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There is a saying in civil litigation that you only get one bite of the apple. In other words, you cannot attempt to re-litigate a claim merely because you received an unfavorable result. This tenet does not only apply to tort claims, but it also applies to employment discrimination claims, as discussed in a recent gender discrimination case decided by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York. If you believe you suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your sex or gender, it is advisable to meet with a trusted New York sex discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert a claim for damages.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff filed an employment discrimination claim against the defendant employer, alleging she faced disparate treatment due to her gender and race in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing, in part, that the plaintiff could not re-litigate issues that were previously decided in a federal lawsuit arising out of the same alleged harm. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and plaintiff appealed.

Collateral Estoppel in the Realm of Employment Discrimination Cases

In affirming the trial court opinion, the appellate court stated that the trial court correctly ruled that collateral estoppel applied to any factual issues in the present action that were the same as the factual issues resolved by the federal court in dismissing plaintiff’s federal employment discrimination claims.

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Under the laws of the State and New York City, people are protected from discrimination based on their religion. Thus, if a person is discriminated against in the workplace due to his or her religious identity, and it creates a hostile work environment, the person’s employer may be held liable. The mere identification as a member of a certain religion is insufficient to sustain a hostile work environment claim, however. Rather, a plaintiff alleging a hostile work environment on the basis of religious discrimination must show that the alleged discriminatory conduct rose to a certain level for the conduct to be actionable.

Recently, a New York appellate court discussed a plaintiff’s burden of proof in a hostile work environment case under both the New York State (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), in a case in which the plaintiff alleged discrimination on the basis of his religion. If you believe you were the victim of a hostile work environment, it is wise to speak with a trusted New York hostile work environment attorney to discuss whether you may have a viable claim against your employer.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who is Jewish, was employed as a firefighter by the defendant city. He filed a complaint with the equal employment office of the defendant, alleging discrimination on the basis of his religion, but the office determined his complaints to be unsubstantiated. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging employment discrimination and hostile work environment claims on the basis of his religion in violation of the NYSHRL and NYCHRL. Specifically, he alleged that one of his co-workers made an anti-Semitic comment and that after he complained about the comment, he was subject to several instances of retaliation, which created a hostile work environment. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

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Numerous laws protect New York employees from discrimination in the workplace due to their race or color. Employment discrimination can take many forms, including disparate treatment. In a recent case, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed what actions may constitute adverse treatment in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he was discriminated against based on his national origin, race, and color. If your employer took adverse action against you at work because of your race or color, you should speak with a seasoned capable New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant city as a corrections officer. He sustained a shoulder injury while at work, after which he underwent shoulder surgery. He subsequently sought extended sick leave, which required him to obtain approval from the Health Management Division of the department of corrections. Thus, a physician was assigned to his case. The physician made fun of the plaintiff’s accent, made derogatory comments about the plaintiff’s color and race, and initially refused to perform an examination. He ultimately deemed the plaintiff able to work with a medically monitored restriction. The plaintiff complained to his supervisor and asked to be assigned a new doctor, but his request was denied.

It is reported that at subsequent appointments, the physician continued to be demeaning and told the plaintiff to go back to his own country. Additionally, as the physician would not designate the plaintiff as unable to work, the plaintiff was forced to take unauthorized sick days, after which he was disciplined, placed on probation, and forced to forfeit sick days. The plaintiff ultimately filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the defendant, alleging multiple claims of discrimination under Title VII, including disparate treatment. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss alleging, in part, that the plaintiff had not properly alleged facts indicating an adverse action.

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There are numerous local, state, and federal laws that protect employees from discrimination at work based on their membership in a protected class. For example, Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), all prohibit discrimination based on religion. An employee alleging discrimination in the workplace must not only show that he or she suffered adverse employment effects due to discriminatory practices, however, but also that the employer is covered by one of the laws prohibiting discrimination. For example, the NYCHRL provides broad protection against discrimination, but it only applies in limited circumstances, as demonstrated in a recent religious discrimination case decided by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If you are a victim of discrimination at work due to your religion, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted New York religious discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the plaintiff began working for the defendant in June 2017. When the plaintiff began his employment, he entered into an agreement with the defendant for a religious accommodation. The plaintiff reported things were proceeding favorably until he emailed his manager regarding concerns that he was routinely scheduled to work on Sundays. Following his email, the plaintiff alleged he was treated differently than other employees, received written warnings, and was ultimately terminated. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging discrimination in violation of the NYCHRL, NYSHRL, and Title VII. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss on several grounds, including the assertion that the plaintiff did not allege facts sufficient to sustain his NYCHRL claim.

Scope of the NYCHRL

The laws of New York provide that the NYCHRL only applies to the residents of the five boroughs of New York City, and the people who work there. The boroughs refer to Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn only. Further, case law has established that a nonresident alleging a violation of the NYCHRL must prove that a defendant’s allegedly discriminatory acts impacted the nonresident within one of the boroughs. Moreover, New York courts have extended the rationale regarding the locus of the impact to apply to residents of New York as well. In other words, nonresidents and residents alike that allege discrimination under the NYCHRL must show that the discrimination impacted them in the borders of New York City. In the subject case, although the defendant was a resident of the Bronx, he alleged the discrimination occurred solely in White Plains. Thus, the court dismissed his NYCHRL claim.

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Although employment in New York is generally at will, people who are members of a union may be subject to contractual agreements. Specifically, union members are often bound by collective bargaining agreements that dictate not only the terms of their employment but how any disputes must be handled. Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed when plaintiffs may be forced to arbitrate a wage claim pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. If you are a member of a union and your employer failed to pay you the compensation you are owed, it is advisable to speak with a dedicated New York wage and hour attorney to determine what recourse is available for your damages.

Facts Regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement

Allegedly, the plaintiffs were employed by the defendant waste management company prior to 2015. While the plaintiffs were employed by the defendant, they were members of a union that signed a collective bargaining agreement with the defendant, with a term period of January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2015. In early December 2015, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging eight causes of action arising out of the defendant’s failure to pay the plaintiffs wages they were owed.

Reportedly, in December 2015, after the plaintiffs had terminated their agreement with the defendant, the union executed a memorandum extending the previous collective bargaining agreement until December 31, 2015. In December 2016, a second memorandum agreement was signed that modified the grievance procedure of the agreement by including an arbitration clause. The defendant then filed a motion to compel arbitration based on the terms of the second memorandum. The plaintiffs opposed the motion on the grounds they were no longer employees and therefore were no longer subject to the agreement.

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Although women have made considerable strides in the workplace, they, unfortunately, continue to face gender-based discrimination on a regular basis. In many cases, however, an employer will argue that allegedly disparate treatment had nothing to do with the employee’s gender, and will seek to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed.  Recently, a New York District Court discussed what a plaintiff’s alleging gender discrimination in violation of the  New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) must plead to withstand a motion to dismiss. If you believe your employer engaged in discriminatory conduct against you due to your gender, it is prudent to speak with a capable New York sex discrimination attorney regarding your potential damages.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked at a branch manager at the defendant brokerage firm for three and a half years. During her employment, she was discouraged from seeking a promotion and was passed over for a promotion in favor of a man who was less qualified. Her supervisor also told her to look for another job when she was about to get married, stating that as a married woman, her priorities would change. She was ultimately promoted, and a second supervisor told her that she would not be employed much longer if she started a family, gave her performance warnings, and reduced her responsibilities. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging sex discrimination in violation of the NYCHRL. In turn, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging the plaintiff failed to set forth facts sufficient to sustain her claim.

Sex Discrimination in Violation of the NYCHRL

A plaintiff seeking to pursue a sex discrimination claim under the NYCHRL must only allege that he or she was treated less favorably because of his or her sex. The courts broadly construe the NYCHRL in light of the remedial and broad purposes of the law. As such, the NYCHRL does not impose a duty on a plaintiff to prove that his or her employer took employment actions that were materially adverse or engaged in severe or pervasive conduct.

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In New York, state and federal laws protect employees from unfair wage practices, such as inadequate pay, and require employers to provide employees with hour and wage notices and wage statements. Similarly, the laws protect employees from retaliation for reporting wage violations. Thus, employees harmed by their employers’ inappropriate wage practices may be able to seek recourse in the civil courts. Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed what a plaintiff alleging retaliation for reporting unfair wage practices must show to recover damages in a wage violation case.  If your employer denied you the compensation you are owed, you should meet with a skillful New York wage and hour attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiff was employed as a maintenance repair worker by the defendant employer, from July 2013 through February 2018. He was paid a fixed salary throughout the duration of his employment. The plaintiff worked sixty-two hours per week and was required to work without lunch breaks. He also worked ten or more hours a day without receiving spread of hours compensation on the days he was on call and was not provided wage statements or hour and wage notices. He complained regarding the fact that he was underpaid on several occasions, including to his direct supervisor, but no remedial actions were taken. The plaintiff was subsequently terminated. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging violations of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and asserting retaliation claims. In response, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to plead retaliation adequately.

Retaliation Claims Under the FLSA and NYLL

Pursuant to the FLSA, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee due to the fact that the employee filed a complaint under the FLSA. A plaintiff that alleges retaliation under the FLSA must show that he or she engaged in a protected activity, like filing an FLSA complaint, that the employer then took action that harmed the plaintiff, and a causal connection between the harmful action and the protected activity.

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Although many people assume the victim is female when they hear reports of sexual harassment in the workplace, men can be victims of sexual harassment as well. Regardless of whether a victim of sexual harassment is a man or a woman, however, it is essential for any victim of sexual harassment that wishes to pursue claims against his or her employer to take action in a timely manner. In some cases, though, if the harassment is ongoing, it may be deemed a continuing violation and may fall within the statute of limitations regardless of when the initial harm occurred. This was demonstrated in a recent case decided by a New York District Court, in which the court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims on the grounds that they were untimely. If you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is prudent to consult a capable New York sexual harassment attorney to assess what damages you may be owed.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Harassment

It is alleged that in April 2012, the plaintiff began working as a materials coordinator for the defendant employer. In May 2014, the defendant supervisor began making sexual advances and comments to the plaintiff, and touching him inappropriately. The plaintiff did not respond to the defendant supervisor’s advances but did not report them either, for fear of retaliation. The defendants subsequently engaged in several acts that created a hostile work environment.

Reportedly, the plaintiff requested numerous meetings with Human Resources, but only one meeting occurred, and no corrective action was taken thereafter. The plaintiff was subsequently terminated after which he filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which granted the plaintiff a right to sue letter. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging numerous counts of sexual harassment, including a hostile work environment claim. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss arguing, inter alia, that the plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

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