The rights of employees take a priority in New York, so all employers must be prepared to ensure compliance with applicable laws. One area that is particularly problematic is discrimination and harassment in the workplace. No worker should have to deal with these illegal behaviors.
In New York, some business owners are using independent contractors, also known as freelancers, to perform various tasks in order to avoid paying taxes they would have to pay for employees. Known as employee misclassification, employers classify employees as though they are freelancers. This practice is due to the fact that the employer does not need to pay a freelancer's Social Security or Medicare taxes. Independent contractors pay their own taxes because they are self-employed.
The New York state legislature approved a bill called the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. It would ban employer discrimination based on gender identity or expression, and the governor of the state is expected to sign it into law. The law seeks to provide greater protections for transgender individuals and others who don't conform to gender norms. If the law does pass, New York would become at least the 22nd state to offer such protection.
Workers at some of the best-known technology companies in New York and across the country are taking action to pressure these firms on how they deal with employee complaints. One group of Google workers launched a social media campaign on Jan. 15, in which they posted on Instagram and Twitter urging a change in corporate policy on workplace harassment cases. The campaign focuses particularly on forced arbitration agreements, clauses found in employment contracts that bar employees from filing a court action against the companies they work for over disputes that emerge in the workplace.
New York readers may be interested to learn that the newly Democrat-led House of Representatives passed new employment protections for LGBTQ staff and job applicants on Jan. 3. The new rules, which were part of a larger bill of regulations, will govern the freshly-convened 116th Congress for the next two years.