On July 1, a New York speech therapy teacher filed a lawsuit in a Richmond County court alleging that his former supervisors harassed him and discriminated against him for being gay. According to the plaintiff, he was harassed for his sexual orientation in front of students and other teachers, and he was retaliated against when he filed a complaint.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently ruled that a woman who was denied a promotion to a management position was eligible to proceed with discrimination claims against her company. According to the judge, a woman who has given birth within four months of a perceived issue is still protected against pregnancy-related employment discrimination. He noted in his decision that women are clearly protected if they are pregnant or on maternity leave. If a woman was recently pregnant, details are not quite as clear in terms of how long after a pregnancy the protections remain in place. However, the judge noted that the pattern that has been observed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit uses four months as the cutoff point.
Most people in Queens know that young people, especially college graduates, are having trouble finding jobs. There are numerous reports of people working for minimum wage or in positions that do not require a college degree. But that is not the only group affected by the slowly recovering economy. Older workers are also facing unemployment and they are having a difficult time finding new jobs. For some, it is a matter of age discrimination.
A new paper has recently been published in American Psychologist that argues that discrimination is less about hostile attitudes towards others, and more about helping people with whom we share commonalities. While this can simply be explained as showing slight favoritism to the people who went to the same school as us, go to the same religious institution or whose children attend the same school as our children, the authors also note that this often has racial implications, too.
Though many of the stories that we have covered are about workplace discrimination, many people don't think about discriminating against people over 40 years old. Age discrimination is, unfortunately, just another example of employers violating their employees' rights. Any worker, younger than or 40 and older should be judged on their ability to do a job, not on whether they are close to retirement, whether they will accept less pay for the same work, or even if they are more or less likely to incur health care coverage. Sadly, that is not always the case.
Though federal and New York law only have a limited number of categories in which to protect employees from workplace discrimination, there are other laws that require employers to look beyond single characteristics when making hiring decisions. Take, for example, a recent statement by the chief of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York Attorney General's office: "You CANNOT automatically disqualify individuals solely because they have a criminal background." While someone can be denied a job based on his or her criminal background, it cannot be the only reason why they are denied a position.
The United States is filled with people of all different faiths, including people who don't profess any faith at all. One of the bedrocks of American society is religious freedom, which has been interpreted by the legislature and courts to mean that employers must make reasonable accomodations for their employees' religious requirements. If they don't, they might be sued for religious discrimination.
Earlier in the week, we mentioned the allegations of gender-based discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A lawyer has testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee regarding the retaliation her supervisor took following her complaint of gender discrimination, but that is not the only kind of workplace discrimination that is allegedly plaguing the bureau.
When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created following the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, there was considerable discussion about whether the bureau should be created at all. Ultimately, the bureau was created, but current reports of discrimination based on gender may have some legislators talking of disbanding the organization.
Most working adults in Long Island have made it through high school and, even if they don't remember all of the math that they've learned, they should be able to remember certain basic concepts. Some jobs require a very specialized knowledge of math and some just require the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Regardless of the job, it seems that managers are more likely to hire men than women to perform mathematical tasks.