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New York Employment Law Blog

How does the Family Medical Leave Act help employees?

Employees often worry about what will happen if they get sick or injured or if something happens to one of their immediate family members. Certain employees in this country have special protections through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

It is imperative that workers know what conditions they must meet in order to be covered. Employers and employees should all be aware of what situations are covered and how they have to be handled.

Promotion offers women scant protection against sexual harassment

The results of a recent study suggest that women in New York and around the country who are employed as managers or supervisors may be even more likely to experience sexual harassment in the workplace than female employees with less authority. The study, which was based on surveys of workers in Japan, Sweden and the United States, was released by researchers from the University of Stockholm's Institute for Social Research. The findings were published online on Dec. 27 by the scientific journal Daedalus.

The study indicates that achieving a senior position in the workplace makes women between 30% and 100% more likely to experience sexual harassment of some sort. The odds increase when women have subordinates who are mostly male. American workers were asked if they had been the victim of sexual harassment within the previous 12 months and were then questioned about 23 types of inappropriate behavior. This is because previous research in this area has revealed that women often fail to recall less serious incidents when asked about workplace harassment.

McDonald's executives allege race discrimination at company

In New York and across the nation, employment discrimination can come in many forms and occur in a variety of workplaces. These can be large corporate structures or small businesses. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important for victims to understand what steps to take to recover compensation for what was lost. This is true even if the complaints are against a massive, international company like McDonald's.

A lawsuit alleges that the company racially discriminated and committed other employment violations against two black executives. The former chief executive is accused of fomenting the culture. The two people who filed the claim are senior executives in Texas. They assert that black executives were purged after the new chief executive and the executive in charge of U.S. business took charge in 2015.

Same job duties not always necessary to show pay discrimination

A basic example of pay discrimination in New York presents two co-workers in similar positions with substantially different salaries. When the person with the lower salary falls within a protected class, this could be a discriminatory pay practice. The wage discrimination experienced by some people, however, might not fit into such a clear cut scenario. A ruling by a federal appeals court has established the standards for possibly proving pay discrimination based on something other than substantially similar work duties.

A female employee, who worked as a vice president, had initially lost her case on a summary judgment. The first judge had dismissed her suit because she could not show that she performed the same work as the male executives at her company. On appeal, the court recognized that the law could accept other evidence of unequal pay. The male executives received compensation above what the market typically supports for their positions, and the company had paid the woman less than the market rate. The employer could not provide any plausible business reasons for paying her less.

Gender pay gap in movies is real

New York residents may have heard about wage inequality between men and women in Hollywood. One of the most prominent examples of the wage gap was the difference in Michelle Williams' and Mark Wahlberg's pay for the film they did together, 'All the Money in the World." According to reports, Wahlberg was paid eight times more than Williams for regular filming and 1,500 times more than Williams for reshoots.

It can be difficult to analyze the gender pay gap in Hollywood because there are so many variables at play. If an actor is an Oscar winner or a proven box office draw, then it may be reasonable for him to be paid more than an actress who doesn't have these qualities. Another factor that might play a role in the Hollywood pay gap is that leading ladies may be more likely to take roles in lower-budget indie films rather than high-paying blockbusters.

CBS accused of gender discrimination and retaliation

In a lawsuit filed in New York on Dec. 17, a CBS associate producer who once worked on the long-running news program "60 Minutes" accuses the broadcaster of gender discrimination and retaliation. The woman claims that one of the show's producers sent her a lewd and inappropriate photograph. When she filed a complaint with the network's human resources department, she says she was stripped of her work responsibilities.

The 63-year-old producer admits to sending the photograph, but he claims that he sent it to the woman by mistake. He says that he intended to send the picture to his sister. The woman says that the photograph made her feel fearful and uncomfortable. The producer says that he reported the incident to network executives and cooperated with the ensuing investigation. The woman claims that human resources personnel advised her to stay at home if she felt awkward working with the producer.

How to approach discrimination in the workplace

Even if you've never had a day of trouble at your place of employment, you could one day find yourself the victim of workplace discrimination. If this happens, it's critical to take the steps necessary to protect your legal rights.

If you suspect workplace discrimination, it's natural to have some questions and concerns. More specifically, you don't know what you should and shouldn't do in regard to protecting your legal rights.

Airline sued over pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination

Changes made to the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2010 require most employers in New York and around the country to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding mothers, and the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits them from treating workers unfairly because they are pregnant. A lawsuit filed on Dec. 10 by a group of Frontier Airlines flight attendants and pilots accuses the Colorado-based carrier of violating these laws. The women allege that they were forced to take unpaid leave long before their babies were due and reprimanded for pumping milk.

The women are being represented in the employment discrimination lawsuit by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys. One of the plaintiff says that she was forced to make ends meet without a paycheck for several months during both of her pregnancies, and a pilot alleges that the airline threatened to remove her from flight duty for pumping milk. Similar complaints have been made by Frontier Airlines workers in the past, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Riot Games will pay $10 million to settle discrimination claim

Employers in New York and around the country may pay a steep price for discriminating against workers who are members of a protected class or allowing work environment to become toxic. The California-based video game publisher Riot Games was sued in November 2018 by two female workers who accused the company of treating women unfairly and turning a blind eye to harassment. Riot Games announced in August that it had settled the lawsuit, and several media outlets reported details of the settlement on Dec. 2.

The reports reveal that Riot Games has agreed to pay about $10 million to cover legal costs and compensate approximately 10,000 current and former female employees. The two women who initiated the litigation will each be paid $10,000. The remaining workers are expected to receive about $6.2 million. Temporary employees can expect to receive at least $500, and full-time workers will be paid at least $2,500. The workplace discrimination lawsuit was filed after a leading video game website published a scathing story about working conditions at the "League of Legends" publisher.

Why older Americans need more protection at work

Making a derogatory comment to an employee who is 40 or older could be considered age discrimination. This is because they are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Generally speaking, older employees are at a higher risk of being terminated, demoted or otherwise treated poorly at work because of their age. This is partially because companies may not believe that they can continue to learn and grow as technology evolves.

Furthermore, companies may be more likely to terminate older workers in favor of younger ones who command lower salaries. Therefore, making jokes at their expense could be seen as discriminatory, and it could result in an employer being held liable for damages.In some cases, an employer could be held liable for not doing anything about an employee or manager making jokes at an older worker's expense. It is important to note that a single comment typically won't constitute discrimination.

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