New York City is an icon for the rich and famous. It is also known for its extravagant restaurants and exclusive nightlife. However, for many young women and men working in the NYC hospitality industry, incidents of sexual harassment are very common. According to a recent report, 8 in 10 hospitality workers have experienced being sexually harassed.
There are many federal laws, as well as many state statutes and city ordinances that govern sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the law, any unwelcome sexual advances, comments or actions constitute sexual harassment. Advances may be by a co-worker, supervisor, or anyone else in a place of authority. When a person brings an issue of sexual harassment to the attention of a superior or boss, the employer is responsible for addressing the problem and taking action. If not, an employer will be liable regardless of being directly involved in the sexual harassment.
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The United States has developed a system of laws and regulations that have contributed to safeguarding an employee’s status in the workplace. These laws protect employees from illegal hiring and firing and allow employees to bring civil cases in court against their employers for unfair labor practices. Federal statutes pertaining to employment law include, but are not limited to:
- Fair Labor Standards Act;
- Family and Medical Leave Act;
- Civil Rights Act of 1964; and
- Americans with Disabilities Act.
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President Obama announced on June 20, 2014 that he has signed an executive order to end discrimination in hiring based upon sexual orientation for federal contractors. The executive order will apply to any private businesses that enter into a contract with the United States government.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers and job applicants based on sex, race, color, religion, or national origin. However, the act doesn’t expressly prohibit employer discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity bias.
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