Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

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New York State Set to Further Expand Protections Against Workplace Harassment

New York State lawmakers have approved broad legislation that will lower the burden on plaintiffs seeking to prove claims of workplace harassment under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), as well as extend the statute of limitations and expand potential damages for such claims. The bill also expands coverage under the NYSHRL and broadens existing limitations on nondisclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration clauses. This sweeping bill represents the latest effort by the State legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo—who is … Continue Reading

Oregon Aims to Prevent Harassment with the Workplace Protection Act

Employees in Oregon have greater protections against workplace harassment thanks to the recently-passed Workplace Protection Act (the “Act”), which would prohibit requiring nondisclosure agreements for employees or applicants that prohibits them from revealing sexual assault, harassment or discrimination. The new law also requires employers to implement a written anti-harassment policy and it extends the statute … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Filing an EEOC Charge Is Not a Jurisdictional Requirement for Title VII Suits

In a unanimous decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the United States Supreme Court held that while an employee has a mandatory obligation to file a charge with the EEOC prior to bringing a discrimination suit under Title VII, such obligation is a procedural, rather than jurisdictional, requirement.  The key takeaway for employers … Continue Reading

Kansas City, Missouri Passes Ban on Salary History Inquiries

Kansas City, Missouri is the latest jurisdiction (and the second Midwestern city in recent weeks) to enact a law that will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about salary history. The ordinance, which takes effect on October 31, 2019, will apply to employers in Kansas City with six or more employees, and will prohibit such … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Test for Employee Status

On May 8, 2019, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed its test for determining employee status under federal anti-discrimination laws, holding that a physician lacked standing to bring Title VII claims against the hospital at which she maintained practice privileges because she was not an employee. Levitin v. Northwest Community Hospital, No. 16-cv-3774. Background Plaintiff owned and … Continue Reading

Washington State Legislature Passes Ban on Salary History Inquiries

Washington is poised to become the ninth state to pass a law that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The state legislature recently passed HB 1696, which would, among other things, prohibit employers from inquiring into the prior “wage or salary history” of an applicant for employment. The bill has … Continue Reading

SCOTUS to Decide Whether Title VII Protects Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On April 22, 2019, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in three cases that raise the question of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  In two of the cases, Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the Court will consider whether Title VII’s prohibition on … Continue Reading

Impactful Sexual Harassment Bill Passes Illinois Senate

On April 11, 2019, the Illinois state Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1829, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act (the “Act”).  If passed by the House of Representatives, the Act would impose new requirements and limitations on Illinois employers with respect to harassment and discrimination claims.  The following are the Act’s key features. … Continue Reading

Proskauer Unveils Employment Law Toolkit and Hosts #Metoo Panel at HR Transform

On March 26 – 28, 2019, Harris Mufson, Danielle Moss, and Samantha Regenbogen attended the second annual HR Transform conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Proskauer was the exclusive legal sponsor of the conference. The HR Transform conference brought together business leaders and HR executives to discuss cutting edge issues regarding human resources and employee workplace … Continue Reading

New York City Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

As we previously reported, New York City has enacted the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, which is a package of bills aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Effective April 1, 2019, all New York City employers with 15 or more employees (including interns) are required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment … Continue Reading

[Podcast]: The NYCCHR Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Appearance & Grooming Policies

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partner Harris Mufson and associate Arielle Kobetz discuss the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) enforcement guidance on appearance and grooming policies that ban or restrict naturally curly hair, dreadlocks, braids, cornrows and other hairstyles. While the guidance, which was issued on February 19, 2019, specifically details protections for Black people … Continue Reading

New Jersey Enacts Law Limiting Non-Disclosure Obligations in Settlement Agreements

On March 18, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Senate Bill 121, which prohibits nondisclosure clauses in settlement agreements relating to workplace discrimination, retaliation or harassment. Effective immediately, the law renders unenforceable any provision in an employment contract that waives “any substantive or procedural right or remedy relating to a claim of … Continue Reading

EEOC Opens EEO-1 Portal and Issues Statement On EEO-1

As we previously reported, a federal judge has lifted the stay issued by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) that halted implementation of the EEOC’s revised EEO-1 form that would have added compensation data to the annual EEO-1 survey submission (the “Revised EEO-1”). In so ruling, the judge ordered “that the previous approval of … Continue Reading

The Third Circuit Finds No Age Discrimination Related to Virgin Islands Law That Encouraged Long-Tenured Employees to Retire

The Third Circuit recently issued a significant opinion in Bryan v. Government of the Virgin Islands, Case No. 18-1941, 2019 WL 661822 (3rd Cir. February 19, 2019) holding that the Virgin Islands did not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when, in an effort to keep the retirement system solvent, it required employees … Continue Reading

Gardner v. CLC of Pascagoula, LLC –What Constitutes “Severe and Pervasive” Conduct With Respect to “Third-Party Harassment”?

Employers may be liable to their employees for harassment by non-employees under Title VII. Courts have found liability for this so-called “third-party harassment” in some of the following fact-specific contexts: waitresses harassed by their dining customers; casino dealers suffering harassment from gamblers at the table; and vendors being harassed by clients they visit onsite for … Continue Reading

The NYCCHR Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Appearance and Grooming Policies

On February 19, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”) issued new enforcement guidance on appearance and grooming policies that ban or restrict naturally curly hair, dreadlocks, braids, cornrows and other hairstyles. Such policies constitute a violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) because, according to the City Commission, … Continue Reading

Massachusetts SJC Holds Employers’ Denials of Lateral Transfers May Be Adverse Actions in Discrimination Cases

Massachusetts employers’ decision-making processes with regards to lateral, internal employee transfers are now subject to possible state law discrimination claims.  On January 29, 2019, the SJC issued its decision in Yee v. Massachusetts State Police, SCJ-12485, holding that when two jobs at the same level for the same employer offer “material differences” in compensation opportunity, … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Limits ADEA Protections for Job Applicants

On January 23, 2019, the Seventh Circuit held that the ADEA’s prohibition of disparate impact discrimination do not extend to job applicants. Kleber v. CareFusion Corp., No. 17-cv-1206. In Kleber, a 58-year-old attorney unsuccessfully applied for a General Counsel position within the Company’s law department. The job posting required applicants to have fewer than seven … Continue Reading

Update: New York Governor Signs Gender Identity Discrimination Ban Into Law

On January 25, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). As we previously reported, GENDA amends the New York State Human Rights Law to expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. The Act also expands New York’s hate crime laws to include crimes … Continue Reading

New York State Passes the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

After 16 years of debate and discussion, the New York State Legislature recently passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA”), which would amend the New York State Human Rights Law to expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. Under the Act, gender identity or expression is defined as “a person’s actual … Continue Reading

The Employment Law Landscape in 2019

States across the country have passed new laws addressing sexual harassment, paid family leave, and other labor and employment law issues. As many of these laws will soon become effective, employers should be prepared for the following changes in the legal landscape. Sexual Harassment Laws New York City’s Stop Sexual Harassment Act, effective April 1, … Continue Reading

Proskauer Delivers Webinar on Settling Employment Claims

On December 12, Proskauer partners Allan Bloom, Elise Bloom, and Harris Mufson delivered a webinar focused on how recent developments in the law impact the ground rules and key strategies for settlement in four distinct areas of employment litigation. Wage and Hour. Mr. Bloom explained that, in most jurisdictions, settlements of Fair Labor Standards Act … Continue Reading

2019 Brings Employment Law Changes for Illinois Employers

As 2018 draws to a close, state and local lawmakers in Illinois have been passing legislation that will further regulate a variety of employers’ practices. Here is a look at what Illinois employers can expect in 2019. New Laws Effective January 1, 2019 Employee Reimbursement for Business Expenses – An amendment to the Illinois Wage … Continue Reading
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