Do Your Work Policies Discriminate Between Men and Women?

One Set of Rules for Men and a Different Set of Rules for Women Having company policies that discriminate between men and women can be lethal for an employer in today’s work environment. If you haven’t had an attorney review your employee handbook or policies in recent times, it would be wise to do so. Recent Lawsuit Filed by the EEOC Against the New Orleans Saints The New York Times published an article about how an Instagram post led to the EEOC’s discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of a cheerleader against the New Orleans Saints. Saints officials fired Bailey Davis based on an Instagram post where she wore a one-piece outfit. They also conducted an inquiry about her attending a party where a Saints player was present. Davis denies being at the party. However, the scope of this case goes beyond wrongful termination and challenges the team’s policies by alleging a double standard for female and male employees. Are different rules for men and women discriminatory? Saints officials put an anti-fraternization policy in place to protect against domestic violence and sexual harassment among players and league employees. The following are the rules that the plaintiff alleges are discriminatory: Cheerleaders must block players from following them on social media and cannot post photos where they are wearing Saints gear. No such rules exist for the team’s players. Many players use pseudonyms on social media and yet it is the cheerleader’s responsibility to discover this and block them. Cheerleaders are penalized for pursuing engagement with players while players are not penalized for pursuing engagement with cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are told not to...

Employee Salary Histories

Can Employers Ask Employees About their Salary History? On May 4, 2017, the New York City Council passed a bill that limited what an employer can ask job candidates about their salary history, compensation history and other past benefits when interviewing them for a job. The law went into effect on October 31, 2017. The National Law Review explains that new law was part of the New York City Human Rights Law. What this means for employers is that violations are subject to compensatory damages, which could include back pay, front pay, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, emotional distress, etc. What was the purpose of passing the law? The law had the purpose of preventing employers from using a job applicant’s past salary history to determine compensation. The employer cannot ask the job applicant about previous salary history for a current or prior wages, about benefits or other job compensation they have received. It is also unlawful for an employer to ask the previous employer what the individual was being paid or to ask about salary history. The employer also is prohibited from searching public records to obtain a job candidate’s salary history. When the job candidates volunteer their salary history without any prompting, the employer can legally verify the information with the previous employer and use the salary history in determining the current salary. What can an employer ask? Employers can ask about the job candidate’s previous production at the job, such as how much revenue or sales they brought in or about other production statistics related to their work. Employers can inform job candidates in writing or verbally...

How Does the New York Compassionate Care Act Affect Employers?

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)...

More About Employee Wage Deductions

As an employer, have you ever wondered if a wage deduction you made was legal? New York Labor Law establishes what is legal and what is not for wage deductions. If you have questions, it is always wise to seek legal counsel from an experienced employment law defense attorney. The NY legislature passed an amendment to NY Labor Law 193 Deductions from Wages in October 2015. The amendment went into effect on November 6, 2015 and expires on November 6, 2018, unless the legislature renews it. Two main features of the amendment are allowing employers to deduct for over payments and salary advances. Overpayments The amendment permits employers to make wage deductions for accidental overpayments. Overpayments refer to payments made due to a mathematical or clerical error by the employer. Note that the employer must provide the employee with a notice of the overpayment deduction prior to commencing the recovery. Also, regulations govern how the deduction is made based on the size of overpayment along with the timing, frequency, duration and method of recovery. In addition, the employer must provide a procedure for the employee to dispute overpayment amounts and the procedure for recovering it. Salary Advances The employer must abide by rules the Commissioner has established for the timing, frequency, duration and method of deduction of a salary advance. There are also limitations on the periodic amount of repayment of the advance. Employers must provide employees with a notice before commencing repayment and also provide a procedure for the employee to dispute the amount or to seek delay of repayment. In addition to wage advances and overpayments, some...

Restaurant Industry: FAQs about Tips

Owners in the restaurant industry often have questions about tips. As a restaurant owner, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities regarding tips so you can avoid disputes with employees and not put your business at risk. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), which is federal law, and the New York Labor Law (state law) determine how restaurant owners must deal with tips. In the past, people paid restaurant bills with cash, but today credit cards are a popular and common form of payment. How must a restaurant owner deal with credit card tips? When tips are received by credit card, the owner must pay the employee the tip amount due no later than the regularly scheduled payday. Credit card companies charge a fee to the merchant for use of credit cards, and the fee is a percentage of the total amount paid on the card. The employer deducts the pro-rated share of the credit card company charge from the tip when calculating the employee’s tip. How must an employee’s wage statement reflect wages and tips? The wage statement must indicate the amount being paid to the employee in wages and the amount paid in tips. How should employers handle cash tips? Employers can allow employees to leave their cash tips with the employer during a particular pay period. However, doing so must be voluntary and up to the employee. Employers can hold tips as a service to the employee, and employers would indicate the amount in tips and wages in the wage statement. Employers cannot make their service of keeping cash tips as a mandatory hiring condition...