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Queens Employment Law Blog

Taking steps toward filing a sexual harassment claim

Employees who are being subjected to sexual harassment know when it's happening. Even though this kind of treatment makes employees uncomfortable and is completely unacceptable, it may not be exactly clear what steps can or should be taken.

Every case of sexual harassment is different, but there are some basic steps that can be followed to help that your rights are protected and the unfair treatment is put to an end.

Misconceptions may be keeping unemployment for disabled afloat

The economic recovery over the last few years has been a very welcome improvement. Theoretically speaking, a growing economy creates a "rising tide to lift all boats." While this is a hopeful sentiment, it may not quite meet reality.

Over the course of 2013, the overall unemployment rate nearly dropped by a full point, from 7.9 percent to 7.1 percent. For those on the market for a job, this is welcome news. With lower unemployment rates, opportunity is opened. However, over the same period of time, the unemployment rate for people living with disabilities remained stagnant at about 13 percent.

Understanding how FMLA protects pregnant employees

As federal law indicates, most employers cannot discriminate against employees simply because they are pregnant. This means that pregnant workers cannot be removed from schedules, docked pay or passed up for promotions. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act quite clearly lays out these forbidden practices.

At the same time, federal law provides additional support to working pregnant women. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission points out that the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to look after personal and family health issues.

Despite progress, LGBT employment discrimination is still present

Over the last few years in particular, New York and the rest of the country have made strides in terms of advancing laws designed to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. For example, same-sex marriage is now legal in our state.

Despite these moves, problems appear to persist. Currently, there is no federal protection against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, New York law does make this accommodation.

Changes to the law can be made, but it's going to take larger changes in attitude to work toward making truly fair and equitable professional environments.

New York state law now addresses intern sexual harassment

As college students or graduates look to gain experience in the workforce, they will learn one thing very quickly: It's an incredibly competitive game to obtain and maintain gainful employment. As such, many young people might accept unpaid internships, which are often competitive too, in order to build their resumes.

Even though an unpaid intern isn't compensated, it doesn't mean that he or she is any less entitled to be treated with dignity and respect by their employers and coworkers. Now, New York state law has come closer to recognizing this.

Defining the relationship between small business and the ADA

One of the most significant pieces of legislation in terms of providing equal access to employment opportunities is the Americans with Disabilities Act. Generally speaking, the federal law compels employers to open employment opportunities to those living with a disability by providing reasonable accommodations.

Of course, this employee protection provides a great deal of security to individuals who might otherwise be passed over for employment or terminated simply because employers do not want to be flexible.

Knowing that small businesses have different resources and needs than larger employers, it may be worthwhile to examine how the ADA applies in relation to a company's size.

What constitutes wrongful termination? Discrimination, Part 2

Having employment generally adds a sense of stability to an individual's life. Income can provide support to individual employees and their loved ones. However, being terminated from employment creates a significant disruption. This feeling is amplified if a person is fired on less-than-legitimate grounds.

In our blog post published on June 25, we took a look at how at-will employment relationships function in terms of wrongful termination claims. Although employers have a lot of latitude in firing at-will workers, there are some standards for treatment that never change. Workplace discrimination laws apply to all employees, even those in at-will positions.

What constitutes wrongful termination? At-will employment, Part 1

Being fired from work is obviously an experience that no one wants to go through. The situation can be made worse if the termination is motivated by unfair reasons. When this happens, employees may wonder if they have any recourse.

Most of the employment relationships in the U.S. are considered at will, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This represents a scenario in which employers and employees can terminate employment for basically any reason. Naturally, this type of arrangement might seem a bit off-putting.

Thankfully, however, there are some situations in which termination from employment can be considered illegal.

FMLA rights and same-sex couples: rule to extend coverage

One of the most important threads in this blog is the protections granted to employees under federal law by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Most recently, in our June 3 post, we noted the role that FMLA can play in protecting against pregnancy discrimination. Those rights generally allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a close family member without losing their jobs.

In today's post, we will discuss the rule that the Obama administration is expected to announce today on FMLA benefits for same-sex married couples.

Sexual harassment case against Assembly speaker moves forward

Sex discrimination can occur in any organization, at any level. But this certainly does not mean that sexual harassment or discrimination is acceptable.

Indeed, a lawsuit that is moving forward against the speaker of the New York Assembly is a reminder that wrongful sexual conduct in the workplace can be challenged. It can be challenged even when those who have engaged in such conduct are of very high rank.

In today's post, we will discuss the Assembly case in which this is occuring.

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