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May 2017 Archives

When gender harassment isn't gender harassment

New York residents may know that sex discrimination in the workplace is banned by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, it isn't always clear what the definition of sex is under that statute. According to one court ruling from the Northern District of New York, a male police officer who sent text messages to his ex-girlfriend was not harassing her based on sex.

Recent rulings recognize sexual orientation as protected class

New York residents may be confused as to whether being part of the LGBTQ community offers them protection under federal laws related to employment. While the question has not yet been settled, court rulings may be offering some clarity on the matter. In April 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit found that sexual orientation was covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

How whistleblowers can remain protected in the workplace

While many New Yorkers may know that whistleblowers are supposed to be protected in the workplace, they might not specifically know what their employee rights are in this situation. There are a number of different laws that protect whistleblowers, and some are specific to certain industries or dependent on context. For this reason, employees might want to begin by consulting an attorney even if they plan to try to resolve the issue in the workplace.

After-acquired evidence defenses

New York residents who believe that they have been victims of workplace discrimination and want to file a complaint should be aware that the employer may counter with a variety of defenses. This may include the after-acquired evidence defense, which is any information the employer will find about the employee after he or she has been fired and is the behavior that the employer would have used as cause to terminate the employee even if there had been no discrimination.

Penalty for misclassifying employees

Employers in New York and the rest of the country can be heavily fined if they misclassify an hourly employee as exempt. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employer is unable to demonstrate that the misclassification was an honest error that was made in good faith, a fine that is equal to two times the amount of two years of back overtime will have to be paid as a penalty.

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