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What You Should Know About the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC” Act

The media cycle of the past year has been flooded with hundreds of stories of sexual harassment committed by those in positions of power. People are becoming less afraid of sharing their experiences with sexual harassment, which has sparked the #MeToo movement which seeks to unveil the sexual harassment and assault that too often has been concealed. Many of the stories of sexual harassment that have come into the spotlight have been those that have allegedly occurred between employers and employees such as those allegedly involving Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer.

The #MeToo movement helped society understand the true volume of sexual harassment and abuse that goes on that most people are unaware of. In an effort to reduce the prevalence of sexual harassment—and eventually stop it completely—the New York City council has adopted the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” which will offer a plethora of new protections to those who may have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. This act consolidated a series of bills offering many different protections with varying effective dates as noted below:

  • By July 8, 2018, city contractors will be required to report their policies and protocol for handling and preventing cases of sexual harassment.
  • As of September 6, 2018, employers must display, in plain and obvious sight, a poster created by the city that defines sexual harassment, outlines anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities, and how to report instances of sexual harassment. They will also be required to provide new employees with an information sheet regarding sexual harassment.
  • Effective April 1, 2019, businesses with 15 or more employees must hold an annual anti-sexual harassment training course for employees of all levels and ranks. Any employee that works at least 80 hours each year would be required to complete this training within 90 days of the date he or she was hired.

Another major element that the legislation includes is that it enhances the protections of New York City’s existing human rights law. It will now allow employees up to three years from the day of the incident to report the sexual harassment to authorities.

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced New York sexual harassment lawyer. Steven Mitchell Sack, the employee’s lawyer, has handled many sexual harassment and discrimination cases and may be able to help you report your incident and achieve justice. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (917) 371-8000 or fill out our contact form.

What You Should Know Before Hiring an Intern

Whether or not an intern is paid is usually a deciding factor in considering hiring one. While many internships are not paid, labor laws usually allow the intern to work for college credit. However, there are restrictions to this exception. An internship must abide by specific criteria in order to be exempt from the Minimum Wage Act and Orders, which outlines New York’s laws regarding pay and overtime. In order to be exempt from this law, an intern cannot be considered an employee and an employment relationship cannot exist between the for-profit business and the intern. It can be determined that an employment relationship does not exist if the relationship meets all of the following criteria:
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The Supreme Court and The Debate Over Joint Employment

On January 8th of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari to take another look at the case of DirecTV, LLC v. Hall. The issue in this case was whether or not the Fourth Circuit misinterpreted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which ultimately decides minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, youth employment, and other employment issues. The FSLA issue the Supreme Court declined to hear is joint employment.
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AG Files Lawsuit against Brooklyn Car Wash for Wage Theft

On January 25, 2018, New York State Attorney General Eric Scheiderman announced he filed a lawsuit against Tropical Breeze Car Wash in Brooklyn, alleging its managers cheated its employees out of more than $540,000 in wages and deliberately filed false information to the state regarding the number of employees and payroll to avoid paying unemployment insurance. The lawsuit names the owner/manager and managers as defendants.
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New York State’s Paid Family Leave Program Begins

What constitutes paid family leave and whether employers should be required to offer it has been a widely debated topic for decades. Recently, New York State has taken a step forward in this issue by granting employees new rights regarding family leave. As of the first day of the new year, the laws outlining employees’ eligibility for paid family leave have been improved in New York State to make it one of the most generous plans in the nation. The program for New York State will be phased in over the course of the next four years, beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave and eventually growing to 12 weeks of paid leave by 2021.
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5 Workplace Laws Employees Need to Understand

Employment at Will

An at-will employee generally has no right to their job. Many employees believe that there are laws that protect them from being fired without reason or notice, but those employees are wrong. Being an at-will employee means that, absent a contractual relationship, your boss does not have to provide you the benefits of such protections as notice or reason for termination. While this may be discouraging news, this also allows you the benefit of quitting your job with no notice or no reason as well.
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Age Discrimination Is Illegal

Recently, a federal lawsuit was filed against Amazon and T-Mobile, among others, for discriminating against older employees in violation of the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA). According to the complaint, these companies posted recruitment advertisements on Facebook, a social media platform, which targeted only specific age groups.
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Amendment to NYC Human Rights Law For Reasonable Accommodation Requests

A recent amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law now requires employers to handle employee requests for reasonable accommodations in a specific manner. The New York City Council amended the law, which takes effect on October 15, 2018, in response to employers’ failure to acknowledge and appropriately handle requests for reasonable accommodations by their employees. The amendment requires employers to participate in a cooperative discussion with an employee who needs accommodations for:
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FMLA Does Not Mean Employees are Ineligible for Termination

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. It allows employees to take a reasonable amount of unpaid leave time for medical or family reasons such as:

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Paid Sick Leave Law

Under New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law (PSLL), which is enforced by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), any employer with five or more employees must provide paid sick leave, while those with four or less employees are required to only provide sick leave.  The law covers all employees who work more than eighty hours per calendar year and either live or work in New York City. Attending client meetings in New York City constitutes “working in New York City.” This law covers workers that are:
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