No law bars employers from conducting criminal background checks. However, conducting checks when it isn’t necessary not only wastes resources, it may increase the risk of being sued. The same is true of credit checks. Two lawsuits challenging the fairness of background checks serve as cautionary tales for employers.
Bical Chevrolet in Queens is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit for what sounds like something out of junior high. Katherine Salas accuses two Bical managers, Charlie Albanese and Michael Inserillo, of snapping her bra up to six times a day and smacking her bottom with a wooden backscratcher.
Sometimes, it seems as if employees just make up reasons to sue their employers. Fortunately for employers, when employees’ claims turn out to be ludicrous, courts quickly dismiss the lawsuits.
Can you fire a current employee who, during employment, is convicted of a crime? It’s still not clear that you can fire him because of that conviction. Until the law is clarified, consult your attorney before firing someone based on criminal records.
Good news for those worried about being on the hook personally for ADA violations: A federal court considering a New York case has rejected an employee’s bid to hold supervisors personally liable for alleged disability discrimination.
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.