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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Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was created to protect women from workplace discrimination due to her pregnancy. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace may involve any of the following:
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Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

Across the country, more employers are hiring individuals on an as-needed basis.  This often leads to denying workers benefits such as health insurance, overtime, and sick pay, among others. Hiring employees on an as-needed basis may be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department of Labor has set forth a legal test to determine whether or not a worker is considered an employee or a contractor.
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What Employees Should Know About Employer Medical Information Requests

Employees get asked questions from their employers on a day-to-day basis. Some questions are innocent, while other questions may seem a little more personal. Either way, employees are not usually hesitant to answer employer questions, as they assume that any question asked must be necessary for the employer to know. While in many cases this may be true, when it comes to prying into an employee’s medical information, there are laws that protect employees from having to disclose. Continue reading “What Employees Should Know About Employer Medical Information Requests”

Sex Stereotyping In The Workplace

According to federal anti-discrimination laws, gender identity and gender expression are not protected categories. However, New York City’s statute on employment anti-discrimination includes gender identity and gender expression as protected categories. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex stereotyping, which may now provide a basis for claims. Continue reading “Sex Stereotyping In The Workplace”

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Public Portal

On November 1, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a public portal that will give people online access to inquiries about discrimination. “The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.” The public portal will make EEOC information, as well as personal charge information, easily accessible. The features included in the public portal are currently available for all newly filed charges and any charges that were filed on or after January 1, 2016 that are currently in investigation or mediation. Continue reading “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Public Portal”

New York City Human Rights Law

In 2016, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights experienced a sixty percent increase in complaints relating to discrimination and harassment.

The New York City Human Rights Law is a statute that provides an individual with protections in addition to federal and state regulations. It addresses discrimination in the workplace, housing complexes, public spaces, harassment by law enforcement, and retaliation.  Furthermore, it covers employment discrimination against all New York City workers and even interns. Also, it establishes protected classes, which include:

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Hicks v. Tuscaloosa

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was put in place to prevent discrimination against a woman for being pregnant. The PDA states that there can be no discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” Related medical conditions are used as an overreaching term and therefore includes the issues that come with breastfeeding, as it is intrinsically intertwined with pregnancy. Stephanie Hicks, the plaintiff in Hicks v. Tuscaloosa case, was denied accommodations because of her pregnancy-related medical condition and ultimately resigned from her position.

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U.S. Appeals Court Rules That LGBT Workers Are Protected From Bias

Recently, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that a civil rights law from 1964 protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees from workplace discrimination. The 8-3 decision is the first ruling by the federal appeals court to recognize that law as protecting the rights of LGBT individuals in the workplace.

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