Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label Employment Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Employment Law. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Shedding Light on Pay Disparities: What You Need to Know from EEOC's Latest Data

Today, we bring to your attention the recent release of pivotal data by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This data, encompassing information from 2017 and 2018, provides an insightful glimpse into the state of pay disparities in American workplaces., which is illegal based on the Equal Pay Act. To learn more about the Equal Pay Act, take a CLE from Attorney Andrew Lieb here.

Key EEOC Findings:

The EEOC's data dashboard reveals a troubling reality: pay disparities based on sex and race persist across nearly every industry and state. Here are some crucial highlights:

  • Gender Disparities: The data unequivocally shows that men continue to outearn women, with the median pay band for men consistently higher than that for women. In 2018, this gap was particularly pronounced, with men's median pay band being one or even two bands higher than women's.
  • Racial Disparities: The disparities deepen when considering race and ethnicity. Black or African American women and American Indian or Alaska Native women find themselves in the lowest median pay bands, reflecting a distressing pattern of inequality.
  • Industry and Job Category Trends: Across various industries and job categories, men consistently occupy higher median pay bands compared to women. While some sectors exhibit equal median pay bands, such as Accommodation and Food Services, these instances remain exceptions rather than the norm.
  • Geographical Disparities: Disparities are not confined to specific industries or job categories but are pervasive across different states. For instance, in 2018, Wyoming, Louisiana, and West Virginia exhibited significant differences in median pay bands between men and women.

Implications for Legal Action:

The release of this data underscores the urgency of addressing pay discrimination in the workplace. Here's what you need to know:

  • Equal Pay Act and Title VII: The EEOC enforces both the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit pay discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. If you believe that you have experienced pay discrimination, you may have legal grounds to pursue a case and if you live in a State, like New York, you can go back up to 3 years on the state's anti-discrimination law to bring your case.
  • Data as Evidence: The aggregated data provided by the EEOC can serve as compelling evidence in legal proceedings. If you find that your pay is unfairly lower compared to colleagues of a different
    gender or race in similar roles, this data can bolster your case.
  • Consultation: If you suspect pay discrimination in your workplace or have questions about your rights, we encourage you to seek legal consultation. Lieb at Law, P.C. is here to provide guidance and support as you navigate the complexities of employment law.
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Monday, February 26, 2024

Major Retaliation / Discrimination Case by NYS' Highest Court

On February 15, 2024, The New York State Court of Appeals issued their decision in the Matter of Clifton Park Apts., LLC v. New York State Div. of Human Rights. 

We now know that the "threat of litigation" may support a retaliation claim under the New York State Human Rights law (Executive Law 296). So, if you notice a claim of discrimination and the perpetrator then threatens suing you for other reasons, you likely have a retaliation claim in NYS. 

That's why it is imperative that victims immediately notice perpetrators of their claims in a notice of preservation, notice to insurance, and demand letter. This is how you protect yourself. 

To read the decision, click here.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

CLE - Proving and Calculating Front Pay and Back Pay in Employment Cases

Attorney Andrew Lieb is conducting a Continuing Legal Education course on Thursday, March 14, 2024 through the Connecticut Bar Association. 

Proving and Calculating Front Pay and Back Pay in Employment Cases (EDU240314)

About the Program

This course is designed to empower Connecticut Attorneys evaluating discrimination and whistleblower cases with the skills needed to calculate front and back pay. Attendees will delve into the intricacies of these calculations, exploring the underlying factors, and understanding the legal foundation established by case law and the rationale behind these formulas.

This course was created for both in-house and outside general counsel who need to provide an objective exposure analysis to their C-Suite counterparts when fielding discrimination claims. While this course is tailored for those with existing knowledge of the subject, it also serves as a valuable resource for referring attorneys to know what they have while undertaking an intake and giving initial advice to plaintiffs.

The course includes theory, math, and modeling with hypotheticals to walk participants through practical applications of the discussed concepts. To facilitate continued learning, participants will be provided with helpful links and reference materials, enabling them to further explore the subject matter beyond the course.

By the end of this CLE, Connecticut Attorneys will possess the skills and knowledge needed to confidently calculate front and back pay while having an invaluable resource for screening future employment law cases.

You Will Learn
  • About the impact of the different factors that contribute to the calculation of front pay and back pay
  • How to apply the different factors and how each impacts the calculations
  • Helpful skills and knowledge needed to defend settlements with your C-Suite Team

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

New Rule Targets Salary History to Close Gender and Racial Pay Gaps

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has taken a significant step towards addressing gender and racial pay disparities within the Federal workforce with its latest regulation. Effective April 1, 2024, this rule prohibits the use of salary history in setting pay for new civilian employees, a practice that has historically contributed to ongoing pay inequities.

The private sector should take notice because the use of pay history is going to be a driving force in future claims under the Equal Pay Act based upon extrapolations from this regulation. 

Salary history has often been a determining factor in pay decisions, but this approach fails to account for the diverse experiences and qualifications individuals bring to their roles. More critically, it has perpetuated biases, inadvertently anchoring new salaries to previous ones that may have been influenced by discrimination. This cycle has been particularly detrimental to women and people of color, who statistically earn less than their white male counterparts. The gap is even more pronounced for women of color, underscoring the urgency of implementing measures that promote fair compensation.

By mandating that Federal agencies set pay based on merit, qualifications, and the requirements of the position rather than past compensation, the OPM aims to dismantle one of the barriers to achieving pay equity. This rule is a bold move towards creating a more equitable and inclusive Federal workforce, where pay disparities no longer shadow one's career.

For an in-depth understanding of the OPM's final rule and its impact on pay equity, visit the Federal Register: Advancing Pay Equity in Governmentwide Pay Systems.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

NY Has a New Law Protecting Freelancers (independent contractors)

Governor Hochul enacted significant legislation this week marking a pivotal moment for freelancer workers across New York State by signing BillA06040, known as the "Freelance Isn't Free Act".

Before the introduction of this law (Labor Law 191-d), problems for freelancers included:

  1. Delayed or Non-Payment: Without legal mandates, there was little to no consequence for payment terms leaving freelancers financially vulnerable.
  2. Lack of Written Contracts: Many freelance engagements proceeded without formal written contracts, leading to misunderstandings and disputes about work scope, payment terms, deadlines, and other essential aspects of the work arrangement.
  3. Limited Recourse for Contract Violations: Prior to this law, there was no straightforward legal recourse if an agreement was violated. Pursuing legal action was often costly and time-consuming, making it an impractical option.
  4. Absence of Standardized Contract Terms: With no standardization of contract terms, freelancers often agreed to unfair or exploitative conditions due to lack of industry standards or fear of losing work.
  5. Retaliation: Freelancers often hesitated to assert their rights or demand fair treatment due to the fear of being blacklisted or losing future work opportunities
  6. Administrative Burdens: Freelancers were often burdened with the responsibility of chasing payments and resolving disputes on their own

The goal of the Freelance Isn't Free Act law is to ensure that all laborers get the right to fair and timely pay. Freelancers who are denied rights can claim liquidated damages plus attorneys fees making it easier to pursue a claim against the hiring party (previously, the economics of a lawsuit often effectively eliminated the option for freelancers to enforce their rights to get paid; now that is changed). 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Enhancing Utility Workers Rights: New York Assembly Bill A06978

The New York Assembly has introduced Bill A06978 to improve the working conditions of public utility workers. This bill aims to allow utility workers to have access to restroom facilities in businesses without needing to be paying customers.

Key Features of the Bill:
  • Restroom Access for Utility Workers: Public utility employees can use employee restroom facilities in businesses during work hours.
  • Conditions for Access: Access is allowed when the worker is on duty, with at least two employees of the business present, and when it doesn't pose safety or security risks.
  • Compliance and Penalties: Businesses must comply or face a fine of up to $500 per violation, but are not liable for injuries to utility workers using their facilities.

Impact and Significance:

This bill recognizes the essential services provided by utility workers, addressing a basic need for restroom access during their duties. It balances the needs of these workers with the practical and safety concerns of businesses. A06978 is a step towards respecting the dignity and rights of utility workers in New York.

The Bill is on the governor's desk and once she signs it, it becomes effective. 

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Employees Protected from Political Viewpoint Discrimination by Employers

Effective 9/6/2023, employees in NYS have greatly expanded rights to freedom of speech and conscience. Employees can now avoid their employer's views on politics or religion. This is huge. 

Specifically, A6604, amends Labor Law 201-d, which prohibits employment discrimination for political activities and recreational activities. Under the law, an employee can sue for equitable relief and damages. 

Key Amendments 

Now, the law defines:

"Political matters" as "matters relating to elections for political office, political parties, legislation, regulation and the decision to join or support any political party or political, civic, community, fraternal or labor organization."

"Religious matters" as "matters relating to religious affiliation and practice and the decision to join or support any religious organization or association." 

Under the amended law, employers cannot force employees to attend meetings or listen to / view communications primarily designed to express the employer’s opinions on Religious matters or Political matters.

There is also a notification requirement where employers must post a sign in workplaces informing employees of their rights as per this section.

Monday, August 14, 2023

New York Post - Attorney Andrew Lieb Interviewed on Workplace Rights / Union Implications

Attorney Andrew Lieb shared insights with the NY Post on workplace rights and union implications. While unions offer protections, they come with legal nuances. Addressing concerns internally, like through HR, is advised, yet unresolved issues may call for legal steps. Strikes, powerful yet consequential, need judicious thought. Lieb delves into factors like "strikes as a last resort" and the importance of a compliant workplace culture.  #WorkplaceRights #UnionConsiderations #LegalInsights #StrikeResponsibly #LiebatLaw #EmployeeAdvocacy #attorneyandrewlieb #employmentlawyer #Sagaftra

Monday, July 24, 2023

Newsmax: Attorney Andrew Lieb Talks About Mental Illness & Whether It's An Excuse For Being Late To Your Job

Attorney Andrew Lieb joined a Newsmax panel discussion about chronic tardiness at the workplace.

To qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a condition must be a statutorily recognized disability. Currently, chronic tardiness related to mental health doesn't meet this criterion.

If recognized, it must then be proven that the employer doesn't face undue hardship due to the employee's unpredictable timekeeping.

Lieb advised employers against bending rules for certain groups to avoid creating a reverse discrimination scenario. He advocated for strict, fair policies that benefit all employees and ensure genuine accommodations for recognized disabilities aren't undermined.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Scripps News: Employment Attorney Andrew Lieb Talks about In-N-Out Banning Workers From Wearing Masks on Scripps

In Attorney Andrew Lieb's discussion about the legality of In-N-Out's mask policy with Scripps News, Lieb emphasizes its potential issues regarding discrimination. Although it's legal in the majority of states as a general matter, the way the policy is worded could inadvertently lead to discrimination by not providing exemptions for religious reasons. He suggests that employees might have a chance to oppose this policy through unionization, concerted activity, or lawsuits related to religious accommodations and disability accommodations. 

Before pursuing a medical exemption, Lieb advises employees to consult a discrimination lawyer to better understand what counts as a statutorily recognized disability that would qualify for such an exemption. He also addresses the problematic nature of the restaurant chain's requirement for only company-provided masks, which could fail to accommodate those who might need different kinds of masks due to their religion or medical condition. He specifically points out that "Many Muslim women might need to cover their face. So the way they articulate it is really problematic and potentially discriminatory."

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Analyzing the Legal Implications of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The U.S. employment law landscape has been transformed with the implementation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). This law, endorsed by President Joe Biden, extends protections to employees dealing with pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will now begin processing discrimination charges under this fresh statute, opening a new chapter in labor rights.

Legal Provisions:

The PWFA mandates employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, except when these adjustments impose an undue hardship on the employer. The PWFA thus augments protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. As EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows stated, the PWFA aids workers in securing their entitlements under this new law.

EEOC's Role and Resources:

The EEOC has introduced educational materials to aid workers and employers in understanding the new law. These include a "Know Your Rights" video series, a revised poster, and a guide to the PWFA. The EEOC is also set to accept discrimination charges under PWFA.

The Bottom Line:

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act fills a gap in employment rights, fostering a more equitable and inclusive working environment. It is a substantial step towards legally addressing the unique challenges faced by pregnant workers, fostering a fair workspace for all.

If you are a victim, you can bring a discrimination case and recovery monetary damages for your lost pay and emotional distress. You have rights. 

Thursday, June 08, 2023

New York's Expanding Whistleblower Law: Empowering Employees or Encouraging Tattle-tailing on Taxes

The state's taxpayer whistleblower law was recently expanded by Part DD of S4009C, the state budget, and employers should be nervous because now employees can bring lawsuits on suspicion that their employer evaded their tax obligations. 

The whistleblower law, which is formally called The New York False Claims Act (FCA), allows whistleblowers to bring suits against individuals and entities that knowingly submit deceptive claims to the government, including tax fraud. Initially, claimants were limited to individuals with specific knowledge of the taxpayer's preparation process. However, as amended under S4009C, New York State Finance Law Art. 13 §189-h now enables claims against individuals or entities who deliberately evade tax obligations where claims can be advanced solely on suspicions. 

Given that the FCA allows whistleblowers to recover monetary damages of 30 percent of the government's recovery and that the government can recover three times the loss sustained by the state, it bodes to reason that disgruntled employees are quite incentivized to bring claims in selling out their employers. 

The amendment permits claims on tax concealments from May 3, 2020, but does not allow raising retroactive claims in pending cases. Individuals and business entities should immediately reassess their filing obligations and be clear on which employees have access to their records. 

As amended, the FCA is very likely to shake up the dynamic between bosses and employees. With enticing financial incentives on the line for successful whistleblowing claims, things are about to get interesting. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

NewsNation: Lululemon Firings: Security Flaw or Employee Scapegoats? Analysis with Attorney Andrew Lieb

Surprised by the recent #Lululemon employee firing story? Allow us to dissect it for you.

Employees Rachel and Jennifer were reportedly fired for standing up to repeat offenders. This isn't a case of rogue vigilantism, but employees ensnared in relentless criminal activity.

Corporations ought to bear some responsibility here. The real concern? Lululemon's apparent lack of proactive security measures and effective cooperation with law enforcement.

Stand Your Ground laws are common, but where is the support for employees standing their ground within their workplaces? Companies must shoulder security shortcomings, empower and protect their employees, and back them during vulnerable times.

Sharing Attorney Andrew Lieb's interview on this topic with NewsNation. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Safeguarding Digital Privacy in Employment: An Examination of Assembly Bill A836

The age of digitization has elevated the significance of privacy rights, particularly regarding employment relationships. With the rise of personal electronic accounts, there has been growing concern about whether employers should be granted access to these accounts. Addressing this concern, Assembly Bill A836 in New York has recently been passed and heads to the Governor's Desk to be enacted, providing significant protection of employees' and applicants' digital privacy.

Defining the Prohibition: Assembly Bill A836

The 2023-2024 legislative session of New York saw the introduction of Assembly Bill A836, sponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz. The bill provides comprehensive protection to the digital privacy of employees and job applicants, explicitly forbidding employers from requesting or requiring an employee or an applicant to disclose access details to their personal accounts on electronic communication devices.

What Constitutes a Personal Account?

Under the provisions of the bill, a personal account is an electronic medium profile where users create, share, and view user-generated content. This could range from uploading or downloading videos or photos, blogging, vlogging, instant messaging, or maintaining any internet website profile that is used by an individual exclusively for personal purposes.

Impact on Employers and Employees

Under the proposed bill, employers cannot compel or require employees or job applicants to disclose authentication details, access personal accounts in the employer's presence, or reproduce content or information from these personal accounts. Any infringement of this law may have legal repercussions.

Notable Exceptions

Despite the broad coverage of the bill, there are certain exceptions where an employer may request access information. These exceptions typically revolve around non-personal accounts that provide access to the employer's internal computer or information systems.

The bill also allows employers to request access information to an account used for business purposes or an account tied to an electronic device partially or fully paid by the employer. However, the employer must provide prior notice to the employee and obtain explicit agreement.

Looking Ahead

Upon being signed into law, Assembly Bill A836 will come into effect 180 days later, marking a significant milestone in the protection of digital privacy in the workplace. It emphasizes the necessity of distinguishing personal and professional spheres in the digital realm and serves as a potential precedent for other jurisdictions to follow.

Employers will have to adapt to this legislation and update their practices to maintain compliance. This underscores the continuous challenge of harmonizing privacy rights with business requirements in the rapidly evolving digital era.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Understanding Wrongful Termination: When You May Have a Case for Legal Action

Wrongful termination is a serious issue that can have significant consequences for employees who have been unfairly dismissed from their jobs. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, it's important to understand what types of situations can give rise to a case for wrongful termination.

There are two main scenarios in which an employee may have a case for wrongful termination. 
  1. Termination from whistleblowing or reporting a violation of law / safety to a supervisor or government agency. 
  2. Termination from discrimination based on your demographics, which can include race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, handicap / disability, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, stalking victim status, gender identity / expression, marital status, gender, creed, age, alienage status, citizenship status, ethnic background, pregnancy, arrest / sealed conviction record, and other protected categories.

If you believe that your termination falls under either of these scenarios, you may have a case for wrongful termination and you should seek legal representation. A qualified attorney will help you understand your rights and options and can work to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Contact Lieb at Law to find out how to get in touch with one of our litigation lawyers soon. Lieb at Law offers attorneys licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado, and in the federal courts. 

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Wednesday, November 02, 2022

NYC Pay Transparency Law is Now in Effect

The New York City Pay Transparency Law is, as of November 1, 2022, in effect. As previously reported in our Blog on March 29, 2022 and May 6, 2022, the law requires all employers, with 4 or more employees, to include a "good faith" salary range in all advertisements for a job, promotion or transfer opportunity that is to be performed - in whole or in part - in NYC.

The following are additional requirements/clarifications of the Law:

  • The Law covers full-time/part-time positions, interns, domestic workers and independent contractors.
  • "Advertisements" include all written descriptions of an available job, promotion or transfer opportunity publicized to a pool of potential applicants including internal postings.
  • The salary range must include both a minimum and a maximum salary (if employer has no flexibility, the minimum and maximum can be identical). 
  • The stated amounts should be the annual salary or hourly rate. Other forms of compensation (e.g. bonuses, tips, commissions, insurance, over time pay, etc.) do not need to be included.
  • The New York City Commission on Human Rights ("Commission") will investigate compliance with the new law (on its own and/or in response to complaints). 
  • Potential applicants can file claims with the Commission or can file a lawsuit in court.
  • The Commission will not assess a penalty for the first violation of the Law if cured within 30 days. However, the Commission may assess penalties of up to $250,000 for the first uncured violation and all subsequent violations. 

Employers need to immediately comply with these requirements. For additional information, please see NYC's fact sheet on the new law.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Newsy: Employment Discrimination & Quiet Quitting. Analysis with Attorney Andrew Lieb

 Attorney Andrew Lieb discusses employment discrimination in the quiet workplace environment including quiet quitting and quiet firing on Newsy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Newsy Interview: WWE CEO Vince McMahon Steps Down Amid Investigation. Analysis with Attorney Andrew Lieb

WWE CEO Vince McMahon Steps Down Amid Investigation. Newsy interview and analysis with Employment Attorney Andrew Lieb

Thursday, January 20, 2022

NYS DOL Publishes Emergency Regulations to Implement NY HERO Act Rules

The NYS DOL published new regulations, retroactively effective to January 1, 2022, as an emergency rule to implement the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act).

The regulations requires private sector employers to create an Exposure Prevention Plan to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to airborne infectious disease agents, which includes the COVID-19 virus and its variants.

The measure sets forth requirements that employers select and obtain exposure controls appropriate for the exposure risks. These controls must be included in the employer’s Exposure Prevention Plan. As to the plan, the NYS Department of Health has developed a new Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan (Template) and various industry specific model plans (Templates) for prevention of airborne infectious disease.

Employers must enact compliant plans immediately. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

New Rules Protecting Federal Employees from Employment Discrimination Published

Since 2021, federal employees have been protected from workplace discrimination by the Elijah E. Cummings Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination Act of 2020, which added protections, notice, and reporting to the No FEAR Act.

To implement the Cummings Act, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published proposed rules on January 6, 2022, which are currently in the public comment period. 

These rules include:  

  • Whistleblower and retaliation protections;
  • Notice of findings of intentional acts of discrimination to be made on a publically accessible internet page;
  • Agencies to submit annual reports to the Director of OPM;
  • Agencies to submit disciplinary action reports to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
  • Agency employees found to have intentionally committed discriminatory acts, including retaliation, will have notations of the discriminatory acts added to the employee's personnel record;
  • New public disclosure obligations; and
  • Federal agencies to add new trainings for all employees about their rights and remedies under law.

The comment period ends on 2/07/2022 and then, these rules will be finalized to become effective.