There are many different policies employers put in place regarding their workers. It is extremely important for employers to make sure none of their policies are wrongfully discriminatory against workers, such as discriminatory on the basis of religion.
One of our biggest concerns at Serrins Fisher is protecting workers from employer retaliation. Recently we discussed the ongoing legal battle being fought by a Nassau County sheriff's deputy who says she was sexually harassed at work and retaliated against by her employer. Unfortunately, these problems exist in workplaces throughout New York City, so let's discuss what constitutes retaliation and how it can be stopped.
Plainly speaking, discrimination claims are complex. For employees, dealing with discrimination in the workplace can be overwhelming and challenging. If an employee is part of a protected class (some examples include race, religion and gender) and discriminated against in the workplace, he or she may have a strong employment law claim.
The U.S. Agriculture Department has been held to account numerous times in recent years for discrimination based on race and gender. The department made payouts to female and Hispanic farmers to compensate for discrimination; Native American farmers brought a class-action suit, which the department settled; and black farmers who complained of discrimination won a $1.15 billion settlement.
Discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace is an ongoing problem that often has to be addressed in a legal capacity to facilitate change for the better. In addition to achieving justice for themselves, pregnant women who speak up about discrimination also help protect other women who could face a similar situation.
According to research from the National Women's Law Center, as much as 60 percent of individuals who experience workplace sexual harassment do not report the problem. In other words, the thousands of sexual harassment cases reported each year only scratch the surface.
Laws on the federal, state and city levels offer protections against national origin discrimination in workplaces in New York. Following are the laws that provide those protections:
Since the 1990s, discrimination against federal employees based on their sexual orientation has been prohibited. However, up until recently, the protections didn't extend to federal workers who identify as transgender. As we discussed in our previous post -- "President may issue executive order on workplace harassment" -- President Obama decided to take matters into his own hands and broaden protections for LGBT workers.
As many New Yorkers can attest, harassment and discrimination in the workplace are serious issues. In fact, President Barack Obama has asked his staff to compile an executive order regarding discrimination in the workplace against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors, which could affect as many as 16 million employees.
Close your eyes and picture a mathematician. What does this person look like? Is the individual male or female? If you are a hiring manager, you likely said "male." Even though it is ridiculous to think that men are better at math, science or engineering than women (and it is something that very few hiring mangers would be willing to say aloud), the fact of the matter is that many people in the position to hire individuals to perform math-based functions have a bias for men.