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New York Employment Law Blog

Uber facing questions regarding workplace policies

Many people in New York use Uber or similar services to get to work or school. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the company is under investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender discrimination related to its hiring practices and pay policies. Uber says that it has taken steps to make sure that everyone is treated equally.

For instance, the company pointed to its inclusion reports and the fact that it made changes to its employee review system. It also claims that it relies on market data when determining how much to pay its workers. Uber says that its people are now paid based on job title and tenure regardless of their race or gender. The company's former CEO left the company in June, and he was pushed out in part because of a blog post asking for an investigation into the company's culture.

Senior official at EEOC calls age discrimination 'open secret'

Economic news in New York might boast of low unemployment, but older workers continue to face challenges in the workplace or while job hunting. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act officially protects workers over age 40 from unfair treatment, but age discrimination remains a leading cause of complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A senior adviser at the organization referred to age discrimination as an "open secret."

Violations of the ADEA frequently involve harassment of older workers, discriminatory firings and job terms and conditions that target older people with policies like mandatory retirement. A report on the problem issued by the EEOC noted that some lawsuits stem from intersectional claims from people who were discriminated against for two or more illegal reasons, like gender and age.

Pregnant employees still facing workplace discrimination

While many New York residents may believe that pregnancy in the workplace is no longer an issue for many expecting workers, pregnancy discrimination still often occurs in workplaces across the nation. In fact, some of the largest companies and corporations systematically discriminate against pregnant employees by refusing pay increases, passing them over for promotions or even terminating them.

In many cases, employers do not provide additional breaks for pregnant employees who are in physically demanding jobs. Some workers may not even be allowed to carry water or a snack with them while they work. Further, there are many studies that have found that each child a pregnant employee has results in a 4 percent decrease in her wages. For men who become fathers, on the other hand, the studies show that their income increases by 6 percent.

Tip sharing versus tip pools: How sharing impacts workers

If you work as a waiter, waitress or other person in a restaurant, you may know well about tip pooling. In some locations, restaurants share all collected tips equally among employees who already receive tips and rely on them for their wages.

Tip sharing, on the other hand, is drawing negative news because of the potential to lose part of those tips to those who are on normal hourly wages. Tip pooling, on the other hand, is common but normally at the discretion of a server.

How to combat bullying at work

Those who have bullied at work have several options for how they want to handle the situation. In some cases, a New York worker may choose to just ignore the situation and hope that a harasser stops his or her behavior. However, if ignoring the situation doesn't work, it is important to know how to take action. As a general rule, someone who feels unsafe at work will want to discuss the situation with the employer.

This could be done by speaking with a manager or the head of the HR department assuming that these aren't the parties engaging in the abuse. If talking to someone within the company doesn't work, it may be possible to make a compliant with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They will accept the case if it relates to something like age discrimination or harassment based on race, gender or sincerely held religious beliefs.

Women continue to face a gender pay gap

Even 55 years after the Equal Pay Act was first signed into law in 1963, many women working in New York and across the country continue to face a gender pay gap. This issue continues to affect a broad swath of American women, particularly women of color who face multifaceted elements of discrimination in many cases. Every year, advocates draw attention to this issue by marking Equal Pay Day, indicating the day to which an average woman needs to work to make up for the pay gap with an average man from the prior year.

While the most commonly cited figure for the gender pay gap indicates that women earn $0.79 for every dollar earned by a man, that number holds true primarily for white women. The wage and hour pay gap is even more notable for women of color. Black women earn $0.63 for every dollar earned by a white man while Native American women earn $0.57 and Latina women earn $0.54. There are a number of reasons experts identify for the persistence of the pay gap, including workplace discrimination.

Court finds that experience ranges may be discriminatory

Age discrimination in the workplace is illegal under both the state laws of New York and federal law. Despite these laws, age discrimination continues to be a pervasive problem. People who are older than age 40 regularly experience discrimination because of their age.

Recently, a man's age discrimination lawsuit was allowed to proceed against a company that told him he had too much experience. The man had worked for a year in a position at a company through a staffing agency before he was then placed in a different position. He learned that the position he had previously filled was open and applied for it.

Veterans discharged for minor offenses face hiring difficulties

Many New Yorkers like to believe that military veterans are always treated fairly in the workplace. However, veterans who were discharged for minor offenses often have difficulty getting hired. In fact, the problem is so bad that the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities just warned employers not to discriminate against veterans who were discharged for certain reasons.

The military conducts three types of discharges. The first type is an honorable discharge, which offers veterans full benefits. The second type is a dishonorable discharge, which is for serious offenses and involves a court-martial. The third type is a less-than-honorable discharge, which involves relatively minor offenses like fighting, tardiness, drug use or even suicide attempts. According to veterans advocates, many of those discharged for these offenses have suffered a brain injury or been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. They are also disproportionately black, Latino, gay or disabled.

4 areas restaurateurs must focus on for a non-hostile workplace

The restaurant industry has a vast demographic. You can find people from all walks of life working in restaurants. The owners and management of these establishments must ensure that they are taking steps to protect their employees from issues that range from discrimination to wage theft.

It is up to the restaurant owners to ensure that they are within compliance of all applicable laws. Restaurateurs should do what they can to keep employees safe and to provide a workplace that isn't hostile. Here are some points that all employees can look for when they are working in this industry.

Many employees do not report sexual harassment

New York employees may be interested to learn that the majority of employees who have experienced sexual harassment at their workplace never reported the incident to their employer. A recent survey asked employees about their history with reporting harassment and whether the issue got resolved.

The results of the survey showed that about 12 percent of workers had experienced an incident of sexual harassment. Of these employees, 72 percent said that they did not report the incident to their employers. Further, 54 percent said that they did not confront the person who committed the act. The survey found that 60 percent of the perpetrators were peers while 36 percent were managers or supervisors. A further 8 percent were members of senior management.

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