While it is not uncommon for employers to give assessment tests to potential job candidates, one U.S. company has caught the eye of the media for its unusual vetting tool. Kyle Reyes, Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing, a public relations firm located in Hilliard Mills, Connecticut, created the controversial “snowflake test” as a means of weeding out candidates who don’t fit the company’s culture – specifically, “overly sensitive, liberal candidates that are too easily offended.” However, despite the significant publicity and, in some cases, praise, others have fiercely criticized the assessment and called into question the ethics and legality of it.
On December 21st the Cuomo Administration implemented a new regulation prohibiting insurance companies from refusing coverage for crime-related losses caused by employees. Effective January 1, 2017, the regulation allows businesses to obtain commercial crime coverage after sustaining losses in a situation involving an employee’s dishonesty.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on discrimination in casting calls for the Broadway hit “Hamilton.” Although specifying race, age, and gender is legal in audition calls, the Actors’ Equity Association, a union organization, generally checks the audition notices before going out. The notices for Hamilton, which posted from late 2015, were not reviewed by Actors’ Equity. They have sparked discussion over the formalities and procedures to avoiding discrimination in audition calls.
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.
It is increasingly difficult for potential employees to find job positions after they have been arrested or convicted of a crime. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines parameters of the hiring process to avoid discrimination, including whether to conduct a criminal background check and how to weigh those applicants who have an arrest or conviction record. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers to discriminate based on an applicant’s race, color, natural origin, sex, or religion. It is important to adhere to these guidelines in order to be an equal opportunity employer.
In today’s technology driven society, almost everyone has some type of social media account. While most young people think nothing of the reflection your page might have regarding prospective employment, it is estimated that three-quarters of employers look at applicants’ Facebook presence to see what they’re doing outside of work. While CareerBuilder.com estimates approximately 1 in 10 young people have been denied jobs based off their Facebook postings, there are laws that protect a worker’s privacy when it comes to what these employers may take into account when selecting a new hire.
A new NYC Council bill proposes barring employers from asking job candidates if they have a criminal record, or have ever been convicted of a crime, and is expected to become law in New York City very soon.
The ‘Ban the Box’ bill would will essentially prohibit the widely used “check boxes” on job applications that ask about past convictions. Furthermore, the new legislation would prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record until a conditional job offer has been offered.
It is no surprise that individuals convicted of a crime experience hardships when looking for employment. However, can an employer deny an applicant simply based on the fact that the applicant is an ex-con? Earlier this April, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reminded mega-store Bed Bath & Beyond that those types of discriminatory hiring practices are illegal in New York.
During the investigation, Schneiderman’s office found Bed Bath & Beyond automatically disqualified job applicants with felony convictions without evaluating their criminal records individually, as required by state law.
For years, New Yorkers and individuals around the country have been aware of the ongoing lawsuit that alleged racial discrimination against one of the most notable fire departments in the nation, the FDNY. However, in early March, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration have finally brought the lawsuit to an end.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and incoming Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that the New York City Council will look to expand the Earned Sick Time Act within the year.
According to the Mayor, the updated law would: (i) protect an additional 500,000 City employees, including those in the manufacturing sector, by expanding the paid leave requirement to employers with 5 or more employees starting in April 2014; (ii) expand the definition of family members so that employees could use sick leave to care for grandparents, grandchildren and siblings; and (iii) allow employees to use sick time as they accrue it rather than wait 120 days after they started working.