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Long Island Employment Law Blog

Identifying racism at work

Employees in New York and throughout the nation could face many different forms of discrimination. For example, they could be threatened with bodily harm or hear language that is offensive to someone of their race. However, because the law generally protects workers from overtly racist policies, racism in the workplace is often more subtle. In many cases, racism shows itself in the hiring and promotion policies that a company has.

This could be apparent if there is diversity in entry level positions but a lack of diversity in management. If employees in positions that require interaction with customers are the same race, it could be a sign of discrimination. It is important to note that discrimination can occur to anyone regardless of his or her race. It is also important to note that discrimination is not necessarily the same as racism. However, whenever an employee is denied an opportunity based on race or anything other than merit, it can be cause problems for that individual.

What to know about pay discrimination

Workers in New York and throughout the United States are entitled to work for employers who do not discriminate when it comes to providing compensation. Workers are protected by a variety of legislation including the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They are also protected by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Employers are not allowed to discriminate in any forms of payment whether they are wages, bonuses or stock options.

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be paid the same wage for doing the same job. Only the type of work performed is analyzed for the purpose of this law. Furthermore, employers must base an employee's pay on the skills needed for the job as opposed to the skills an employee may have. For instance, an employer generally couldn't justify paying a cashier with a college degree more than other cashiers doing the same tasks.

Women doctors report gender discrimination

Female doctors in New York may face unique pressures while they are at work because of gender discrimination. A study that was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined physician gender-discrimination and how it harms both the doctors as well as patients.

The researchers who authored the study posted an anonymous survey on a Facebook page of female doctors who were also mothers. They examined 947 comments that were made out of 6,000 responses. Women reported that they had fewer opportunities for advancement both prior to and after giving birth to their children. They also reported that they received little support before and after their pregnancies and received lower salaries than their male peers. The women also reported being afraid to report the discrimination that they experienced.

Are you experiencing a 'hostile environment' at work?

Many people experience the “Sunday scaries,” or the feeling of anxiety that begins on Sunday evenings at the thought of going into work the next day. However, for some people, this feeling is much worse and is not exclusive to Sundays. Some people are experiencing what is legally considered a “hostile work environment.”

Hostile work environments are more than just having a demanding boss or an annoying coworker. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), a hostile work environment involves “unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job, and the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive.”

Teachers Federal Credit Union Accused of Discrimination in Lawsuit By Former Employees

Founded in 1952, Teachers Federal Credit Union (TFCU) is a federally chartered credit union with more than 300,000 members. TFCU is one of the country's largest credit unions and one of the largest employers on Long Island.

Two women (the Plaintiffs) allege they were denied promotions to branch manager positions known as Financial Services Managers because they are Black. Plaintiffs claim in their lawsuit that TFCU never hired or promoted a Black woman to the Financial Services Manager position until after the Plaintiffs filed their Charges of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2018.

Proving age discrimination on the job

Employees in New York and throughout the country may feel as if they have been discriminated against based on their age. However, a feeling is generally not enough to show that such discrimination has occurred. There must be solid evidence that an employment decision was made in a way that violates existing law. For instance, being passed over for a promotion in favor of a younger person could be an instance of illegal discrimination.

It may also be possible to get a copy of a hiring notice or other information used to attract job applicants. If the notice indicates a preferred age range, it could be illegal, and it could be used as evidence in an age discrimination claim. Other evidence may include text messages from a manager or emails from a hiring manager. It is worth noting that age must be the primary reason why an employee was let go from a job for a claim to be successful.

Reports indicate racism problems at Tesla factory

Racism can be a major problem for workers at Tesla according to a new report in the New York Times. The report looked into working conditions at the electric vehicle manufacturer's factory in Fremont, California. Journalists spoke with over 20 current or former Tesla employees, and black workers repeatedly spoke about incidents of racial discrimination and harassment on the job. Among other issues, the black workers said they had been denied promotions, unfairly assigned to menial tasks, taunted with racist language and witnessed swastikas drawn in bathrooms at the facility.

The stories were collected through interviews as well as legal statements and internal corporate documents. However, the auto manufacturer said that there was no systematic environment of workplace discrimination at the factory. It reiterated its anti-discrimination policy, saying that it aims to create a respectful environment for all workers on the job. The allegations follow a lawsuit by three black former employees at Tesla, who said that they were subjected to racist taunts and drawings from supervisors as well as co-workers. The company said that the plaintiffs did not file internal complaints, but at least one of the former workers said that he did complain without action.

L'Oréal accused of racism in lawsuit by former employee

L'Oréal is a familiar name to consumers in New York, and a woman who worked at the company as a marketing vice president alleges that her employer subjected her to racial discrimination and a hostile work environment. According to her lawsuit, a male executive watched pornography on his phone during a work meeting, and business trips included sex parties at luxury hotels. She described upper management as hostile to her rights as an African American.

After confiding in her co-workers that she felt physically threatened by one of the male vice presidents during a business trip, she decided to file a complaint against him. Her lawsuit claims that this action prompted L'Oréal to retaliate by firing her when she got back from vacation.

Supreme Court may rule on LGBT workplace discrimination

The Supreme Court may rule on several cases that could affect some Long Island employees. The three cases deal with whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which covers employment discrimination on the basis of sex, extends to protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

The Second and Seventh Circuits have argued that Title VII protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Eleventh Circuit ruled that it did not. The Sixth Circuit is the first court to find that it also protects against transgender discrimination. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice are at odds with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding the interpretation of Title VII.

How to address gender pay gaps

American women make about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. However, the wage gap throughout New York and the rest of the country varies based on a woman's profession. For instance, a female lawyer makes about 76 percent of that of a male counterpart. The discrepancy in wages is smaller for registered nurses as women earn about 91 percent of what a man in the same role earns.

Wholesale/retail buyer is the one profession in which women actually make more than men, according to data from the American Association of University Women. In addition to profession, where a woman works could influence how much of a wage gap she may face. For instance, women in California make 89 cents for every dollar made by a man. It goes down to 69 cents for Louisiana women.

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