Articles Posted in Discrimination Overview

Alexandra Marchuk recently sued her former law firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, and one of its partners, Juan Monteverde, for sexual harassment, alleging that she had been assaulted and subjected to a hostile workplace environment. Her case went to trial on January 12, and the jury reached a verdict on Thursday, February 5, after just a 24-hour deliberation.

The jury did not grant Marchuk’s request for $2 million in damages. Instead, jurors awarded her $90,000 in compensation and lost pay and $50,000 in punitive damages for employment discrimination. Notably, the jury did not award damages for emotional distress or discrimination under federal law.

Win, Lose or Draw?

Our New York employment attorneys have been fascinated by the implications of a political appointment in neighboring Pennsylvania. The state’s new governor, Tom Wolf, a self-identified progressive, has nominated a transgender woman, Dr. Rachel Levine, to be the state’s Physician General. Dr. Levine has identified herself as a woman for 5 years.

Dr. Levine recently spoke with reporters at the Washington Blade about her career. Administrators at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center have been supportive of her transition; and the hospital has established clear and effective policies to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression.

As Physician General for Pennsylvania, Dr. Levine will oversee critical health initiatives and policy work for the state as well as continue her work as a private physician. She’ll serve in an advisory capacity for the Secretary of the Department of Health and for the governor. At Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Dr. Levine serves as the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders and the vice chairwoman for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics.

The Obama administration’s recent push for stronger labor laws has sparked an intense national conversation over what constitutes fair treatment and fair pay for workers.

Federal agencies, supported by the administration, recently brought a major case against McDonald’s, which we discussed in detail in a previous blog post. The fast-food giant has been charged with labor-law violations and coercive tactics to silence employees. Critics claim executives exploited and extended labor elections to deny union formation among McDonald’s employees. Some dubious company practices, like monitoring employees’ email accounts for hints of union organizations in off-hours, have now stopped. The case has the potential to influence labor regulations concerning pay, overtime, and healthcare.

The suit against McDonald’s is just one piece of important news, though. Promising new technological advances may soon streamline the processes by which workers can enforce and collect back pay. Additionally, legislation proposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) may improve the way employees who work over 40 hours a week are compensated. If such legislation passes, more workers will qualify for time-and-a-half pay for overtime.

Many citizens seek to file class action lawsuits every year in response to perceived wrongdoings that have racial, religious, or gender related elements. Here are 3 tips every person must keep in mind before he or she sets out to file a class action suit.

1. Know What a Class Action Lawsuit Is

A class action suit is loosely defined as a lawsuit filed by a group of people who believe their rights were violated in some way. During this type of suit, a judge will decide the rights of several people at once. For example, if all the African-American and Hispanic tenants in an apartment building believe a landlord has treated them unfairly by because they are non-white, they might file a class-action suit. The judge’s responsibility would be to decide what the whole group is entitled to from the landlord under existing laws.

Prominent civil rights attorney, John Doar, died of heart failure in his Manhattan home on November 12, 2014. The impact of his accomplishments will never be forgotten.

Doar played a key role in protecting the rights of black students, both in the voting booths and in academia. Doar’s work often took him to Mississippi – one of the last states to accept integration in the 1960s. When the University of Mississippi finally integrated in 1962, Doar escorted its first black student, James Meredith, onto campus.

Doar was also known for his tireless work defending civil rights activists and other disenfranchised black citizens throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. In 1967, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, three young civil rights workers, were slain. Doar served as the prosecuting attorney in their case, successfully charging seventeen men with violating the civil rights of the three victims.

The number of Americans dissatisfied with one or more aspects of their jobs is shocking, as New York employment attorneys are well aware. According to a study reported in the New York Times, half or more of U.S. workers reported fundamental limitations to their ability to think creatively, focus on individual tasks, perform enjoyable work, and find meaning in their professions.

Those employees reporting high satisfaction levels at work attributed their sense of fulfillment to several factors, including:

• Breaks.
Taking a break every 90 minutes can yield up to 30 percent higher focus levels than for those who take one or fewer breaks per day. It can also result in 50 percent higher creativity and 46 percent greater feelings of health or wellbeing. Employers who encourage their employees to take breaks also enjoy higher retention rates.

Is “work-life balance” merely a fantasy for American workers? An increasing number of professionals seem to think so.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, recently spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival regarding the difficulties of being a high-powered executive and a parent. As a professional who habitually works until midnight, Nooyi employs the help of her children’s grandparents to help raise them.

Contrary to the ideal many working mothers strive toward every day, Nooyi doesn’t believe “women can have it all.” She cites the conflicting timelines of career and parenthood, noting the years women spend raising children are the same years during which they must work toward management positions.

Back in 1992, only 17% of college graduates took an unpaid internship. That percentage has nearly tripled — today, it’s around 50%. Meanwhile, companies justify unpaid internships as “just the way things are” and “a great way for young people to get experience.” But more and more people are rebelling against the practice of unpaid internships, calling it illegal, and filing lawsuits to get it to stop.

As this blog (and many other sources) reported, last year, unpaid interns at Fox Studios sued the big production company for making them work jobs without actually paying them.

The United States has minimum wage laws for a reason — to protect workers from exploitation, even if they might consent to such practices. A powerful new cartoon published on the site Upworthy exposes the astonishing hypocrisies at work in the unpaid internship industry. The cartoonist hopes to inspire people to crack down on this preposterous practice and compel employers to pay young workers for their time and service.

In January, a District Judge denied a motion to dismiss claims for relief in an a major sexual harassment and wage and hour case. Let’s take a quick look at the background of this case and extract a few lessons for you, if you’ve experienced sexual harassment, gender discrimination, or other unfair treatment at your workplace.

According to the allegations in this case, the defendant male worked as an IT supervisor. A female IT associate started working for the firm. The supervisor invited her to go to a bar after work hours. After accepting this invitation, she told her supervisor that she had been a victim of domestic violence that had left her feeling awful and physically and emotionally traumatized.

Once they were at the bar, the interactions took a bizarre turn, according to the complainant’s allegations.

Note to any potential plaintiffs out there: if you win $80,000 in an age discrimination lawsuit, and you sign a confidentiality agreement, avoid bragging about your win on social media to 1,200 people, many of whom are intimately connected with the defendant.

Unfortunately for 69-year-old Patrick Snay, the Headmaster of a Miami school (Gulliver Preparatory), such a gaff just cost him a major settlement. He had sued his former school for age discrimination, after Gulliver terminated his contract in 2010. He won $80,000 in November 2011, and that should have been that.

However, there was a catch. (Isn’t there always?)

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