The Washington Post recently settled a lawsuit filed by former advertising executive David DeJesus. When bad publicity becomes a greater threat to business than losing money through a settlement, oftentimes businesses opt to settle.
Such was the case with the Washington Post. DeJesus claimed that his boss terminated him in 2011 due to racial discrimination. He had enjoyed an 18-year career with the company, and while the Washington Post claimed it based his termination on “willful neglect of duty and insubordination,” an appeals court of three judges decided last year that a jury could hear the case. The appellate court overturned a lower court that dismissed the lawsuit.
The appeals court went on the record as saying, “A jury could properly conclude that the Washington Post’s proffered reason [for the termination of DeJesus] is so unreasonable that it provokes suspicion of pretext.” (New York Post)
Further Details about the Age and Discrimination Lawsuit
According to the Observer, David DeJesus brought in more than $1 billion in revenue during his nearly 20 years of tenure with the company. His termination occurred abruptly with his boss cursing and shouting at him. In the federal claim that DeJesus filed in 2014, he also stated that his termination along with the terminations of 47 other older black employers at about the same time were so the company could hire younger, less expensive white employees.
Other affidavits file by former African American Washington Post employees provided details of racial harassment and in particular racial harassment by advertising Vice-President Ethan Selzer. He fired DeJesus without previous discipline or forewarning and told a black female employee to clean the department kitchen and made racist jokes about another black subordinate’s husband. Also, at one point an employee who came to work at the Washington Post wearing a KKK belt buckle was not even disciplined.
Quiet in the Media and with the Settlement
The Observer noted that a number of media outlets ignored the lawsuit and MSNBC did not respond to DeJesus’ request for coverage.
Do You Have Employment Issues that Could Become Legal Matters?
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Author: Stephen Hans
At the end of September 2016, the Department of Labor released the final rules for federal contractors. The rules required employers to provide workers with paid sick leave.
The final rule only applies to employees working on or in connection with federal contracts. Nevertheless, it establishes a guidepost that reflects the trend for sick leaves regarding workplaces in general.
Under the following situations, workers can use paid leave:
- For their own personal illness (whether a physical or mental disorder, disease, condition or impairment)
- To take of a sick family member
- To see a doctor
- To take a family member to a medical appointment
- For handling issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
Statistics indicate the rule will:
Provide up to 56 hours of sick leave per year for approximately 1.15 million federal contractors’ employees, which also includes 594,000 employees who currently do not receive paid sick leave.
Employers can allow sick leave to accrue over time or front load sick leaves to make administration easier.
Employers are given flexibility in integrating existing paid time-off policies with existing collective bargaining agreements.
Sick Leave Carry Over
Sick leave days from one particular year carry over to the next year. However, the employer does not have to pay the worker for accrued sick leave that the worker did not use by the end of the job. If the employer rehires the same employee within 12 months (even if for a different contract), and sick leave had been accrued but not used, the accrued sick leave is reinstated.
Overall, the purpose of the final rule is to help improve workers’ health and performance while protecting public health as well by keeping sick workers at home.
The final rule goes into effect in January 2017.
Do You Have Questions about Sick Leave?
If you have questions about sick leave for employees, consult with an experienced employment litigation attorney.
Stephen Hans & Associates can answer your questions and help protect you against legal liability.
As an employer, being knowledgeable about sexual harassment and the types of challenges you can potentially face is to your advantage. With proper insight, you can take preventative measures against having harassment arise in your work environment.
EEOC Study on Sexual Harassment
In 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received an estimated 28,000 charges that alleged sexual harassment from employees who worked for private employers or state or local government employers. Read More
Businessman Sexually Harassing Female Colleague
Sexual Harassment Definition and Examples
The EEOC Select Task Force discovered that women who experienced sexual harassment ranged from 25% to 85%. The main difference in responses was because some workers did not label the experience as “sexual harassment.” However, when behavior examples were used, the incident rate rose to 75%. Some examples described a sexual advance and other behaviors pointed to sexually crude terminology or displays (posting pornography for example). The two categories broke down into behavior that was a “come on” or a “put down.” With these types of examples, close to 60% of the women surveyed reported they had experienced harassment.
Based on these statistics, every business should be concerned about preventing sexual harassment.
Stephen Hans & Associates is an employment litigation firm that has assisted small and medium sized businesses with employment law for more than 20 years.
Author: Stephen D.Hans & Associates
As an employment defense litigation lawyer, I pay attention to civil rights issues, and lately women’s rights issues have gained attention from the media.
Actress Patricia Arquette has actively worked toward passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), notable in her Oscar acceptance speech in 2015 and also in her recent testimony in June 2016 at a DNC Platform Committee hearing in Phoenix. There she urged the party to make ERA a priority. Even more recently, her letter to the editor appeared in The New York Times in support of the ERA.
Arquette is quoted as saying, “All of the things we want for women, including equal pay and effective legal recourse for gender-based violence, are in the ERA.” Arquette says, “… Polling shows the country is with us—we need Congress to catch up.”
Facts about the Equal Rights Amendment
The ERA has had a long run at trying to get ratified as an amendment. It was first introduced in 1923, now almost 100 years ago. The amendment was passed by Congress in 1972: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Stephen Hans & Associates is an employment litigation firm that defends small and medium sized businesses in discrimination, labor law and other employment related matters.
Author: Stephen Hans
Long Island City, Queens & NYC Employment Defense Attorney
From an employer’s standpoint, if you are following similar pay practices to other businesses, it may seem like safety exists in numbers. You may believe that perhaps doing what other companies do is a safe standard as far as equal pay for women issues are concerned.
Facts about Unequal Pay
However, equal pay is not the norm, according to statistics reported by the American Association of University Women (AAUW):
- In 1974, women across the United States made 59% of what men doing comparable jobs made.
- By 2014, women made 79% of what men made.
- Women with higher degrees have a higher gender pay gap than women with less education.
- Women of color (Hispanic, African American, American Indian and Native Hawaiian women) have a greater gender pay gap than Asian and white American women.
- Women typically earn 90% of what men earn until hitting age 35, at which point they begin earning 76-81% of what men are paid.
When company employees file claims, a company is singled out and at risk for damages. The fact that other companies are also violating the Equal Pay Act is not an excuse in the eyes of the law.
Sealed Air Sued By EEOC for Sex-Based Pay and National Origin Discrimination
Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought a case against Sealed Air Attempts were unsuccessful during a pre-litigation conciliation process to reach a settlement.
Here were the facts alleged in the case:
- A paid female production supervisor was paid lower wages than her male counterpart doing substantially the same work.
- The company imposed a restrictive language policy on the employee by prohibiting her to use Spanish in the workplace.
The lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages, liquidated damages, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Equal Pay Act violations.
Do You Have Concerns about Equal Pay Issues?
Consult with an experienced employment litigation lawyer and put policies in place to protect your business. Stephen Hans & Associates provides seasoned legal advice and representation based on more than two decades of legal experience in employment law.
Author: Stephen D. Hans & Associates
DOL Sets Overtime Rules Affecting the Restaurant Industry
Whether you own a fast food restaurant or a fine dining establishment, you must now pay your salaried workers overtime if they meet new qualifications set by the Department of Labor (DOL).
How Does the New DOL Overtime Rule Compare with Past Rules?
The DOL released the new rule in May 2016. The limit on salaried workers who could collect overtime had stayed at $23,660 since 2004. Here are some relevant facts for owners in the restaurant industry:
- Average wages in the U.S. for chefs, head cooks and pastry chefs are $45,920
- Bakers’ wages average is around $26,270
- Culinary Journalists’ mean wage is $46,560
- The majority of these employees work 50 or more hours per week. Read More
(Information from Eatery.com)
When Does the Overtime Rule Go into Effect? Read More
Stay on Top of Changing Laws as an Employer
At Stephen Hans & Associates, our firm helps small and middle sized business owners deal with legal changes. We understand how difficult it is to stay apprised of new laws while managing in the daily demands of running a restaurant.
We do not just keep you informed. We also provide legal guidance and representation to help you protect your rights and assist you with policies that avoid liability.