Are Doctors Entitled to Unpaid Compensation in New York?

Are Doctors Entitled to Unpaid Compensation in New York? by James Vagnini{3 minutes to read}  Currently pending in the New York State Supreme Court for Kings County is a class-action lawsuit styled Okeke v. Interfaith Medical Center, et al. The plaintiff, Theophilus Okeke, is a former emergency room physician at Interfaith Medical Center (the “Hospital”) located in Brooklyn, New York. He alleges that the Hospital promised him and other similarly situated physicians additional compensation of $96.00 per shift for performing medical examinations on the Hospital’s pre-admitted psychiatric patients. However, the Hospital failed to provide them with the promised compensation.Continue reading

Weight Discrimination: The Issue of the Future?


Weight Discrimination AttorneysWhat do you think of when you think “employment discrimination?” The major civil rights victories of the 1960s are characteristically thought of as racial battles. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was seen largely as a victory for Americans of color. The Act was preceded in 1963 by the Equal Pay Act, which sought to guarantee equal pay for women. Both laws include broad, sweeping reform in terms of race, gender, nationality and religion.
In the 2010s, it appears as if new civil rights issues are finally culminating in American culture, especially the legal system. This coming election will be key to the future of gay rights, the most talked about social issue of the day.
One other civil rights issue is emerging, however, that was rarely spoken of in the 1960s: obesity. With claims of discrimination based on weight and size on the rise, what’s the future of civil rights for overweight Americans?

Is it Legal to Discriminate Based on Weight?

Currently, there are no laws on the books which protect the obese from discrimination. However, it is becoming common to use the Civil Rights Act of 1991 as a platform for obesity rights. The law opens the possibility for obesity-related discrimination cases along several metrics. For instance, if an individual was discriminated against, and his/her obesity is disease-related, then illegal discrimination may have taken place. Obesity discrimination may or may not be race related in some cases, as obesity rates are statistically higher among Latinos and African Americans.

Did Title VII Leave Obese Individuals Out?

There’s no question that obesity is on the rise in the United States. There’s very little question that popular culture in the U.S. glorifies the skinny, the healthy, and the glamorous. It is profoundly ironic to see advertisements for popular fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. featuring supermodels with hamburgers—and it is profoundly illustrative of America’s double standard in terms of exploitation of–and discrimination against–the obese.

The Exception to the Rule

One state in the Union protects against obesity-related discrimination: Michigan. Conversely, the state also passed a law protecting fast food restaurants from being sued over obesity. Other states are known to have considered enacting laws protecting the obese.
If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your weight, especially in the realm of employment, you should consider your legal options. Call the law offices of Valli Kane & Vagnini today for a free consultation.

South Florida Fire Department Under EEOC Investigation


Snug in Florida’s deep south, Davie, Florida is a town known for its Western roots, featuring a western-themed amusement park, and more citizens with horses than you can shake a stick at. Davie’s population of about 92,000 is supported by five fire stations, nos. 38, 65, 68, 91 and 104. The hundred year old town, once an out of the way western paradise, is now hitting the news as the subject of allegations of Title VII discrimination at its fire department.
A Host of Discrimination Complaints
The discrimination claims appear not to be an isolated incident: 18 Title VII claims in total are allegedly under investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC (the EEOC does not publicly discuss or confirm whether complaints are being investigated). Ten of the 18 charging parties are being represented by two attorneys. The most damning complaint comes from a female firefighter who claims she was unfairly subjected to full duty during the first trimester of her pregnancy. This charging party is alleging that eight (8) days after fighting a fire with her colleagues, she miscarried.
An Alleged Culture of Sexism and Bigotry
The charges center on complaints of sexism and bigotry. The most publicized involve the above case of miscarriage, as well as the story of Linda Stokoe. Stokoe was a fire inspector for the city, but was allegedly fired due to sex discrimination. The former inspector claims she was ordered to keep records of her bathroom visits, and that women were generally believed by her peers to be unfit for firefighting. Another charge alleges discrimination against a Jewish American, who claims derogatory terms and slurs were used against him.
How Does Title VII Apply?
Title VII, as amended, directly prohibits discrimination in the workplace on account of gender, race and religion, among other protected categories. The complaints described against the Davie, Florida Fire Department include racial and gender slurs, preferential treatment, and statements (direct, not implied statements) that women and some minorities are unfit to serve in the Fire Department. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was instituted, nearly every generation of EEOC leadership interpreting the Act has prohibited such treatment.
Is This Your Story?
If you feel that your race, gender, religion, national origin, disability or age have played an unnecessary role at your job, or even in your attempts to find work, then you may have a claim of discrimination. For further information and a free consultation, call the law offices of Valli, Kane & Vagnini today.

Environmental Discrimination: Hampering Individual Achievement


environmental racismIn the 1950s, segregation in America was still predominant. Separate busses and separate water fountains were mandated, dividing white from black in a manner that should never be repeated. While segregation has long been outlawed for decades from a legal standpoint, racism still rears its head in a number of arenas, from institutional to professional to educational to environmental.
Environmental discrimination came about in the 1980s, and established the desire to create a legal precedent in which racial elements influenced environmental factors. Its definition is broad, its legal influence is growing, and its affect on your situation at work or at home may be a determining factor in your need for an attorney.
What is Environmental Discrimination/Racism?
Environmental discrimination, or environmental racism, is the affect that race plays on one’s environment. Separate water fountains make for a simple example: were the water fountains used by whites in the 1950s cleaner, well-maintained, and more sterile than those used by blacks? When environmental discrimination is present, individual achievement is hampered. This is simply antithetical to the American way. Every American should have equal opportunity to move forward, work hard, and achieve his or her goals. While overcoming hardship is an essential component to success, racism is an unacceptable hardship in the United States.
How Might Environmental Discrimination Affect My Situation?
Environmental discrimination in New York may be more common than you realize. If a landlord owns properties in several neighborhoods, yet refuses to invest in maintenance on properties “because of the people in the neighborhood,” then that might legally be defined as environmental racism. Not only is that potentially illegal, it is terrible business practice, and a disservice to the community.
In business, if a franchise owner decides to invest more in “white neighborhoods” than “black neighborhoods” or “latino neighborhoods,” then environmental discrimination is clearly present.
Zoning and Environmental Discrimination
This type of discrimination may go into the government sector as well. For instance, when voter districts are changed to racially segregate a vote, then that is environmental discrimination. Zoning laws, when drawn with race as a factor, constitute racist behavior and may potentially open the doors for litigation.
If you feel you are a victim of environmental discrimination, then you need an attorney with an expert knowledge of your situation. Call the law offices of Valli, Kane & Vagnini, and put your trust into experienced attorneys.

Working Off The Clock? Think Again


working off the clockWith the American economy in the midst of its worst downturn in decades, corporations are trying to squeeze that last buck out of every corner they can. Job satisfaction is going down across the board. One largely unsung issue that may be elevating to epidemic proportions is “Off the Clock” work.
For many, going unpaid for the work you perform for your employer is illegal.  Many corporations in the U.S. are, unfortunately, asking their workers to buck up and work without minimum wage or overtime pay.  This violates both New York and Federal law. The plain fact of the matter is that the laws are designed to protect during the bad times as well as the good. Just because there is not as much money to go around does not mean that it is all right to ask workers to work off the clock without compensation.
Full Time Employees in New York
For the most part, New York State follows Federal guidelines when it comes to minimum wage and overtime. If a non-exempt employee is performing work of any sort for their employer, they are to be paid at least minimum wage for their work.  If they are working over forty hours in a work week, then any time worked above that is eligible for overtime pay. Live in employees may claim overtime after forty-four hours as well. Naturally, standard exemptions apply to certain types of employees, including certain interships.
However, a controversial case is brewing in New York that might potentially change how the law sees interns nationwide. An intern is suing Harper’s Bazaar, claiming that minimum wage is due to all intern workers and that internships are exploitive. We will follow this case closely and continue to report on its significant role in the wage and hour litigation world.
Full Time Workers That Receive Tips
If your employer claims that you are not entitled to overtime pay because you receive tips in your line of work (such as a restaurant server, delivery driver, dancer, etc.), then your employer is out of compliance with New York and Federal law. All work performed by these types of workers are subject to minimum wage and overtime law.
If you are a non-exempt, hourly worker, an employer cannot refuse to pay you time working off the clock.  You are entitled to be paid for all hours work at minimum wage or an overtime rate if over 40 hours in a work week.  If you feel you are being forced to work “off the clock” meaning you are not being paid for your time, then you should contact an attorney familiar with these laws immediately.  For a free consultation, contact the law offices of Valli Kane & Vagnini, LLP at (866) 441-2873.  You need a talented lawyer that is not afraid to take on exploitive employers that disregard the law.

Illegal Employment Interview Questions

job competition new york
Competition in the job market can be stiff

We are in an economy where jobs are at a premium. There are too many people competing for too few jobs. This puts the employers in the driver’s seat.  But whether you are on the West Coast or in New York, employment attorneys will tell you that this does not give the employers carte blanche in the way they treat job candidates.  There are laws that apply to the hiring process. These laws range from conduct of the interviewer to the basis of the decision to hire; from questions that an interviewer cannot ask to what can be considered in a hiring decision.
How Can Job Interview Questions be Illegal?
job interview discrimination
Have you ever been the victim of job discrimination?

Employers have broad latitude when it comes to the question they can ask a candidate during a job interview. However, starting in the 1960s, a series of federal employment laws have protected certain types of information. These laws shut down questions along the lines of race, religious beliefs, health, age, sexual orientation and marital status. In addition to federal law, New York State and local anti-discrimination laws lend additional protections to job candidates.
As objective as the law may try to be, New York employment attorneys will tell you that the law is far from perfect. Though an employer may not discriminate based on the color of your skin, they can discriminate based on the color of something like your tie or shoes. The employer cannot choose to hire or reject you on account of something like your religious beliefs, but they base their decision on your personality and disposition during the interview or even where you may have worked in the past. In other words, an employer can discriminate as long as they do not discriminate in an area where the law designates specific protections.
If You Have Been Discriminated Against, What Are Your Options?
So what do you do if you are asked legally out-of-bounds questions like – What is your age? Are you a Christian (Jew, Muslim, etc.) Are you planning to start a family? Are you disabled? One of your options is to tactfully point out to the interviewer that the question was illegal.  Once the interviewer is alerted, assume that the ball is in the employer’s court.  However, New York employment lawyers say that it is probably a good thing to know right up front that the company is not up to speed on employment issues or, worse yet, intentionally breaking the law.  It is certainly an indication that something worse may be around the corner if you do get hired!
Another option is to go ahead and answer the illegal question. You can answer it honestly, if you believe it will not harm you in any way.  A final option is to give a misleading answer if the question is clearly illegal.  The employer can hardly justify condemning you for lying in response to a question that violates your civil rights. No matter what you decide to do, make sure you take not of what transpires and if you feel you were not hired on account of your response, or lack thereof, you may have a claim against them for discrimination.
Finally, you may find your best option is to contact New York employment attorneys, Valli Kane & Vagnini, LLP, for a free consultation to determine if you have been discriminated against and what your legal rights are.

Have You Been Discriminated Against at Work?

new york employment attorneyIt is one thing to convince yourself that it was unjust that you lost your job. Self-justification is one of the strongest human drives. It is tough thing to admit that maybe your performance was not up to par. It is another thing to think that an employer fired you for illegal reasons such as discrimination.
A team of New York discrimination attorneys point out that if you were fired for illegal reasons, you may be able to sue the employer for compensation, for other related losses and to prevent them from doing this to other employees. These same New York discrimination attorneys say that employees need to learn their rights.
Know Your Rights
new york discrimination attorneysUnder federal law and, as New York discrimination attorneys will inform you, under New York law, you cannot be terminated or suffer any adverse employment action because of race discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination, age discrimination, discrimination due to sexual orientation, discrimination due to gender or discrimination due to membership in any protected group. If you believe that you have been fired, demoted or overlooked for a promotion as a result of discrimination and you are in the area, contact New York discrimination attorneys to discuss you options.
Employer Retaliation
Employers have been known to fire employees for simply mentioning perceived discrimination or complaining about discrimination. If an employer has done any of this, they have broken the law. Complaining about discrimination in the workplace is your right and should be able to talk about it without fear of being terminated.
Whistleblower Revenge
whistleblower attorneysIf you have reported discrimination, threatening behavior or illegal behavior by your employer and have been fired or retaliated against, you may want to explore your legal options. If you are in the area, call you New York discrimination attorneys to schedule a consultation.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you believe your employer illegally discriminated against you as an employee, you can proceed to bring charges against the employer without an attorney. The process is very involved. It can be confusing and quite overwhelming. You can be reasonably certain that when you bring charges, you will be confronted by the employer’s attorneys. Since the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the job discrimination laws, sometimes the person who brings the charge is under the mistaken impression that the EEOC is in their corner and will help them with their case. In fact, the EEOC’s job is to investigate the charge and be neutral in their finding of facts. It is wise to seek council. If you are in the area, contact your New York discrimination attorneys who can help you in drafting and submitting your discrimination charge.

The Job Search and Discrimination by Age

justice, discrimination, law, lawyer, new york
When employers shut you out because you exceed some arbitrary age limit, this can be exceedingly frustrating. Not only is the employer perpetrating an obvious injustice, in many cases, it may be clear that you are best candidate for the position. There are laws prohibiting many types of discrimination. U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces these laws. It behooves an employer to know the relevant laws and regulations. Age is one of the areas of discrimination covered by laws.
Employers are not to treat job applicants or existing employees less favorably because of their age. Current law, covered by Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), applies to employees and job candidates equally. The law applies to people age forty and over. Employers can favor an older employee over a younger employee but not the other way around. The law applies even if both employees are over forty. In other words you cannot hire a 45 year old worker over a 55 year old employee due to age.
Work Contexts and Age Discrimination
age discrimination, age, workplaceThe law covers discrimination in many aspects including hiring, termination, pay level and pay raises, work assignments, promotions, layoffs, benefits, training and general working conditions.
 
Harassment and Age Discrimination

Law forbids harassment due to age. Examples of such harassment could include offensive remarks about a workers age. Harassment is not everyday good-humored banter or an isolated remark. However, if the banter and remarks become so severe and frequent that it creates a work environment that is hostile or offensive, that is harassment and prohibited by law. If the adverse treatment due to age results in negative employment decisions, such as termination, that is considered harassment and prohibited by law. It will be considered harassment if it is the victim’s manager or supervisor, a coworker or even someone who is not an employee such as client or vendor.
Policies, Practices and Age Discrimination
 Policies and practices implemented by an employer need to be applied to everyone without regard to age. When applied, policies and practices can be illegal if they can be shown to have harmed or impacted negatively employees forty year old or older due to their age. Areas commonly effected include:
work, policy

  • Training and apprenticeship programs.
  • Want ads and job notices.
  • Employment inquiries.
  • Benefits and retirement policies.

Any employer with more than twenty employees is subject to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. It also applies to all government agencies, federal, state and local.