Many New York residents may be surprised to learn that legal interpretation of federal law has generally permitted discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, that could be changing soon as this interpretation is being challenged by a ruling from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Transgender New Yorkers and their advocates may know all too well that workplace discrimination could continue to play a major role in their lives. Regardless of high-profile events like the announcement by Caitlyn Jenner that she was undergoing a transition and the recruitment of a transgender athlete at Harvard University, multiple news outlets say that the country still has a ways to go towards securing equal employment rights for all people.
New York residents may be aware that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protections for workers against discrimination based on their race, religion, color, national origin or sex. However, there has been some legal confusion about how the act protects gay workers against discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sought to clear up any confusion on July 15 by ruling that lesbian, transgender, gay or bisexual workers are protected by the provision against discrimination based on sex contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
New York residents may be interested in the case of a Ford worker who has filed a lawsuit claiming that he had been wrongfully terminated. The man was terminated from his contract assignment with the car manufacturer through Rapid Global Business Solutions after posting what was deemed to be a discriminatory comment on the company's intranet site. He wrote that homosexuality leads to death and that homosexual conduct was immoral. The lawsuit claims that his right to religious freedom was violated when he was terminated.
It is in many cases illegal for New York employers to fire an employee because they became pregnant or wish to take maternity leave. There have been several significant cases that have dealt with discrimination against pregnant employees, including a Nasty Gal lawsuit in 2015 and an AutoZone lawsuit in 2014.
New York employers should take note of the continuing focus of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, a company best known for check printing, on behalf of a transgender employee who claimed workplace discrimination.
Some New York workers may be interested in a recent study that looked at how sexual orientation affects people in the workplace. The United States, Australia, Canada and some European Union countries are among the few places that have legislation in place protecting employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. However, even in those countries, the IZA World of Labor study indicated that gay people may face some workplace discrimination.
On June 3, a former Zara employee filed a lawsuit against the fashion retailer in New York State Supreme Court. The plaintiff, who worked as a corporate attorney for Zara USA, claims that he suffered workplace discrimination and was fired for being gay, Jewish and American. He is seeking a damage award of over $40 million.
Millions of Americans suffer severe hearing impairments that make it difficult for them to communicate. Although such impairments may result from many things, people who are exposed to loud noises or sounds at work may also have permanent hearing losses as a result.
Pregnant workers in New York may be interested in hearing about a new qualifying test used in pregnancy discrimination cases, developed by the Supreme Court in conjunction with a March 2015 decision. For the new tests, lower courts need to look at employers' accommodations of non-pregnant workers unable to work in their regular positions to determine whether workplace discrimination has taken place. The law also require for lower courts to examine whether discrimination appears to be intentional and whether a company has non-discriminatory reasons for treating pregnant employees differently.