How Extensively Has Age Discrimination Changed in the Past 50 Years?
Most employers are aware of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) passed in 1967. The law has been in existence for decades. What many employers may not be aware of is the fact that age discrimination continues to be an issue, and in some cases a growing issue. How likely are you to be sued for age discrimination? Are the statistics on your side or against you?
Consider the following facts reported this year by the EEOC in a statement about the state of age discrimination and older U.S. workers.
Age Discrimination Statistics Today
More than 60 percent of workers surveyed in 2017 who were age 45 and older indicated they either noticed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Of the individuals in this group, 90 percent stated age discrimination was common. African Americans (77 percent) reported higher rates of age discrimination, followed by Hispanics (61 percent) and Whites (59 percent). More women than men said that older workers face age discrimination.
Older workers in the technology sector indicated that 70 percent of those on IT staffs had observed or experienced age discrimination. More than 40 percent of older workers in the technology fields feared losing their jobs due to age.
In a Forbes magazine article, the author commented about the EEOC’s report entitled “State of Age Discrimination Statement 50 Years After the ADEA.” The article said that since the 2009 Supreme Court ruling on the Case Gross vs. FB Financial Services, age discrimination has been much more difficult to prove in court.
Types of reforms employers might expect to see regarding age discrimination include unexpected hiring audits along with financial penalties for incidents of malfeasance.
Stephen Hans & Associates provides extensive legal experience to business owners regarding employment related issues.
Investigating Employees Through Their Social Media Accounts
Social media can provide a lot of information about people’s lives. Why would an employer want to know what an employee is doing through social media?
An employer may suspect that an employee is doing other things during work that do not relate to his or her job, such as posting on Facebook, watching Youtube videos, etc. An employer may also wonder if the employee is speaking badly about the company or discussing private company information.
Any number of reasons could motivate an employer to pressure an employee for social media account information or to access the employee’s site without permission.
What laws protect the privacy rights of employees?
The American Bar Association warns employers about not violating the Stored Communication Act (SCA). The SCA includes social networking sites when it states that individuals are subject to criminal and civil actions when the individual:
“Intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided”
“Intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility”
(By intentionally accessing) “obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system”
Keep in mind that a government institution may obtain a subpoena for an investigation and through court approval access social networks for information. However, a private company conducting an internal investigation does not have this right.
Employers who obtain access to social media under false pretenses or through duress can be held liable and courts typically do not view favorably attempts to access an employee’s account information or the private account of a “friend.”
However, in some instances where employers obtain the information without asking or pressuring an employee to provide it, the courts have allowed it.
Get Legal Help with Your Questions about Employment Law
It is often wise to seek legal advice when you have questions about accessing an employee’s social media information. Stephen Hans & Associates offers seasoned legal guidance and representation to assist business owners with employment issues.
The New York Compassionate Care Act (NYCCA) protects patients who are certified to use medical marijuana from being subject to criminal or civil marijuana charges. We live in an age where some states view marijuana as a legitimate medicine for individuals with certain types of diseases while they are being treated under a doctor’s care. Individuals with such diseases are also viewed as disabled, and employers are prohibited from discriminating against them because of their disability based on the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
What Employers Should Know About the New York Compassionate Care Act (NYCCA)
The New York legislature passed the NYCCA in July of 2014 and it went into effect in January 2016. The act will sunset in seven years.
Under the law, there can be no more than five manufacturers that provide medical marijuana in New York with a maximum of 20 locations.
Patients must have their physician provide them with written certification for using medical marijuana and their documentation must state the limitations of its use. They also must register with the health department. Patients may not consume medical marijuana in a public place. Other restrictions imposed by the law are that patients cannot smoke medical cannabis but have to take it in a different form.
Diseases that qualify a patient for certification include cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage causing spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, or Huntington’s disease. Other diseases may also result in prescribing medical marijuana.
New York State Human Rights Law
The Society for Resource Management (SHRM) points out that the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) views a certified medical marijuana patient as disabled, which also protects them from employment discrimination.
Employers can still do drug testing if that is part of their work policy and can prohibit employees who are impaired by drug use from working on the job if it poses a danger or interferes with their work. They can prohibit workers from taking medical marijuana while in the workplace. However, they cannot discriminate against employees because they are certified to use medical marijuana.
Do You Have Questions about the NYCCA and Your Rights as an Employer?
Because disabled employees who are certified for marijuana use can bring discrimination lawsuits against employers, it is vital for employers to know their legal boundaries.
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to answer your questions and provide legal guidance or representation in disputed employment issues.
Author: Stephen D. Hans
Frequently Asked Questions About Job Termination
Deciding to fire or layoff an employee is often a tough decision. Sometimes employees have adverse reactions and retaliate if they believe the termination was unjust.
Does New York State have “employment-at-will”?
What is your responsibility for giving terminated employees their last paycheck?
When you decide to lay off employees, must you give notice of termination?
Employers in the private sector who have 50 or more employees (part-time employees excluded) must provide at least 90 days notice before closing their business. This refers to shutting down a single site of employment that results in laying off 25 or more full-time employees during any 30-day period. Employers must send a WARN notice to employees, their representatives, the State Labor Department and local workforce investment partners. Read More
If employers are doing a mass layoff (excluding part-time employees) but not closing down the business, they must still provide at least a 90 days notice about the layoff when the layoff affects 33 percent of the workforce (at least 25 workers) or 250 workers from a single employment site. Employers must send the WARN notice to employees, their representatives, the State Labor Department and local workforce investment partners. Read More
Author: Stephen D. Hans & Associates
FAQ for Restaurant Owners
For restaurant owners, who are busy running their day-to-day business, New York Labor laws can seem like an added burden. Having access to a NY employment defense lawyer is often vital to navigate the laws and make your business successful.
According to the NY State Department of Labor, here are some frequently asked questions employers often ask:
Can you require employees to wear uniforms?
Yes, you can. What is considered a uniform? Black slacks and white shirts are not uniforms. A shirt with the company insignia or custom-made slacks and shirts would be considered uniforms. If your worker’s pay is minimum wage, then the cost of buying the uniform and taking care of it cannot bring the employee below the minimum wage rate. Employers must either clean and take care of the uniforms or pay their employees to care for them.
Are you limited by the number of hours an employee can work in a day?
Except for children under 18, there are no limitations on how many hours in a day an employee can work. There also are no limitations on how early or late an employer can ask an employee to work. However, in the restaurant industry, an employee must have 24 hours of rest one day in a calendar week. This does not apply to small, rural restaurants.
What are the rules for giving workers meal breaks?
For work shifts of more than six hours that begin before 11:00 a.m. and continue until 2:00 p.m., the workers must be provided with an uninterrupted lunch period of at least half an hour between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Employers do not have to pay for meal periods, and they do not have to provide other breaks for workers. However, if an employer permits a break of up to 20 minutes, then the employer must count it as work time and pay the employee.
Do You Have Other Questions about NY Labor Laws that Apply to Your Business?
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to explain the laws, offer legal guidance, and provide representation for employment dispute issues.
Author: Stephen D. Hans
Matt Lauer: One Sexual Harassment Complaint Led to More
As more women are coming forward to claim sexual harassment, other women are also gaining the courage to come forward. This is the current trend in a variety of sexual harassment cases that are hitting the media. Such appears to be the case in the recent reports about Matt Lauer, long time anchor and host of the “Today” show.
Details About the Matt Lauer Sexual Harassment and His Job Termination
According to Fox News , NBC met with Lauer, an alleged victim and her lawyer to confront Lauer about his inappropriate sexual behavior. Since the news broke, it became apparent there was more than one isolated incident. NBC quickly fired Matt Lauer and stated it was the first time they had heard about the sexual harassment allegations.
People magazine reports that eight women have now come forward regarding inappropriate sexual behavior on Matt Lauer’s part.
Lauer has issued a public apology for his actions and for the people he has harmed, and said that although not all aspects of the allegations were true and some he felt were mischaracterized, there was enough truth in them for him to apologize and feel regret and shame. He said his full time job is now to do what he can to repair the damage he has done.
Actions that Make Lauer’s Instance Stand Apart from Other Recent Claims
NBC News acted quickly on the allegations after discovering them. Matt Lauer did not deny that he engaged in sexual misconduct, but instead expressed his regret and indicated he would take action to repair the damage.
As a business, what is the best approach to take when allegations of sexual harassment arise? If you face sexual harassment issues, seek legal counsel as soon as possible and discuss your concerns so you can weigh your options.
Experienced Legal Counsel When Your Business Faces Sexual Harassment Allegations
At Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C., we have decades of experiences assisting business owners with sexual harassment and other employment related issues. Call our Long Island City office at (718) 275-6700 to arrange a confidential consultation.