Articles Posted in DIscrimination Overview

By a vote of 3-2, the National Labor Relations Board revised how it will decide joint-employer status, a move that will affect nearly three million temporary workers across the nation. The Board determined that the prior standard fell short of keeping up with workplace and financial needs, and the new standard represents the existing market more accurately.

The new definition for joint-employers includes the following:

1.    Both parties meet the criteria for employers according to common law, and /or

Nonprofit organizations are allowed to use unpaid volunteers, as long as the volunteers’ work is part of the nonprofit activities of the organization. If, however, a nonprofit organization also runs a commercial business, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that those working in that business be classified as employees and be paid minimum wage and overtime.

An Ohio televangelist allegedly ran afoul of that rule when he used unpaid volunteers in a for-profit buffet restaurant that his church operates. Now the Department of Labor (DOL) has filed a wage-and-hour lawsuit against the church and its leader.

The lawsuit also accuses the televangelist of a slate of other bad actions:

Architecture professor and CUNY Dean George Ranalli stands accused of sexual harassment, according to a recent report from the New York Post.

Ranalli, who taught for two decades at the Yale University School of Architecture prior to taking on the role of the Dean of the Bernard and Ann Spitzer School of Architecture for City College, allegedly harassed his office assistant, Ariella Campisi, after an office holiday party in December 2013.

According to Campisi’s story, her boss was driving her home from the party, when they got stuck in traffic on the Westside Highway, following festivities at the Smoke Jazz and Supper Club. Per the Post, the 68-year-old proceeded to rub her knee and thigh “in a sexual manner, right below where her skirt ended” and later asked his assistant: “you look so beautiful. Can I kiss you?”

Our New York employment law firm has filed numerous lawsuits against high-profile businesses, restaurants, and organizations for wage and hour violations, tip pool violations and other instances of flouting New York Labor Laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

But what motivates this mission? Why bother compelling a restaurant to stop “nickel and diming” its wait staff, for instance, when the financial damage seems to be rather limited?

First off, we believe that people should be paid fairly for the work that they do. Period. An employee who loses $50 a week due to an unfair and illegal tip pool violation, for instance, will really feel that loss, particularly when he or she is struggling to get by in an expensive city, like New York.

Workplace sexual harassment cases in New York (and beyond) often appear pretty cut and dry to objective observers. For instance, a boss may make outrageous comments in the office or grab or grope an employee, sometimes to horrific effect.

That said, when it comes to more impersonal modes of communication, like text messaging, it can be more challenging to prove misconduct or wrongdoing. Was a weird comment or awkward picture harassment… or a glitch or typo?

Context is crucial. If your boss has a habit of ogling you at work, asking you out and making inappropriate comments about your boyfriend… and then he texts you a nasty picture or veiled sexual innuendo… such text messages could likely be considered evidence of harassing behavior.

A legal decision upholding the rights of workers at Tyson Foods pork processing plants came under fire recently as Tyson filed a petition to have a $5.8 million judgment overturned. The judgment was initially awarded following a case in U.S. District Court that found workers at a plant in Iowa had not been properly compensated for the time it takes to sanitize equipment when their shifts end, nor the time involved in putting on and taking off protective gear required for working at the plant.

At the time the case was filed, Tyson paid workers an additional four to seven minutes’ pay each day for these activities, but workers said the time actually used in performing the activities was much greater – sometimes as much as 30 minutes. Tyson responded by increasing the extra pay to 20 to 22 minutes’ extra pay for each shift for its hourly employees.

The workers’ legal team countered by claiming Tyson violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as state laws by neglecting to pay overtime for actual time worked, and the class action suit was filed and won.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane doesn’t intend to remove Chief of Staff Jonathan Duecker from his post, despite allegations by Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Kluk accusing Duecker of sexually harassing her. Duecker, who had headed the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, was promoted to chief of staff in early May.

Kluk says Duecker ran his hand up the back of her shirt and touched her skin; she also alleges that he placed his hand on her thigh during a dinner with other narcotics bureau agents.

Kane’s communication adviser Chuck Ardo said Kane believes the claims are being made to undermine her, and he added that, after the incident, Duecker “went through his chain of command to request they look into it. The chain of command looked into it and felt no further action was warranted.”
Ardo added that it’s unclear whether an investigation was ever initiated under the attorney general’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the attorney general’s version of an internal affairs unit.

A lawsuit recently filed in Manhattan Federal Court alleges that executives at CBS committed sexual harassment. The lawsuit, filed by celebrity reporter Ken Lombardi, describes an ongoing climate of harassment at the CBS office, where the 29 year old reporter worked for several years.

The story serves as a powerful reminder that the victims of sexual harassment need not always be women.

Documents filed in the suit allege that, at a 2013 holiday party, Duane Tollison, a senior producer and Lombardi’s boss at the time, “grabbed Lombardi’s crotch and kissed his neck.” Tollison followed up the following day with a written correspondence saying: “I wanted to apologize if anything I did offended you or crossed a line. I like to get a little crazy. If you weren’t offended, then let’s do it again. LOL How is your day so far? :)”

Once upon a time in America, the concept of “lifetime employment” was the norm. The average worker counted on staying with an employer until retirement, at which point he or she could also look forward to a decent pension from his or her employer.

Those days are long gone.

Not only is lifetime employment virtually unheard of these days, but older workers also frequently find themselves among the ranks of the long-term unemployed. At first glance, unemployment statistics appear to indicate that older workers are in a better position than their younger counterparts; however, those statistics deceive.

Here’s a New York discrimination story that’s sparked thousands of conservations (and no doubt many arguments as well) among residents of the entire Big Apple.

The chain restaurant, TGI Friday’s, recent closed its Manhattan location and opened another restaurant only a block away. Workers from the old location claim that management told them they would have a chance to apply for positions at the new store. They never got the opportunity.

Critics claim that the TGI Friday’s new location opened with new, lighter skinned workers. Just one black employee from the old location successfully transitioned to the new location. According to a New York Daily News article, former employees allege that managers consistently and openly “referred to the old location as ‘the ghetto store.’” They also say that, in response to protesting Hispanic employees, management told them to “work harder.”