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Showing posts with label employment discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label employment discrimination. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Artificial Intelligence Decides if You're Hired! Is It Discriminatory?

Wonder why you were denied the last job or promotion you applied for? 


Wonder no more, because there is a good chance that it wasn't a human's decision. In fact, Artificial Intelligence "AI" has become the judge on who is hired or who is promoted for most employers and employment agencies. However, AI isn't perfect and may be infringing on your anti-discrimination rights if it's not properly programmed and regularly audited. 


That is why AI or Automated Employment Decision Tool "AEDT" has been the target of much scrutiny. Experts point out that AEDT are prone to bias in their hiring and promotion process. Biases include racial, sexual, and ethnic discrimination, amongst so many other protected categories. This problem has become so worrisome that New York City is putting in place an amendment to the New York City Administrative Code to curb the use of AI in hiring. 


Such amendment was approved by the New York City Counsel on November 10th, 2021. It can be read here.  The purpose of the Bill is to require employers and employment agencies to assess employees and candidates without the use of machine learned biases. The effects of such machine learned biases are discriminatory in nature.

Now, the Bill is on the Mayor's desk and goes into effect on January 1, 2023.


The Bill is limited to regulating AI decisions that screen candidates for employment or screen employees for promotion. This limitation is not without exception. An AEDT is allowed if the tool has undergone an independent bias audit no more than one year prior to it use. The audit's summary then must become publicly available on the employers' or employment agencies' website.


But how will you know if the employer or employment agency is using AEDT on you? The law enforces notification guidelines that will inform employees and candidates of its use.


If caught in violation of the law, employers and employment agencies face fines of up to $500 for the 1st violation, and fines between $500 to $1,500 for each subsequent violation. Plus, they may be exposed to a discrimination lawsuit with compensatory damages, punitive damages, penalties and attorneys' fees being awarded to the victim. If you believe that you were discriminated against by an AI / AEDT, your lawyer will be able to determine it's involvement during the lawsuit and leverage the company's non-compliance with the NYC Bill to win your case. 





Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Filing a Discrimination Complaint with the NYS Division of Human Rights Just Got Easier

As of July 16, 2021, discrimination victims need not have their discrimination complaints notarized before filing them with the NYS Division of Human Rights, per a change to Executive Law 297(1)


This applies to both victims of employment discrimination and housing discrimination.


According to the laws justification, the notarization requirement "discourage[d] people from filing complaints" and the Division nonetheless received over 6,000 complaints annually. 


How many complaints will the Division receive now? 


Do you think that this new law makes sense? 


Does it matter if a document is notarized? 


Shouldn't preventing discrimination be as easy as pie? 





Thursday, January 28, 2021

Atheists & Agnostics are Protected from Discrimination at Work per EEOC

The EEOC just released its Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination and lack of religious faith is protected from discrimination at the workplace.

You hear that? Atheists & agnostics - you matter too!


Here is what the manual states:

Definition of Religion

Comment: Some commenters expressed concern that the draft did not make sufficiently clear that Title VII protects against discrimination based on a lack of religious faith.

Response: The Commission has made additions to reference repeatedly that discrimination based on a lack of religious faith is prohibited.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Employment Sexual Harassment - Case of Interest at the NYPD

A homosexual detective was just given his chance to prove that he experienced workplace discrimination at a trial and recoup damages.

Here are his facts:

  • His homophobic colleagues vindictively called other officers wherever he was stationed & told them to harass plaintiff because he was gay;
  • 2 Sergeants constantly made homophobic slurs at civilians & gay officers in his presence; 
  • He endured over a year of homophobic derision, harassment, and verbal abuse;
  • He was singled out to do tasks, which his peers were not required to do, such as:
    • He was repeatedly required to enter a holding cell, by himself, with prisoners still inside, while plaintiff carried metal and wooden cleaning implements. This was potentially dangerous, as plaintiff could have been overwhelmed & attacked by the prisoners. Other officers were not required to do it, as it was usually a task for the maintenance crew; 
    • He was required to go on foot patrol alone during the midnight shift in dangerous areas at the 77th Precinct while other officers patrolled with partners;
  • He was given extra work when he arrived on the job; and
  • He experienced some new or escalated conduct after he started to fight the discrimination, which could be deemed retaliatory.
Do you think he should win?
How much would this be worth to you in damages if it were you who experienced these actions?

Remember, he can sue for emotional distress damages, back pay, forward pay, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

This case was just decided by the Appellate Courts in Doe v New York City Police Dept.



Monday, December 28, 2020

Employment Sexual Harassment - Case of Interest - Exceeding Petty Slights or Trivial Inconveniences

Back on October 11, 2019, the NYS Human Rights Law was modified with a new standard for actionable employment sex discrimination. The new standard was intended to align NYS more closely with the NYC Human Rights Law. 


The new standard is that conduct that exceeds "petty slights or trivial inconveniences" is actionable. 


As to what that means, the NYC law was interpreted by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Federal Court) in Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc., which is the leading case. 


Now, we have a leading case interpreting the NYS law as well by a State Court. 


On December 15, 2020, the NYS Appellate Division decided Franco v Hyatt Corp. and found the following allegations to constitute conduct that exceeds petty slights or trivial inconveniences:

  1. Supervisor made repeated sexual advances towards him, including reaching out to touch his face and holding his hand in an elevator while they were alone.
  2. Supervisor also initiated conversations that made him uncomfortable, telling him she had a "crush" on him, telling him she was single and twice inviting him to her home to repair "a hole" in her apartment. 
  3. Supervisor said she had a tattoo, adding that "You have to undress me to see it." 
  4. After victim rebuffed advances, supervisor brought him to the Human Resources manager's office to complain about his work product and that she solicited complaints about him from other coworkers.
Interestingly, this case involved a female harasser of a male subordinate. 

When we train the NYS / NYC Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Course to companies around the country, at sexualharassmenttrainingny.com, we always get push back to the concept that sexual harassment can be female on male. This case is a good reminder that everyone is protected from harassment at work. 





 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Employment Discrimination - NEW EEOC Rule Clarifies Right to Bring Lawsuit

On October 14, 2020, the EEOC issued a final rule, 29 CFR 1601 & 1626, for charges of employment discrimination. The key to this rule is to clarify that just because EEOC makes a "no cause" determination, that doesn't mean there is no discrimination and a victim can still hire an attorney and pursue a private lawsuit against their employer. While this change is minor in law, it's very important to clarify victim's rights.

Specifically, the rule now includes a notice to the victim of their right to file a lawsuit (within 90 days of receipt of the determination) and clarifies that a "no cause" determination doesn't mean that the "claims have no merit." Now, the Dismissal and Notice of Rights will read as follows:

The EEOC issues the following determination: The EEOC will not proceed further with
its investigation, and makes no determination about whether further investigation would
establish violations of the statute. This does not mean the claims have no merit. This
determination does not certify that the respondent is in compliance with the statutes. The
EEOC makes no finding as to the merits of any other issues that might be construed as
having been raised by this charge.

To be clear, the point of this change is to make sure everyone understands that "even
after the EEOC has decided not to proceed further with its investigation, private proceedings or
litigation may lead to court findings of discrimination or settlements for the charging parties."

Additionally, the rule clarifies deferrals to state agencies and it provides for the digital transmission of documents by way of providing access to a system with a unique login to retrieve documents. However, don't worry if you aren't tech savvy because the EEOC will mail hard copies to the parties if the system records no access for a reasonable time.




Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Discrimination: Disabled's Right to Reasonable Accommodation to Eliminate Possible Exposure to COVID in the Workplace

A must read for all employers, both public and private, is the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's publication "What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws."

In plain English, if you have an employee with a pre-existing disability that either "puts her at greater risk during this pandemic" or, if such disability will be "exacerbated by the pandemic," and such employee requests a reasonable accommodation, then, you better either grant that request or engage in the "interactive process" to avoid getting sued.  

Be warned - the lawsuits are coming.


Monday, June 29, 2020

EEOC Guidance on Antibody Tests and COVID-19 Tests

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published guidance concerning business practices that are both safe and compliant with anti-discrimination laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance discusses various relevant practices but most notable of which is the EEOC’s guidance on medical examinations prior to employees re-entering the workplace. According to the EEOC, antibody tests may not be required by employers for employees to re-enter the workplace, but employers may require employees to undergo a COVID-19 test to re-enter.

The EEOC advised that antibody tests should not be used to make decisions about returning to the workplace and currently does not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations for current employees. This standard applies to any mandatory medical test for employees. Thus, an antibody test may not be required for an employee to enter the workplace and employers should be aware that requiring antibody tests could be the basis of a discrimination claim.

On the other hand, tests which determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 are permissible under the ADA and employers may use it to make decisions on whether an employee should return to the workplace. The distinction is that an employee who is currently infected with COVID-19 poses “a direct threat to the health of others.” However, employers should still be aware of the possibility of an employee testing false-positive or false-negative and employers should ensure that tests are accurate and reliable.

Nonetheless, employers are encouraged to practice social distancing, regular handwashing, and the wearing of PPE’s as there is no certainty that employees will not be infected with COVID-19 after the test is administered. In addition, employers should contact counsel to have a tailored COVID-19 safety plan compliant with federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations while ensuring a safe workplace for employees.


Friday, January 31, 2020

Employers Exposure When Firing a Pregnant Employee

Attorneys Andrew Lieb and Mordy Yankovich share tips for employers who want to fire a pregnant employee due to employment issues. Learn how the exposure can be over 6 figures and what employers need to do to protect themselves from a lawsuit.




Thursday, December 12, 2019

Real Tips HR: How Employers Should Respond to Requests For Religious Time Off

Employment law experts Andrew Lieb, Esq. and Mordy Yankovich, Esq advise employers how to put policies in place and respond to requests by employees to take additional time off for religious reasons.

Watch this short video clip


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New York State Overhauls Discrimination/Harassment Laws Opening the Floodgates to Future Claims

On August 12. 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation implementing extensive reforms to the New York State Human Rights Law, which dramatically increases protections for victims of discrimination and harassment in the workplace and makes it exceedingly more difficult for employers to defend against such claims.

Mordy Yankovich, Esq. shares an analysis of the major changes to the NYSHRL in The Suffolk Lawyer Law Journal here.


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Can Employers Discriminate Against Employees Based on Their Sexual Orientation or Status as Transgender? The Supreme Court to Weigh-In.

The Supreme Court of the United States is hearing oral arguments on three high profile cases today which will have a significant impact on LGBTQ rights in the workplace.

In the first two cases, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express, Inc.v. Zarda, the justices will determine whether Federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Federal law generally prohibits discrimination based on "sex"). In the third case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the justices will determine whether employment discrimination against transgender people violates Federal law.

The decisions on both of these issues - which will likely be released in early 2020 - will be of great interest to both employers and employees.