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New York Employment Law Blog

Construction company owner jailed for wage and hour violations

Construction companies in New York are required to pay workers on public projects a predetermined hourly rate. This prevailing wage is set by local authorities, and in New York City, it is established by the Office of the City Comptroller. Failing to pay the prevailing wage can lead to criminal sanctions including jail time, which is what happened recently in a case involving the owner of a Long Island contractor.

On June 10, the New York State attorney general and comptroller announced that the owner of a Nassau County-based construction firm would spend 30 days in jail for failing to pay the prevailing wage and falsifying records to conceal his activities. He will serve three years of probation after being released. His wife, who was convicted on misdemeanor counts of the same charges, was given a conditional discharge.

Investment bank accused of LGBT discrimination

New York-based Goldman Sachs was accused of workplace discrimination on June 5 in a lawsuit filed by one of its former vice presidents. The 31-year-old man clams that he was terminated after speaking up about the way LGBT workers were treated at the company. A Goldman Sachs representative denied the allegations, which he described as meritless.

The man joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst in 2010 after graduating from college. He says in his lawsuit that he was promoted to vice president after only six years with the bank due to his outstanding job performance. He claims that things changed in 2018 when he filed a complaint with the bank's employee Relations department over what he described as rampant homophobia and sexual orientation discrimination.

Risks for women reporting sexual harassment at work

Despite the rise of the #MeToo movement and public exposure of prominent sexual harassers, many women in New York and around the country fear to report inappropriate behavior, although some have come forward about their experiences in the workplace. Even when they do, they are sometimes criticized for taking time before reporting the issues. Some believe that all employees need to do is report the problem in order to solve it. In reality, retaliation is a very serious concern.

One study demonstrated that people continue to have negative perceptions of women workers who report sexual harassment. The study asked people if they were likely to promote a hypothetical worker in certain situations. They were far less likely to support her promotion if they heard that she had reported instances of unwanted sexual behavior on the job. Interestingly, they were more likely to support a promotion if she reported nonsexual inappropriate behavior in the workplace. While the study was theoretical, it exposed very real attitudes that women workers face on the job if they report harassment. They are likely to lose opportunities for advancement and increased pay even if they do not face outright retaliation.

Retaliation continues to hurt women reporting harassment

While people in New York are now more aware of sexual harassment, it continues to pose a serious problem on the job for many women. The #MeToo movement shed light on harassment and sexual coercion in major industries, including entertainment, politics and technology. While it may have bolstered some women's willingness to report inappropriate treatment on the job, the movement has not stopped sexual harassment from taking place. Indeed, women are still facing firing, demotion or attempts to force them out of their jobs, especially after reporting harassment incidents.

Retaliation by employers is illegal; workers cannot be fired or otherwise penalized for reporting sexual harassment. Still, it continues to be an all-too-common practice that pressures many female employees and stops them from speaking up about mistreatment on the job. Some companies have come under fire for policies related to harassment, including mandatory arbitration procedures and nondisclosure agreements that largely serve to protect perpetrators rather than victims. The success of the #MeToo movement in ousting powerful executives in the entertainment industry has encouraged many to come forward, but they continue to face inappropriate retaliation in many cases.

You need time to care for yourself when you take care of others

There are many people throughout the United States who work as a nurse. While providing comfort and care to others can be emotionally challenging and physically demanding, you might feel the job is rewarding.

But as with any job, nursing can have its downfalls. When your job entails medication administration, personal cares and patient monitoring, you must be alert and prepared for the unexpected. But if your health care facility requires mandatory overtime, are you able to adequately treat the patients in your care? And do you have the right to refuse the extra work hours which would deplete your energy for your upcoming shifts?

Survey: Attorneys also experience high rates of sexual harassment

Over the last couple of years, the problem of sexual harassment (in all areas of life) has come into sharper focus and greater public awareness. Even many women who have personally experienced sexual harassment or assault did not know the true scale of the problem because it was seldom discussed publicly. Thankfully, that is changing.

As we have these difficult conversations and ask victims to come forward, we are learning that no profession is immune from workplace sexual harassment – including the legal profession. According to a recent survey of nearly 7,000 attorneys in 135 countries, nearly a third of female lawyers reported being a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey, which was conducted by the International Bar Association (IBA), also found that nearly half of female attorneys had been bullied at work.

New York, other states mandating sexual harassment training

Bringing awareness to a serious issue can often help find a resolution to the problem. Just over a year ago, the #MeToo movement began, and now, several states are addressing the issue of sexual harassment by mandating workplace training regarding the issue. At this point, however, states do not seem to be working together to create a cohesive training program, and some states have not mandated such training at all.

Do you qualify for coverage under the FLSA?

As someone who works hard for a living, you undoubtedly want to make sure that your efforts are not for nothing. Typically, individuals receive compensation for the work they perform, which allows for a fair exchange. Of course, you may worry about not receiving the proper compensation for your work, but the Fair Labor Standards Acts works to ensure fair and correct pay.

Rail worker voices concerns regarding wrongdoing on project

When workers suspect that their employers have not complied with the law or have participated in other wrongdoing, they may have worries about what to do. At first, they may want to trust their employers, but some actions may not be easily ignored. As a result, individuals may feel the need to report the wrongdoing through whistleblower claims.

Out-of-state workers claim wage theft over disabled-employee pay

Many individuals with disabilities struggle to find jobs and hold jobs more often than able-bodied people. As a result, they may try to keep any job they come across, even if they are not treated as fairly as others. Still, when disabled workers believe that they have been treated in a manner that violates the law, such as through wage theft, they may want to consider taking legal action.

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