You may not be liable personally under the ADA, but that doesn’t mean you are entirely off the hook. Under the New York State Human Rights Law, an individual who “actually participates in the conduct giving rise to the discrimination claim” can be held liable for the consequences.
New York City employers may soon find out whether merely being obese is a disability under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). That’s because the federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has sent a case back to the trial court for just that determination. If the lower court concludes the NYCHRL does cover obesity, New York City employers will face three standards for disability—the ADA, New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the NYCHRL.
Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from retaliation for doing so. In order for the employee to win a lawsuit, the retaliatory act must be adverse—that is, it must be an act that affects the employee in more than an inconsequential way. In a recent case, an employee claimed that by merely ignoring her complaint, her employer was retaliating. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals nixed that idea.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that class actions barred by many state laws may proceed in federal court. The case in question (Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates v. Allstate) dealt with a New York state law that limited claims in certain class-action cases.
If you’re thinking about switching to a production-based compensation system that pays more to the most productive employees, don’t worry too much about the plan’s possible disparate impact on some groups. As long as you don’t use the system to discriminate against a particular group—or favor another—courts are unlikely to conclude that any uneven results were caused by discrimination.
Ordinarily, managers who have the authority to make personnel decisions aren’t held personally liable for sexual harassment under Title VII. But that’s not necessarily the case under the New York State Human Rights Law. If you’re an HR professional with the power to make recommendations on hiring applicants or firing employees, make sure you don’t ignore sexual harassment claims that come your way.
According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York lost 10,000 union jobs in 2009, but greater contraction in the rest of the state’s economy actually raised the percentage of New Yorkers who belong to a union. Private- and public-sector union jobs in New York fell from 2,029,000 in 2008 to 2,019,000 in 2009.
Employees who allege they were terminated because they belong to a protected class will have a tough time winning the lawsuit if their replacement belongs to the same class—at least when the new hire comes on board before the terminated employee files her EEOC complaint or lawsuit.
Home improvement giant Lowe’s is offering free health screenings to its employees. Lowe’s partnerships with health care providers throughout New York mean employees will be able to get free checks of their blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, waist size, hip size, weight, height, body fat percentage and body-mass index.
Mildred Block had a fine run at Shea Stadium, staffing a lucrative beer stand in a prime location near the right-field cheap seats during Mets games. She averaged $40 per night in tips. The 85-year-old Block had worked the stand for nearly 20 years. But then late in the 2008 season, concession operator Aramark sent Block down to the equivalent of the minor leagues: a booth where she pockets far fewer tips.