Employment Discrimination

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Facebook Job Ads and Age Discrimination

Is it unlawful for Facebook to target certain age groups with job ads?

Facebook is known as a relatively youthful company.  Facebook and many other companies routinely place job ads on social media that target younger employees.  As the internet era makes it easier for companies to attract employees of a certain age, it raises some interesting issues as to whether targeted ads constitute employment discrimination.  Our Read more . . .

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

What accommodations does my employer need to make for my pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a wonderful period of time in your life, but it is not without its challenges.  Pregnancy can impact your ability to perform work duties.  The good news for pregnant employees is that you are entitled to some protections under federal and state law.  Even with these protections in place, however, many pregnant employees find themselves being treated differently due to their medical condition.  Our

Read more . . .

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Religious Accommodations and Employee Dress Codes

Is my employer required to make exceptions to the dress code due to my religion?

A Mississippi restaurant chain is facing a lawsuit from a server who alleges the chain failed to accommodate her religious requests.  Georgia Blue LLC hired Kaetoya Watkins, a devout Apostolic Pentecostal Christian, to work as a waitress in 2015.  After receiving the job, Watkins learned that the restaurant required servers to wear blue jeans.  Watkins is only permitted to wear skirts or dresses per her religion.  When informed of this fact, the restaurant refused to accommodate her religious needs and rescinded its job offer.

Read more . . .

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Employment Discrimination and the “After-Acquired Evidence” Defense

What is the after-acquired evidence defense?

Employees in New York and across the country are protected from discrimination or unfavorable treatment based on certain attributes, such as their race, religion, disability, gender, and sexual orientation.  Employees who believe they have been discriminated against may be able to file an employment discrimination case.  Anyone considering filing such an action should be aware of the after-acquired evidence defense, which their employer may assert.
Read more . . .

Monday, March 20, 2017

Major Jewelry Conglomerate Faces Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

What should I do if I am being sexually harassed at work?

Hundreds of former employees have filed claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against Sterling Jewelers, the owner of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers.  Female employees claim the work environment in these mega jewelry stores encouraged sexual misconduct, such as groping and sexual favors in exchange for promotions.  The class action lawsuit was first filed in 2008, but the case remains unresolved.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For Your Own Sake Don’t Do THIS to Your Employees

Dumb, dumb, dumb case from Idaho, reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  You can find the case here:
Read more . . .

Monday, February 13, 2017

JFK Contractor Charged with Violation of NYC’s Human Rights Law

What is NYC’s Human Rights Law and how does it protect me?

A wheelchair assistance service company at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is facing serious charges for allegedly discriminating against Muslim employees.  The NYC Commission on Human Rights filed religious discrimination claims against Pax Assist, Inc.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Employers Can Ban Dreadlocks in the Workplace

Does Title VII protect hairstyles culturally associated with race?

In September, a federal appeals court ruled that an employer has a right to enforce a dress and grooming policy that prohibits employees from wearing their hair in dreadlocks. The case was initially brought in 2013 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against an insurance claims processing company in Mobile, Alabama that rescinded a job offer to a black woman who refused to cut her dreadlocks.

The Company Dress Code

The woman applied as a customer service representative with the company in 2010. After being hired, she was told by the human resources manager that the dreadlocks needed to be cut since the company's dress and grooming policy requires employees to project a "professional and businesslike image." The HR manager reportedly told the woman that dreadlocks "tend to get messy.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pushing the Boundaries of Title VII

Does federal law prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on specific characteristics including race, color, national origin, religion and gender. Currently, as it has been interpreted by case law, Title VII does not protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, legislation to end these forms of discrimination in the workplace stalled in Congress in 2013.

EEOC Initiative

Now, the federal government agency responsible for investigating employment discrimination claims has weighed in on the issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a bulletin in July stating that Title VII's prohibitions of sex discrimination includes employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pregnancy Discrimination

What constitutes pregnancy discrimination?

As of May 6, 2016 the definition of pregnancy discrimination was clarified by the New York City Commission on Human Rights under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) which gives clear examples of the particular accommodations employers have to make for women relative to pregnancy-and-childbirth-related medical conditions.

Previous Laws Prohibiting Gender Discrimination

Before the new law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (New York City Administrative Code § 8-107(22)(a) already required employers to provide accommodations to pregnant workers to allow them to continue performing their regular duties at work. New York's State Legislature bill, "Protect Women from Pregnancy Discrimination," provided for the expansion of these protections statewide.

Defining Discrimination

The recent guidance offered by the New York City law makes it unlawful to treat an employee or job applicant "less well than others" because of her actual or perceived pregnancy. The following actions are specifically prohibited:


  • Refusing to hire someone qualified because she appears to be, or states that she is, pregnant
  • Firing an employee because of her pregnancy
  • Harassing a pregnant employee by commenting on her weight, appearance, age, job commitment or ability to concentrate
  • Excluding pregnant workers from particular job categories
  • Requiring pregnant employees to take unpaid leave at a certain time during their pregnancies
  • Requiring pregnant workers to obtain medical clearance to perform certain tasks if such medical clearance is not required of other employees


    Prohibitions of pregnancy discrimination apply in situations in which a woman is expected to become pregnant in the near future as well as in situations in which she is already with child.

Read more . . .

Friday, April 15, 2016

NYC Human Rights Law Strengthened by Amendments to Employment and Public Accommodations

What recent and significant changes have been made to NYC's human rights laws?

Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently signed into law amendments intended to remediate and strengthen the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), particularly in regard to franchisers, franchisees and lessors. In keeping with the Mayor's stated purpose of improving legislation to protect employees and tenants from having their civil rights violated, he has signed into law amendments designed to:

  • Remove language regarding sexual orientation
  • Give the New York City Human Rights Commission the authority to award attorney fees
  • Add franchiser, franchisee and lessor to the list of those forbidden to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, disability, or any other protected class
  • Make it illegal to deny housing to anyone because he or she is a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking
  • Make it illegal to use discriminatory advertisements and public statements

It is important for all employers, businesses, and lessors to review their procedures to ensure that they are in compliance with the newly amended NYCHRL. The new legislation requires that "exceptions and exemptions from the NYCHRL be narrowly construed in an effort “to maximize deterrence of discriminatory conduct.”

Another aspect of the amendments to NYCHRL's protections addresses the manner in which discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be construed. The new wording states that language of the law should not be construed to:

  • Restrict an employer’s right to require that employees meet certain actual job qualifications
  • Permit employers to inquire about the sexual orientation of their current or potential employees or to adopt affirmative action quotas based on sexual orientation
  • Limit or override any pre-existing exemptions under NYCHRL
  • Legalize any act that violates New York Penal Law
  • Endorse any particular behavior or way of life

In addition, the amendments make it unlawful to "offer benefits, services or privileges" to anyone who is (or is presumed to be) a member of a protected class in such a way that such a person is deprived of the full and equal enjoyment” of those benefits on “equal terms and conditions” as all others who are not members of a protected class.

Read more . . .

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