Category Archives: Discrimination

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New York City Council Passes Legislation Banning Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants

On April 9, 2019, New York’s City Council passed legislation, available here, which will prohibit employers from requiring prospective employees to submit to testing for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, as a condition of employment. If, as expected, Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the law into effect, the New York City Human Rights … Continue Reading

Equal Pay Act Amendment Passes House of Representatives

On March 27, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, an act designed to amend and strengthen the existing federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). The Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House by a vote of 242-187 on a largely party-line basis, is sponsored by … Continue Reading

Did New Jersey Just Try to Ban Employment Arbitration Agreements?

On March 18, 2018, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) was amended to prohibit prospective waivers of substantive and procedural rights or remedies relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment and that provisions in employment contracts waiving such rights shall be deemed against public policy and unenforceable. The new amendment further provides … Continue Reading

New Dos and Don’ts: New York City Bans Discrimination Based On Hairstyle

On February 18, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “NYCCHR”) released new legal enforcement guidance (the “Guidance”) regarding discrimination on the basis of natural hair and hairstyles. In the Guidance, the NYCCHR advised employers that “[t]he New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) protects the rights of New Yorkers to maintain … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeals Rule on Freedom of Religion Rights

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? Not necessarily. The Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeals recently decided two cases that substantially limit the scope and application of freedom of religion rights rooted in the U.S. Constitution. Together, these cases narrow the definition of the term “minister,” and expand the spectrum of … Continue Reading

Transgender Discrimination Outlawed in New York

On January 25, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Under the law, “gender identity or expression” is defined as a “person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex … Continue Reading

New Jersey Equal Pay Act Signed Into Law

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (the “Act”), which amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) to provide enhanced equal pay protections for New Jersey employees. The Act, which becomes effective on July 1, 2018, prohibits pay disparities based upon … Continue Reading

Texas Federal Court Rules That Anti-Discrimination Statute Protects Transgender Individuals

In a landmark ruling, a federal court judge in Texas issued an opinion holding—unequivocally—that Title VII protects transgender individuals from discrimination based on their gender identity. Wittmer v. Phillips 66 Company, No., 4:2017-cv-02188 (S.D.Tex, April 4, 2018). The ruling is the first of its kind in Texas and will likely have a major impact in … Continue Reading

Yoga and Massage Therapist Fired for Being “Too Cute” Sees Gender Discrimination Claim Revived on Grounds of Unjustified Spousal Jealousy

A New York appeals court recently ruled in Edwards v. Nicolai (153 A.D.3d 440 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2017)) that an employment termination motivated by the sexual jealousy of an employer’s spouse may support a claim for gender discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the New York City Human … Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Narrowly Construes New York City Human Rights Law To Bar Disability Discrimination Claims Based on Perceived Alcoholism

Last month, New York’s highest court took the unprecedented step of construing the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) more narrowly than its state and federal counterparts to bar plaintiffs’ city law disability discrimination claims. Answering a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court … Continue Reading

5 New Laws: California Governor Approves Employee-Friendly Laws

The 2017 California Legislature adjourned on September 15, 2017, and resulted in more than 700 bills being sent to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval. Although the deadline for the Governor to sign new bills into law does not officially expire until October 15, the Governor has already given his stamp of approval to a … Continue Reading

California Employers – New Year, New Rules in 2017

The new year will bring along a variety of new obligations for California employers.  Although some of the new laws clarify existing law and provide helpful guidance, several impose additional requirements.  This update highlights key provisions of some of the more notable changes taking effect in 2017.  Links to the statutes and/or prior updates regarding … Continue Reading

Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express: The Reasonable Accommodation of an Employee’s Family

In Luis Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, the California Court of Appeal held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) – which requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities – now requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees who are associated with a disabled person.  This is an unprecedented decision and will likely to … Continue Reading

California Employers: Get Ready for New FEHC Regulations Effective April 1st

As most California employers know, the complex web of laws that govern employment in the state is vast and ever-expanding.  It just got more complicated.  The Fair Employment and Housing Council (“FEHC”) has issued new anti-discrimination and anti-harassment regulations that most California employers must comply with.  The new regulations will go into effect April 1, … Continue Reading

You May Want To Reconsider Your Position – EEOC Announces New Procedure to Handle Administrative Charges Against Employers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently announced new nationwide changes to the procedures relating to its investigation of administrative charges filed against employers. When an individual files a charge against an employer, the EEOC may ask the employer to submit a position statement responding to the allegations, typically within 30 days.  Under the old … Continue Reading

EEOC Proposes New Pay Data Reporting Requirements for Employers

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has published proposed revisions to the requirements associated with the Employer Information Report (EEO-1). The EEO-1 already requires employers with more than 100 employees to provide certain employment information to the federal government, including the ethnic, racial and gender breakdown of their employees.  The proposed revisions would … Continue Reading

New York City Human Rights Law Expanded To Protect Caregivers

The New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) forbids employment discrimination on the basis of a number of protected characteristics, such as age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation, alienage, and citizenship status. The NYCHRL applies to employers with four or more … Continue Reading

New Year, New Rules for Employers Doing Business in New York

This past year the New York legislature and New York Department of Labor amended several employment laws implementing changes that are set to take effect at the end of 2015 or in early 2016. This update summarizes the new and updated legal requirements imposed by those amendments to help New York employers prepare and comply … Continue Reading

New Year, New Rules For Employers Doing Business in California

This year the California Legislature added over a dozen new employment laws, many of which take effect on January 1, 2016.  Some of these laws impose new prohibitions on employers, while others provide positive benefits such as safe harbors, cure provisions, and employer incentives for reclassification of certain independent contractors.  This update highlights key provisions … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Finds EEOC Investigation Not Subject to Review

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in the matter of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. (“Sterling Jewelers”), that the District Court erred by considering the sufficiency of the EEOC’s pre-suit investigation instead of simply considering whether an investigation occurred.  … Continue Reading
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