Four Common Kinds of Employer Retaliation

It is illegal under the New York Human Rights Law for an employer in New York State to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, sex, creed, color, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status, domestic violence victim status, military status, criminal or arrest record, or predisposing genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee for making a complaint, either to their employer or to the government, based on discrimination they experience or observe. However, not all forms of retaliation are easy to spot. Here’s just a handful of ways an employee can be retaliated against by their employer:

Being fired or having pay cut

By far one of the most obvious forms of retaliation, an employer accused of discriminating against their employees may simply decide to get rid of the employee who complained about them. Alternately, they may decide to punish an employee by cutting their pay. Obviously, this can have severe economic consequences, and sometimes simply wielding the threat of a firing or a pay cut can be enough to stifle would-be complainants.

Suffering abuse or harassment

Another of the more obvious forms of retaliation, an employer who is displeased with an employee complaint can simply choose to berate, harass, intimidate, or even assault the complaining employee. While, again, these are all illegal, an employer who is already discriminating against their employees may be willing to commit illegal acts to cover up other illegal acts. The goal in harassing or abusing complainants is to either get them to drop their complaints, or to get them to leave the company on their own volition, which would deprive them of any benefits they might otherwise get for having their job terminated.

Getting passed over for promotions or raises

Just as victims of employment discrimination might find their opportunities for advancement within their company cut off, so too might people who complain about discrimination find themselves unable to get raises or promotions, despite the work they put in or the success they have at their job. It becomes a way of quietly smothering a person out of the job, by making it impossible to advance a career. This can be more difficult to prove as people get passed over for raises and promotions all the time, for reasons that have nothing to do with employee retaliation.

Negative employee reviews

An increasingly common way for employers to retaliate against employees who complain about discrimination is to give them bad performance reviews. Employees who previously excelled in their job may find their reviews becoming worse, even if they haven’t changed anything else about their work habits or attitude. The reviews may say they “don’t take direction well,” or that they’re “not a team player,” or that they “lack emotional intelligence.”

If you have been discriminated against by your employer, or have suffered retaliation for complaining about discrimination by your employer, you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf during the legal process. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with forty years of experience in handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

What is the “Right to Work?”

When people talk about labor law and unionization, one of the arguments that often comes up is about the so-called “right to work.” It’s often brought up as one of the reasons not to unionize, and “right to work” legislation has been passed in many states throughout the country. But what, exactly, is the “right to work,” and why do union organizers hate it so much? Continue reading “What is the “Right to Work?””

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Increasing 2004 Salary Levels for Overtime Eligibility

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently proposed a rule that would raise the salary levels for certain employees who are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. It would be the first update in 15 years. Currently, those who make less than $455 per week, or $23,660 a year, are required to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. (This has been in effect since 2004.)
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Sexual Harassment in The New York City Hospitality Industry

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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Study Shows Gender Pay Gap Widens When Taking Bonus Pay into Account

ADP Research Institute® announced it recently released the Rethinking Gender Pay Inequity in a More Transparent World study, which found that the pay gap that currently exists between men and women increases when bonus pay is added into the mix.

The study, which followed 11,000 exempt new hires – both male and female – who worked for the same company from the quarter of 2010 to December 2016, found that, on average, men earn $15,000 more in base salary than women do, which is a 17% discrepancy. When bonus pay is included, bonuses for men are 69% greater, widening the overall pay gap to 19%.
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease May Result In Reasonable Accommodations

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), there will be an estimated 1.6 million new cases of inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed in the United States this year. Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term that refers to intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation that result in anemia, ulcers, diarrhea, bowel obstructions, colon cancer, fistulas, and malnutrition.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibits discrimination against individuals with a qualified disability. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees.  Federal employees are afforded protections under the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). In addition, the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL) provides, “It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to the known disabilities of an employee.” (Executive Law 296(3).)
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Paid Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave refers to when an employee takes time off of work to grieve and mourn the loss of a spouse, child, or close family member. There are only two states which offer some form of bereavement leave to its workers, which are Oregon and Illinois. However, New York may become the third state to offer a form of bereavement leave.
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United States Supreme Court to Take on Pregnancy in the Workplace

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case (Young v. UPS, 12-1226) that has the potential to affect how pregnant workers are accommodated in the workplace.

The case involves popular package and parcel shipping company, UPS, and a female employee who had been working as a driver in Landover, Maryland. After becoming pregnant in 2006, the employee submitted a doctor’s note backing her request for a temporary assignment to avoid lifting heavy packages.

UPS declined to accommodate the employee and doctor’s request, reiterating its policy that drivers must be able to lift packages weighing up to 70 pounds.

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