Articles Posted in Gender Discrimination

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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Thomas Jefferson famously said that “all men are created equal.” As everyone knows, however, not all jobs are created equal, even those with the same title or rank at the same place of employment. A smaller or larger team beneath you and smaller or greater responsibilities can mean extremely important distinctions in prestige, and therefore differences in the overall benefits or advantages of one job versus another. If you’ve received a reassignment that your employer has couched as a “lateral move” that you recognize as really a demotion, and that reassignment happened because of your sex, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, or other protected characteristic, get in touch with a New York employment discrimination lawyer without delay to discuss your options.

L.P. was one of those workers, according to her sex discrimination lawsuit. She had started with the NYPD in 1987 and, by 2018, had risen to the rank of three-star chief and served as the department’s Chief of Crime Control Strategies. In 2019, after the department’s Chief of Detectives was promoted to Commissioner, L.P. expressed an interest in the now-vacant Chief of Detectives role.

The woman did not eceive that appointment, however. (It went to a man.) L.P., instead, was appointed to the role of Chief of Collaborative Policing. Due to a departmental reorganization instituted by the new Commissioner, her new position involved reporting to a new civilian Deputy Commissioner over the Bureau of Community Partnerships.

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Back in 2007, radio host Don Imus got fired after he referred to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, the majority of whom were Black, as “nappy-headed hos”. That incident may have been particularly infamous, but the thousands of women of color working in New York City know that such attitudes are not uncommon. Many women of color face insidious race and/or gender discrimination on the job. Oftentimes, though, it will be something less obvious than being publicly demeaned with vulgar language like Imus’s. While it may have been less obvious, that doesn’t necessarily make it any less damaging to you in your career. If it happens to you, you should take action. Get in touch with a knowledgeable New York City discrimination lawyer to discover what legal options may exist for you.

Take, for example, K.R., an Afro Latina woman of Dominican ancestry working at a Manhattan media strategy and “crisis management” firm.

According to K.R.’s discrimination lawsuit, which she filed last year, the firm’s owner criticized her demeanor on the phone as “angry.” The complaint stated that, by contrast, the woman accused exactly none of her white female workers of having an “angry” phone demeanor.

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Sometimes at work, circumstances may arise that call for you to stand up against improper harassment or discrimination in your workplace. Regardless of whether you were the target of that illegal conduct or a coworker was, the law says you have the right to take action (whether that is filing a complaint, giving testimony, or participating in an investigation) without suffering punishment in your job. If you do get punished, that’s retaliation, it’s impermissible and it’s something that should motivate you to consult a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer.

According to the New York Daily News, one NYPD lieutenant was the victim of this kind of retaliation and received a sizable jury award as a result.

A.O. was an NYPD lieutenant who was a platoon commander at a precinct in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 2015 and 2016, A.O. wrote and submitted three internal complaints on behalf of one of her subordinate officers, whom she believed was being subjected to a hostile work environment because of his ethnicity. (The subordinate officer was a Latino man.) The lieutenant also testified on the Latino subordinate’s behalf at the departmental hearing on the matter.

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