The information age has opened up new opportunities for businesses in New York and around the country, but it has also created a number of potentially thorny legal problems for employers. Many companies rely on e-mail and social media for business communications and to engage with their customers, but failing to adequately protect workers from inappropriate online content can leave employers vulnerable to harassment complaints and lawsuits.
New York residents may have heard that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts fired 250 of its information technology workers and replaced them with non-U.S. citizens. On Dec. 12, 30 of the former workers filed a lawsuit against Disney in a federal court in Orlando. The former Disney employees are alleging that they were discriminated against based on their national origin.
Employees are entitled to compensation for all of the time that they are allowed to work, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. New York workers should be familiar with what the Department of Labor's regulations states regarding compensation for employees for the times that they are not working, such as breaks and meals, if their work activities are limited during those periods.
Older workers in New York may struggle to find employment compared to their younger counterparts, and there are a number of myths about younger and older workers that are not reflected by statistics. For example, employers might say they want younger workers because they will be around longer, but most millennials leave a job after three years.
New York employers are aware that workplace discrimination based on race, sex, age and several other factors is illegal. One temp agency that has offices around the country now faces a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in its employment placement practices from its Chicago office.
New York women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the future should be aware of the provisions of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and asserts that women who are pregnant or are experiencing medical conditions related to a pregnancy should be treated the same as other employees or job applicants who have the similar work capabilities. Workplace discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth or any associated medical conditions is considered to be unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.
People in New York who suspect that they are victims of pay discrimination might find the issues in a recent lawsuit brought forward by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to be familiar. Representing a woman who worked as a sales representative for a concrete liner company, the commission claimed that the employer violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As New York federal contractors and subcontractors may know, a final rule was implemented in September by the Department of Labor. It provides a certain number of days of paid sick leave for employees and eligibility changes starting in 2017.