New York residents may be dismayed to learn that discrimination against pregnant employees remains widespread even though federal and state laws exist that are intended to protect them. This discrimination might range from firing employees who say that they are pregnant to refusing accommodations such as lighter duties or a stool to sit on.
On April 1, a 22-year-old transgender woman from Brooklyn filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against clothing store Forever 21 claiming that the management at one of their New York locations harassed her. The federal lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
For the most part, an employer may mandate that a worker wear a certain uniform while on the clock. If an employee needs or wants to wear something outside of that dress code for religious purposes, an employer is generally required to make reasonable accommodations. However, the employer is not required to do anything that would cause an undue hardship to the company.
Some readers from New York may be interested to learn that Saks & Co. is facing criticism over a discrimination lawsuit. Media sources say that an ex-employee was allegedly fired from Saks for issues related to her transgender status. In its defense, Saks issued a filing requesting the lawsuit's dismissal because the employee is not entitled to Title VII protection under the Civil Rights Act.
Individuals in New York may be aware that since 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has included transgender people as one of the groups protected against workplace discrimination, but now the federal government is changing its interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2006, the Justice Department said Title VII did not apply to discrimination against transgender people, but it has reversed that decision. It is now asserting that it will now bring claims on behalf of state and local government transgender employees who are asserting that they have been subject to discrimination, and will no longer maintain its position that Title VII does not apply.
Religious discrimination occurs when a New York employer harasses, segregates or makes other employment decisions based on an employee's religious views. Discrimination also occurs if an employer makes hiring decisions based on an applicant's strongly-held religious beliefs. Such practices are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the event that an employee needs to wear a head covering, is not allowed to cut his or her hair or needs other accommodations, an employer must generally provide them.
Under federal laws and state statutes in New York, individuals are protected from discrimination. This means that any person who is treated different due to a number of factors, including race, religion, political affiliation or gender, may have legal recourse. It is also illegal for an employer to not hire or promote a person and for a state agency to delay or fail to offer a person services because they have filed a discrimination complaint of have become involved in a lawsuit.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to put an end to discrimination against transgender people in the workplace, housing and others areas. In a letter dated Aug. 19, Cuomo stated that he believes gender identity should be protected from discriminatory practices just as civil rights protect people from discrimination based on disabilities, race and religion. The governor vowed to seek legal rights for gender expression if elected this fall. It would be the governor's second term in office.
New York shoppers may have heard that a grocery store chain that has locations in some East Coast states is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. According to the complaint, the store violated federal law by not providing an accommodation based on a worker's religion.
A lawyer who works for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that racial harassment and other forms of racial discrimination are rampant within the federal agency. She made her statements while testifying before the House Financial Services Subcommittee. The hearing was scheduled in response to an agency survey that showed that workers at the agency know that white employees are rated higher than minorities in the agency in the system the agency uses to determine employee benefits, including rate of pay and opportunity for bonuses.