The basketball court isn’t the only place you’ll see interesting uniforms this month.  Many employers choose to implement and enforce their own uniform requirements and dress codes at work.  But if done incorrectly, uniforms or dress codes may reinforce stereotypical gender roles and put transgender employees and applicants in a very uncomfortable place.  In addition, some religious people in the workplace require exceptions to uniform requirements and dress codes in order to adhere to their beliefs.  There was even a hotly debated Supreme Court opinion a couple years ago about a religious headwear exception to an employer’s dress code.  These increasing changes in the law are forcing employers to take a time out to rethink their uniform and dress code strategies to make sure they do not travel out of bounds.

uniform

Continue Reading March A-Wear-Ness: Uniforms, Dress Codes, and Employee Choice

Sometimes a judge says what many of us are already thinking.  In Rivera v. Crowell & Moring L.L.P., Katherine B. Forrest was that judge.

Continue Reading New York Federal Court Judge Expresses Dismay Over NYC Human Rights Law Claim Legal Standard

shutterstock_221257096Last week, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act became effective.  It amended the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from making employment decisions based on an employee or applicant’s consumer credit history.  You can read the specifics here.  The NYC Commission on Human Rights has now released enforcement guidance detailing its interpretation of this new law.  Our immediate takeaway: employers should attempt to utilize the law’s exemptions sparingly, and when they do, they should document it sufficiently.  We breakdown the guidance below.

Continue Reading The New York City Commission on Human Rights Releases Enforcement Guidance on the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act

The New York City Human Rights Law specifically says that an employer’s agent can be held liable for discrimination, but its liability provision doesn’t address the circumstances under which that agent may be held liable for the discriminatory actions of the agent’s employee.  A New York Federal Court has now addressed this gap in the law.

Continue Reading New York Federal Court Applies New York City Human Rights Law’s Liability Provision to Employer’s Agent

Written by Michael Arnold

The employment practices risk profile for companies that employ members of the same family may have just increased as a result of Dillon v. NED Management, Inc., a decision out of the Eastern District of New York.

Continue Reading It’s a Family Affair: New York Federal Court Holds that Family Relationship May be Sufficient to Qualify Employee as a “Supervisor” under Title VII

Written by Michael Arnold

“Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” While the author to this famous New Year’s quote remains unknown, that certainly doesn’t make it any less true, including for employers. We hope that, this year, you will buck this trend and actually start doing things a little differently – take a fresh look at that handbook, revisit that non-compete agreement you give to employees that, admittedly, you just cut and pasted off the internet years’ ago, perform that overtime exemption analysis you’ve been putting off forever . . . .  It’s never too late to get your affairs in order, and the New Year provides you with the perfect opportunity to do so. And for those of you with employees here in New York, and especially in New York City, we implore you do so as the laws, as you’ll see below, are once again a changin.

Below we look back at the year that was and discuss the year that will be in New York. We hope that you have a great 2014 and look forward to continuing to bring you the latest and greatest in updates here on Employment Matters.

Continue Reading New York Employers – 2013 Year in Review and Looking Ahead to 2014

Written by Michael Arnold

The New York Court of Appeals – New York’s highest court – is out with a new decision this week addressing our favorite statutory friend (foe?), the New York City Human Rights Law – this time in the context of a disability discrimination claim. In a word, the court, in Romanello v. Intesa Sanpaolo, refused to create a bright line rule that an employee’s request for an indefinite leave of absence to accommodate a disability is per se unreasonable under the City Law. This stands in contrast to the judicially-created rule that such requests are unreasonable under the New York State Human Rights Law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead, the Court in Romanello ruled that the employer must show that such a request would constitute an undue hardship – a showing Intesa did not make on its motion to dismiss, allowing Romanello’s claim to survive. Continue Reading New York State’s Highest Court Confirms that a Request for Indefinite Leave May Constitute a Reasonable Accommodation Under the New York City Human Rights Law

Written by Michael Arnold

I just finished reading a very interesting opinion in Wang v. Phoenix Satellite Television US, Inc., which Judge Castel issued late last week out of the Southern District of New York and which addresses the scope of the New York City Human Rights Law – arguably the broadest anti-discrimination statute in the nation. In it, the Court threw out the hostile work environment discrimination claims of the plaintiff, Lehuan Wang, finding that the NYCHRL does not extend its protections to unpaid interns. (Her separate failure to hire discrimination claims survived.) This holding does not seem all that controversial to me. The Federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws have traditionally never extended their protections to volunteers or unpaid interns unless their provisions explicitly provided for such coverage. However, I’m not sure employers should rest so easy here. Let me explain.

Continue Reading New York Federal District Court Declines to Extend Protections against Discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law to Unpaid Interns; But Should the Analysis End There?

Written by Michael Arnold

The nation’s broadest anti-discrimination law just got broader – now requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Existing Federal, state and city laws already protect women against pregnancy discrimination, but none went so far as to require reasonable accommodations. (Remember: the Americans with Disabilities Act, while requiring employers to reasonably accommodate those with qualified disabilities, does not view pregnancy itself as a qualified disability.)

Continue Reading New York City Council Amends New York City Human Rights Law to Require Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations to Pregnant Employees