When Are Opioid Users Protected by Anti-Discrimination Law?

Addiction to opioids is a prevalent problem that affects people from every economic class and social background, and which remains a major public health problem. In addition to issues with physical and psychological health, people who are dealing with opioid addiction often face problems at work when their problems become revealed. To address these issues, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance to employers and healthcare providers about potential implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on handling employees dealing with current or past opioid addiction. Continue reading “When Are Opioid Users Protected by Anti-Discrimination Law?”

NY Federal Court Strikes Down Rule Limiting COVID Paid Leave

A New York federal court has struck down a United States Department of Labor (DOL) rule that limited who could benefit from a law that granted paid leave due to the coronavirus. The court stated the DOL overstepped its authority by issuing the limitation and said that there was no basis in law for the rule it issued. Additionally, it struck down an interpretation of the law that expanded an exception for “health care providers,” and partially vacated other interpretations of the law which limited people’s ability to take time off. Continue reading “NY Federal Court Strikes Down Rule Limiting COVID Paid Leave”

Employers Can Discipline Newly Unionized Employees According to NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a ruling making it permissible for an employer to discipline newly unionized employees for violations of the company’s disciplinary policy. The ruling overturns a 2016 decision which made it illegal for an employer to discipline a newly unionized employee due to concerns of potential abuse. However, the Board has ruled that employers have no legal obligation to consider whether an employee has been recently unionized before disciplining them. Continue reading “Employers Can Discipline Newly Unionized Employees According to NLRB”

Ten Percent of American Workers File for Unemployment in Three Weeks

In less than a month, more than a tenth of the American workforce has been forced out of their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The job losses represent the single greatest increase in unemployment since the housing bubble burst in 2008, with jobless numbers expected to increase to as high as 20%. Despite some efforts by federal and state legislatures to curtail the effects, workers are feeling the job losses hard, and it’s not clear when people will be able to return to work. Continue reading “Ten Percent of American Workers File for Unemployment in Three Weeks”

DOL Issues Updated Guidance on Intermittent Leave and Telework

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law on March 18, 2020, bringing with it a slew of changes to various labor laws. Among the most significant of these changes were those rules regarding intermittent leave and telework, two practices that are substantially more important now that the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. Employers who intend to have their employees work from home, as well as employees intending to work from home, should familiarize themselves with these provisions to understand how they might affect their business. Continue reading “DOL Issues Updated Guidance on Intermittent Leave and Telework”

NLRB Upholds Employee Cell Phone Ban

Many employers have attempted to initiate rules against employee cell phone use during work hours to curtail texting, using social media, or browsing the internet. Given the importance of the devices in most peoples’ day-to-day lives, courts have generally frowned upon broad bans on cell phone use. However, in at least one narrow case, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been willing to approve an employee cell phone ban. Continue reading “NLRB Upholds Employee Cell Phone Ban”

DOL Issues Final Rule on Joint Employment

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its final rule for joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule helps to clarify an area of employment law that has long been a source of contention between employers and employees, ending contention that goes back at least sixty years. In particular, it creates clear criteria for what a “joint employer” is and what responsibilities they have to their employees. Continue reading “DOL Issues Final Rule on Joint Employment”

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.)
Continue reading “U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Increasing 2004 Salary Levels for Overtime Eligibility”