The days and weeks after the birth of a child are unlike any other. It is an important time for mom to bond with baby, and for her to enjoy the newest miracle in her life. It is also a time in which mom's body is run-down and sleep seems like a luxury. These, and many other factors, make returning to work immediately a less than ideal option for many mothers.
The impact of job discrimination is often intense for people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community. This is because federal and many state laws do not offer questioning and transgender individuals protection from job discrimination. Thirty-one states do not offer inclusive protection. This includes New York, which only prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Many New York residents who are searching for work do not speak English. This is especially true for recent immigrants. Because the immigrant population is increasing, some employers have added rules that require employees to only speak English in the workplace.
According to the AARP, 35 percent of the American workforce will be over age 50 by 2022, which is up from 25 percent in 2022. This means a larger number of older workers will be competing for jobs that may be difficult to get for many reasons. A poor economy means that employers are not always looking for more experienced workers who may be more expensive than younger workers.
Employers in New York and around the country likely know that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has advocated vigorously for extending the scope of federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace to cover gay and transgender workers. The EEOC provided insight into the current state of employment discrimination in a report released on June 20, and the federal agency says that about a third of the 90,000 or so discrimination complaints that it receives each year concern harassment in the workplace.
Along with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act sets forth multiple guidelines that employers need to adhere to when dealing with pregnant workers. For instance, employers are prohibited from treating their employees differently because they are, were or plan on getting pregnant. They also can't discriminate against those who contract pregnancy-related medical issues or have considered or received abortions. It's important to note, however, that these protections only apply when employers have at least 15 workers.
New York employers would do well to familiarize themselves with the proposed guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in early June. It is focused on preventing discrimination based on workers' national origin. While employers may believe that they understand what this type of discrimination involves, the agency points to different scenarios that are discriminatory but which may not be immediately obvious.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers in New York and throughout the country from treating workers differently based purely on their sincerely held religious beliefs. However, questions about how far these protections should stretch have often led to contentious legal battles. One of the latest such cases involves Muslim workers at a Wisconsin snow blower and lawn tractor manufacturer. The workers claim that a new company policy is preventing them from practicing their faith and violates federal law.
It is well-known that finding a job after a certain age can be difficult. Many people realize the significant benefits of working during their later years in life, with one study showing that people who work after age 65 are more likely to live longer than people who retire. The New York Mets and other baseball teams help show why employing older workers can be a very good thing.
New York employers should be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that workplace discrimination that is based on a person's gender status violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The agency also said that state laws that are in opposition, such as those passed in North Carolina and Mississippi, cannot be used a defense to claims that are made under Title VII.