacher earned evaluations of “effective” and “highly effective.” Then, in the fall of 2019, one of the teacher’s fourth-grade students allegedly engaged in inappropriate comments like threatening to “slap the gay out of” him. According to the teacher, he reported each instance but the principal never corrected the student and never disciplined him.

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The COVID-19 pandemic impacted all aspects of life, including people’s work lives. For many, 2020 represented the first time they entered the world of working remotely. Working from home comes with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks that have been discussed exhaustively over the last two-plus years. Whether you view remote work as a “plus” or a “minus,” it’s important to recognize that your employer can violate anti-discrimination laws if they allow (or prohibit) remote work on an impermissible basis, such as green-lighting it for white workers but turning down Black employees. A knowledgeable New York race discrimination lawyer can help you assess your circumstances to determine if what you experienced was illegal employment discrimination.

Several Black employees of New York City’s Department of Buildings alleged that was exactly what happened to them. The Black workers alleged race-based discrimination across multiple areas, ranging from discipline to promotions to training opportunities to city vehicle usage to overtime opportunities. According to the plaintiffs, specific instances of discriminatory treatment included unwarranted disciplinary write-ups of Black workers, denial of access to city vehicles, and excessive scrutiny of their requests for medical accommodations.

On top of those things, during 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, two white supervisors allegedly allowed white employees to work from home but forced three of the plaintiffs to work in the office. Furthermore, the supervisors forced one Black employee to share a vehicle with “coworkers who had been exposed to COVID.”

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Telling a coworker to “smile more” or generally exhorting someone to “smile!” might seem like an effort to encourage positivity but, for many women in the workplace, it comes across as something very different; namely, controlling, insulting, and sexist. The reality is that people in the workplace target comments like “smile” or “you should smile more” toward women far more often than men. Rather than benign, these comments may represent crucial proof in a woman’s workplace sex discrimination case. A knowledgeable New York City sex discrimination lawyer can help you assess how your facts may potentially be the foundation of a winning employment discrimination lawsuit.

S.E. was a woman and a physician who allegedly encountered that kind of illegal bias in her workplace. She wasn’t just any female doctor, either; she was a highly accomplished and board-certified specialist in rheumatology, having co-owned a successful medical practice for many years.

In 2014, she joined the health system of a major New York City university, assuming a role in the faculty practice group. Three years later, two vice presidents convened a meeting with the rheumatologist to discuss her “purportedly deteriorating relationships with her colleagues.” At that meeting, the vice presidents, both of whom were men, advised the physician that she should smile more at work.

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The phrase “holistic approach” is popular in many fields these days, from education to healthcare to business. The word holistic, according to the Oxford Dictionary, means “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” What does that have to do with employment law? More than you might think, especially if you have been the victim of a pervasively hostile work environment. A recent hostile work environment case from just to our north reinforces the rule that, in hostile work environment cases, the courts must consider the misconduct not as a series of separate events but rather as a single picture to be assessed holistically. Whether the harassment you endured was pervasive or was less frequent but more egregious, a knowledgeable New York City hostile work environment lawyer can help you get the relief you deserve.

The employee in the case, V.M., was a machine equipment operator in the highway department of a town in Rockland County. The operator’s decade-long time on the job was permeated with a wide array of acts of sex discrimination and harassment, according to her lawsuit. One supervisor allegedly barred her from using the women’s restroom in the administrative portion of the highway department office, thereby forcing her to change clothes in a closet infested with rats.

A non-supervisory male member of another crew allegedly tried to close V.M.’s fingers in doors and blocked her pathway in the parking lot. A foreman on a different road crew “bullied [V.M.] by making “disgusting noises” when she passed him and blocking doorways she tried to enter,” according to the complaint. That foreman also allegedly yelled at V.M. for refusing to drive a truck that she’d previously identified as needing maintenance work.

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Bias and discrimination have been part of the hiring process for as long as hiring processes have existed. Some employers have recently identified a potential solution: hiring done, not by people, but by AI (artificial intelligence.) It’s the perfect answer, right? Who could be more objective and unbiased than a computer? As the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Justice Department warned employers recently, using AI in hiring may not be a completely foolproof solution, and employers should proceed with caution lest they violate disability discrimination laws. Whether you were rejected by Mr. Smith, Ms. Jones, or Watson the Computer, if you think your disability played a role in that rejection, you need to get in touch with a knowledgeable New York City disability discrimination lawyer.

The guidance document, which came out earlier this month, was the federal response to employers who have begun using software that deploys algorithms and AI in parts of the new employee selection process. Algorithms and AI might be employed, for example, in administering online tests required of applicants, scoring applicants’ resumes, and making decisions about whether a particular applicant has or has not met the job’s required qualifications.

This all sounds pretty straightforward, so how could it be discriminatory? There actually are many different ways. The guidance document cited the example of an employer using “facial and voice analysis technologies” to evaluate applicants. While seemingly innocuous on the surface, this part of the process could have the effect of rejecting a person with a speech impairment, or a person with autism (whose eye contact and facial expressions might differ from those of non-disabled, neurotypical candidates,) even though those applicants with disabilities actually were qualified for the job.

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A recent ruling in a case involving female servers at a Brooklyn diner is important and instructive for several reasons. Not the least of which is that it reminds readers that the standards for proving sex discrimination or sexual harassment are different under the New York City Human Rights Law as opposed to state or federal law. Understanding the differences between the NYCHRL, the New York State Human Rights Law, and federal law can be crucial to your sex discrimination or sexual harassment case, so make sure that, before you file, you retain the services of an experienced New York City sex discrimination lawyer.

During her time working at the diner in Brooklyn, B.S. allegedly endured a variety of gross sexual improprieties and impositions. According to the server’s sexual harassment complaint she filed in federal court, her male supervisor once followed her into the women’s restroom, where he “cornered” her and exposed himself to her. On another occasion, that man allegedly asked B.S. to touch his genitals.

Unfortunately, the harassment was not limited to that supervisor. Other male workers at the diner allegedly touched the woman “in sexually inappropriate ways” and also would “leer and jeer at her in a sexual manner.” The server complained to other supervisors but, according to the lawsuit, they simply laughed at her. Not long after that, the diner fired B.S.

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If you believe that your employer has used its rules to discriminate against you because of your gender, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable New York City gender discrimination lawyer to discuss your options. The law has multiple different ways to prove gender discrimination, which means that there are multiple different avenues available.

There are two primary ways that an employer’s policies can be the basis of gender discrimination. One is if the policies specifically target and harm a protected group of which you are a member. “Women need not apply,” for example, is an example of gender discrimination on its face.

Other times, gender discrimination involves a facially neutral policy and more subtle discrimination. The discrimination is in, not the rule itself, but the way your employer goes about enforcing that facially neutral policy.

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Being pregnant can feel like an extremely vulnerable time. That may include feeling vulnerable with regard to your and your family’s financial security. Losing one’s job due while pregnant is a very real concern for many. Sometimes, those pregnant women are just the victims of bad luck. A lot of times, though, those women are the victims of something more nefarious, and that something is pregnancy discrimination. If that’s happened to you, a knowledgeable New York pregnancy discrimination lawyer can help you determine if you potentially have a winning case.

Here are two recent cases from the federal court system that provide some clear insight into what is — and what isn’t — a powerful case of pregnancy discrimination.

In the more recently resolved pregnancy discrimination matter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a Long Island-based company that leased storage containers. That company had, in early April 2018, hired a woman who was 12 weeks pregnant at the time. The woman wasn’t “showing” yet and she did not divulge the pregnancy to her employer.

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We all are aware that the law bars workplace discrimination based on a worker or job applicant’s sex, race, age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, caretaker status, etc. Real-life has taught us that actual instances of discrimination are not always clearly delineated along these characteristic categorical lines. Certain forms of discrimination may be, for example, unique to Latina women… or Asian women… or gay Black men. Fortunately for workers in this state, the law recognizes something called “hybrid” discrimination, meaning a case of “race plus,” “sex plus,” “ethnicity plus”, etc. discrimination. If you think that was the kind of discrimination you endured at your job, you should get in touch with an experienced New York workplace discrimination lawyer and find out how best to pursue your case.

Just a few weeks ago, we had a ruling in a discrimination case just like that here in New York City. The plaintiff, C.S., worked at a hair salon and spa in Manhattan that specifically catered to women with curly hair. C.S. worked as a salon manager starting in the summer of 2015 until she was fired in the summer of 2018.

Along the way, the manager alleged that she suffered multiple forms of discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination during her 2015-16 pregnancy and caregiver discrimination after she returned following maternity leave. The manager also detailed a long list of occasions of discrimination where her white female supervisors treated her less favorably than her similarly situated white female colleagues.

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Women across almost all career fields have experienced sexual harassment. Recent news reports appear to indicate that, in many of the tech fields, workplaces are especially rife with sexual harassment. Whether you are a woman in a STEM field working in a workplace heavily dominated by men or you work in a place where the vast majority of employees are women, you are not immune from sexual harassment on the job. If that has happened to you, do not delay in getting in touch with a knowledgeable New York City sexual harassment lawyer.

Many people are familiar with the social media hashtag #gamergate, which refers to incidents of women in the gaming community being targeted for harassment and discrimination because of their gender. That problem of harassment and discrimination against women within the world of gaming, based on recent reports, extends beyond just online communities and also includes gaming workplaces.

One of the more recent examples of this problem within the field of gaming was a company based in Southern California. The alleged sexual harassment was so widespread that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) undertook a two-year investigation and, based on what the department found in that investigation, brought a lawsuit against the company this past summer, Slate reported.

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