LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label harassment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harassment. Show all posts

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Utility Customers Now Protected from Harassment on Unpaid Balances

With the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums coming to an end in January 2022, New Yorkers are about to feel pinched in their housing costs, which may turn into utility billing issues.

 

New Yorkers just received increased rights and beginning on December 8, 2021, utility companies are prohibited from engaging in harassment, oppression, or other abuses towards residential customers in connection with deferred payment agreements and the collection of unpaid balances.

 

Bill A3359 was signed by Governor Hochul on November 8, 2021 and amends §53-a of the Public Service Law.




Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Supreme Court Rules that Homosexual and Transgender Employees are Protected from Discrimination Under Title VII

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in three companion cases (Bostock v. Clayton County; Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda; R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC) holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects homosexual and transgender employees from discrimination/harassment in the workplace.

In all three (3) cases, the employer terminated the employee's employment after it was revealed that the employee was homosexual or transgender. Each employee brought suit under Title VII claiming that they were fired because of their "sex" (Title VII prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin). The Supreme Court held that "sex", pursuant to Title VII, includes sexual orientation and transgender as protected classes because, as the Court reasoned, "it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex."

The Court provided the following example to illustrate its position: An employer has two employees, a female and a male, both of whom are attracted to men. If the employer fires the  male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates against him because the employer is tolerating the same trait or behavior from the female employee. The employer, the Supreme Court held, has thus terminated the employee "because of sex" in violation of Title VII.

This decision is particularly noteworthy because Justice Gorsuch and Chief Justice Roberts, typically known as  "conservative" justices, were in the majority (Justice Gorsuch authored the Decision). This signifies the courts continued emphasis on interpreting laws to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. Employers should, thus, take even more proactive steps (including but not limited to policies and training) to mitigate the risks of discrimination lawsuits.

Monday, January 20, 2020

New Law: Independent Contractors in NYC are Protected Against Discrimination and Must be Trained

Effective January 11, 2020, independent contractors in New York City are protected from discrimination or harassment in the workplace and can sue under the New York City Human Rights Law (New York State Human Rights Law already protects independent contractors). In addition, independent contractors in NYC now have a right to request and receive a reasonable accommodation related to their disability, religious observance, etc.

Because independent contractors are protected under the New York City Human Rights Law, companies in NYC with 15 or more employees are now required to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to independent contractors (It was previously encouraged). Companies must modify their policies and training materials/procedures accordingly. Training under the NYC Human Rights Law must be completed by April 1, 2020.


Monday, September 30, 2019

NYC: Using the Word "Alien" Could Result In $250,000 Fine

More discrimination lawsuits are on the horizon in NYC based upon the City's Commission of Human Rights new enforcement guidelines concerning immigration status and national origin.

Landlords, merchants, and employers now face up to $250,000 in fines for using terms and phrases like "illegal alien", "alien", and "speak english" when used in the context meant to demean, humiliate, or offend.

In their press release, the NYC Commission of Human Rights provided hypothetical examples of discriminatory behavior, including:
  • Harassing a restaurant patron because of their accent;
  • Refusing repairs on a unit occupied by an immigrant family and threatening to call ICE if they complain;
  • Paying a lower wage or withholding wages to workers because of their immigration status; and
  • Harassing a store customer by telling them to stop speaking their language and demanding they speak English.

*ATTENTION LANDLORDS AND EMPLOYERS* - your teams must be trained in the different forms of discrimination and harassment to avoid fines, lawsuits, and bad publicity.