According to a decision by the National Labor Relations Board, McDonald's Corporation is considered to be a joint-employer along with the thousands of its franchisees throughout the nation. Workers in many states, including New York, have been lobbying for improvements in wages in recent years. Strikes have been staged in a call for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and workers have also sought a right to unionize. Meanwhile, retaliation claims have been significant as well.
In a move that will provide greater workplace protections for employees in New York and nationwide, the U.S. Attorney General released a memo on Dec. 18 announcing that the Justice Department will now interpret federal law to explicitly shield transgender people from workplace discrimination. The announcement is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to afford transgender employees protection on the job.
New York employees may be interested in some information about disability discrimination and what is prohibited by federal law. There are many types of discrimination in the workplace against those with disabilities, from outright harassment to failure to accommodate properly for the employee's disability.
An employee in New York may view bullying as a problem affecting young people, but for some, workplace abuse in the form of verbal bullying is a reality. According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Workforce Bullying Institute, more than one-third of employees across the country reported experiencing bullying in a work-related setting. Although such bullying can take many forms, verbal abuse is one of the most prevalent. Typically, employers have the responsibility for stopping and preventing such behavior.
In addition to other wage and hour protections, people in New York's service industry additionally enjoy the protection of the state's spread of hours law. The law is designed to provide payment to those whose shifts are spread over a certain number of hours, whether the hours worked are performed in one straight shift or divided between two in a split-shift situation.
Workers in New York are protected by law from sexual harassment, and the state attorney general's office has released guidelines defining harassment and procedures for dealing with it. Sexual harassment is behavior that either creates a hostile work environment or ties an employee's advancement, raises or other conditions of employment to sexual conduct. It is prohibited by both federal and state law.
Employees in New York may benefit from learning more about whistleblower protections guaranteed by Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. There are several laws in place that the OHSA can cite when penalizing employers who retaliate against whistleblowers. Retaliation can be described as protected employee activity that proves to be a contributing factor to an unfavorable personnel action conducted by an employer.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids discriminating against a person over 40 based on his or her age in New York and across the country. The act does not prevent the employer from favoring an older employee over a younger one, even if both are over 40, however.
In New York, the city and state have different laws regarding paid sick leave. There is no legislative mandate in the state at large to provide any sort of leave, paid or unpaid, for workers who are ill. However, businesses operating in the five boroughs of the city have a legal obligation to give time off to any of their employees who need it for any major ailment or physical condition. This would include leave while the worker was assisting in health-related issues for their family members.