Recently, a New York State Court of Appeals restored a gender discrimination case against a wellness clinic. Both defendants were co-owners of the establishment and were husband and wife. The husband had hired the plaintiff in the case as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. The husband acted as the plaintiff’s supervisor and had a professional relationship during her tenure. However, he told Plaintiff that his wife was jealous because she was “too cute.”
Restrictive covenants are provisions in employment agreements that prohibit a person from working for a competitor after leaving his or her employer. The effect of such clauses varies greatly. In addition from limiting a former employee’s job opportunities, a restrictive covenant allows an employer to restrict the former employee from starting a business or forming a venture with others that competes against the former employer; contacting or soliciting former or current customers or employees of the former employer; and using confidential knowledge, trade secrets and other privileged information learned while working for the former employer. Many employers also place time and geographical restrictions in these covenants.
Effective January 30, 2014, a new statute in New York City requires employers with four or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to a pregnant employee or an employee recovering from childbirth or a related medical condition if the employee requests an accommodation and the accommodation will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of her job.
Specifically, on October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Local Law 78 of 2013 and in the last few months, as part of its obligations under the new law, the New York City Human Rights Commission has released a written notice that employers must provide to:
• All new hires at the start of the employment; and
• All current employees on or before January 30, 2014