Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
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In this day and age, you might think that people in supervisory roles in the workplace would understand that the team members who work for them are not their dating pool. Regrettably, if you thought that, you’d often be proven wrong, as court dockets have no shortage of cases where exactly that sort of misconduct allegedly occurred. People go to work to achieve goals, get paid, and maybe make the world a better place, not to be “hit upon” or propositioned. If you have endured that kind of workplace, don’t think you simply have to put up with it. Instead, get in touch with a knowledgeable New York City sexual harassment lawyer to discuss your options.

J.F., a woman in her 30s, allegedly was one of those workers who endured that sort of sexual harassment. It began in March 2019, when she took a job as a merchandise coordinator with an e-commerce entity in New York City. Allegedly, the sexual harassment began almost immediately.

During the woman’s first week on the job, her male supervisor asked her a string of problematic questions, which included things like “are you a lesbian?” and “do you have cats?” The supervisor explained his question by opining that he “figured at your age that if there weren’t kids or marriage that there must be a cat in the picture,” according to the complaint.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a new “technical assistance document” regarding employment discrimination and harassment that targets people with caregiver responsibilities. This new publication represents the federal government’s recognition of how employers can possibly violate federal laws when dealing with these workers. Here in New York, the state and the city have strong protections safeguarding caregivers in the workforce. If you think you’ve endured discrimination or harassment because of your caregiver responsibilities, then it’s worth your while to contact a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer and find out what you can do.

The new document from the EEOC also recognizes that the numerous unique challenges workers with caregiver responsibilities face has only increased in this age of COVID-19.

An employee can be the victim of illegal discrimination in many ways when it comes to caregiver status and COVID-19. One hypothetical example the EEOC used was an employer that made remote work and modified schedules an option for its female employees but not its male employees during periods when schools were closed to in-person learning. This assumption about who bore the majority of caregiver responsibilities for school-aged children was not only sexist, it also represented a potential Title VII violation by treating women employees better than men employees.

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An old proverb says that a “little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” In few areas is that more true than the law. Some non-lawyers fancy themselves knowledgeable in the law. They may have taken a seminar discussing an area of the law, they may even engage with the law semi-regularly at work, but they may still not know the law. Sometimes, the impacts of that are benign. Other times, especially when it comes to employment law, the effects most definitely are not. If you’re someone who had this kind of experience and suffered workplace harm as a result of it, do not delay in getting in touch with an experienced New York employment discrimination lawyer.

One of the latest examples comes from a hostile work environment case from here in the city. The plaintiff, M.G., worked at an employment agency in Brooklyn. One day, a male coworker swore at a female coworker. That included calling her the “B-word.” The female coworker complained to management.

A week and a half later, during a meeting that included M.G., the male coworker, and the CEO, the CEO indicated that the female coworker would be terminated. The CEO also decided to conduct an impromptu legal seminar, telling M.G. that a coworker could call her that B-word and that such conduct “was not discrimination.”

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A few years ago, many news sources covered an array of stories where “zero-tolerance” rules — either in schools or workplaces — yielded unjust, and sometimes absurd, results. What these stories taught was the peril that comes with applying any set of rules too rigorously without discretion, common sense, and sometimes a dose of compassion. When that takes place in an employment setting and the employee harmed is a person with disabilities, that employer’s intractable action may give that worker, with the assistance of an experienced New York City disability discrimination lawyer, a winning discrimination lawsuit under federal, state, or city law.

Consider the disability discrimination case of K.G., a Con Ed employee in Manhattan. At that time, Con Ed required employees to submit to random drug tests. On Dec. 21, 2016, K.G. tested positive for marijuana. Three weeks later, Con Ed fired her, allegedly because its workplace policies called for zero tolerance for the use of illegal drugs among workers who had been with the company for less than six months.

Seems pretty straightforward on those facts, doesn’t it? Con Ed prohibited marijuana use among employees, K.G. used, so the employer was entitled to make the termination, right?

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When you’re a working woman who becomes pregnant, you face many challenges, even if yours is one of the “easiest” pregnancies possible. Those challenges only multiply if your pregnancy comes with complications. Complications may mean that you have special needs, such as requiring more time off from work than you (and perhaps your employer) had originally planned. When complications happen, the law has various protections. Not only can your employer not discriminate against you because of your pregnancy, but your employer also may not discriminate based on your pregnancy-induced disabilities. If your employer does either (or both) of these things, then you may have a legal case under state and/or federal law, so you should contact an experienced New Jersey pregnancy discrimination lawyer about your situation.

T.M. was one of those pregnant women allegedly harmed by workplace discrimination. She applied for a job as an EMS dispatcher. The employer hired her and scheduled a start date. However, five days before that start date, preeclampsia caused T.M.’s doctors to induce her into early labor and deliver her son prematurely.

Preeclampsia is a condition among pregnant women in which they develop hypertension (high blood pressure,) typically after 20 weeks of pregnancy, despite previously having normal blood pressure. It is a common pregnancy complication, occurring in 5-8% of all pregnancies, and occurring at even higher rates among certain communities of color, especially Black and Latina mothers.

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When you endure discrimination at work and decide to undertake legal action based on that discrimination, some things may happen and there are other things that you reasonably can expect will happen. Once you sue, you can plan on your employer trying to attack your claims in every way possible. When that happens, it pays to have a skilled New York City employment discrimination lawyer to get the evidence you need to shoot down those defense arguments.

A recent pregnancy discrimination case from Brooklyn shows what we mean. C.L. was a woman who, in 2012, had been working for a hospital in East Flatbush for six years as a “community access coordinator.” That December, she sought (and her employer approved) maternity leave. So far so good, right?

However, in 2013, the hospital assigned a new supervisor over C.L. That woman allegedly made “disparaging remarks” about C.L.’s pregnancy and maternity leave. On June 25, C.L.’s first day back from her 16-week maternity leave, the hospital fired her, asserting that her position had been eliminated.

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There are lots of different ways that you might experience race discrimination at work. These can run the gamut from a noose in your workspace to subtle things like being treated less respectfully than your white colleagues. If you believe you have endured some of these more subtle forms of discrimination, you should definitely take action. Start by getting in touch with an experienced New York City race discrimination lawyer to go over your case.

Most anyone who’s started a new job understands how the process often works. Whether you’re dubbed the “newbie,” the “rookie”, the “probie” or otherwise, you’re likely going to be assigned some undesirable tasks. However, when your employer assigns you those duties, not because you’re the newbie, but rather because you’re Black (or a member of any other protected class,) that’s more than annoying… it’s illegal.

D.G. was a Black man whose race discrimination lawsuit was one of those types of cases. He was a certified professional who found himself doing some very low-level tasks, while his coworkers were not.

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Sexual harassment is never OK. It’s not just wrong, it’s also against the law when it happens at work. Those truths don’t change based upon what you do for a living. While the fine details of what does or does not constitute a hostile workplace might shift slightly based upon your type of employment, you’re entitled to be free from sexual harassment on the job no matter what you do. If your work experience includes sexual harassment, don’t think that simply must tolerate it. Instead, reach out to an experienced New York City sexual harassment lawyer.

The laws against sexual harassment apply to the strip club industry, but these jobs are often rife with sexual harassment and sexual assault. A 2019 article from the New York Times cited a study that showed the vast majority of exotic dancers surveyed had experienced sexual assault and/or sexual harassment at work. While the women surveyed danced in Portland, Oregon, it is reasonable to imagine that a study of New York City dancers would reveal roughly similar results.

Recently, a dancer at a Queens club sued — and won compensation — based upon the sexual harassment she endured.

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Today, many employers deal with employee performance and behavioral issues through a system known as “progressive discipline,” which means using a set of graduated or progressively more serious responses to an employee who is not meeting expectations. If you’ve been the target of illegal discrimination or retaliation, your employer’s progressive discipline system may potentially be a way to strengthen your case. If your employer skipped steps or otherwise failed to follow the standard procedure in dealing with you, then those “irregularities” can be a key piece of evidence demonstrating that you were the target of discrimination or retaliation. To find out how this might apply to your case, get answers from an experienced New York employment retaliation lawyer.

An upstate woman’s retaliation case shows pretty clearly how this can work. The woman, L.B., worked in the business office at a Syracuse hospital. In 2016, her doctors diagnosed her with cancer.

On May 4, 2017, the business office director informed L.B. and three peers that the hospital was eliminating their titles but not their positions. The other three workers were given new assignments immediately, while the director told L.B. that her job “was still in ‘formulation.'” Of the three peers who received immediate assignments, all three were younger than L.B. (who was in her early 60s) and all three were non-disabled.

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For about as long as workers have endured sexual harassment on the job, others have tried to rationalize that harassment away. Not every actionable instance of sexual harassment is as obvious or clear-cut as a 1990s Michael Douglas-Demi Moore motion picture. People may try to trivialize your victimization as mere “jokes.” They may try to dismiss it as not valid because the harasser wasn’t trying to get sexual favors from you. Don’t listen to them. Instead, get the knowledgeable advice you need from a skilled New York City sexual harassment lawyer.

Two of the more common excuses used to try to sweep away sexual harassment is that either (a) it wasn’t harassment because the harasser’s inappropriate comments were just ordinary workplace jokes or teasing, or (b) it wasn’t sexual given the genders and the sexual orientations of the harasser and the victim.

These excuses don’t fly according to the law, as a recent federal court ruling in a hostile work environment case again reminds us.

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