New York State’s Sweeping Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation

New York State’s Sweeping Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation by Sara Wyn Kane {Read in 4 minutes} In response to the #MeToo Movement, New York State and New York City overhauled their sexual harassment policies to give women additional protection in the workplace.

  • It is important that women know they now have additional rights that they did not have before.
  • It is also important that employers know they now have additional responsibilities that they did not have before.

In April 2018, Governor Cuomo signed sweeping anti-sexual harassment legislation into law, which goes into effect October 9th and applies to all employers. The new law requires employers to adopt a prevention plan that not only prohibits sexual harassment but provides examples of unacceptable conduct. The policy has to include information about the federal and state laws, and a standard complaint form. Continue reading

Supervisor sues Omni hotels, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation when she reported it

A former supervisor with Omni Hotels & Resorts has filed suit against the Dallas-based company, alleging sexual harassment and saying the company broke federal laws governing equal pay.Continue reading

Valeant Unit Settles Sex Discrimination Claims For $7.2M

Law360, Los Angeles (July 12, 2016, 4:56 PM EDT) — Valeant-owned Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. will pay $7.2 million to settle a class action alleging gender discrimination and other claims brought by female sales representatives of the medical cosmetics company, according to a final settlement order signed by a D.C. federal judge Monday. Continue reading

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.

What To Do If Being Harassed At Work

sexual harassment in the workplaceThose who suffer sexual harassment in the workplace do not have to tolerate the behavior; there are options. However, people who suffer through sexual harassment in the workplace are often hesitant to report the behavior. They are intimidated by the fear that reporting this degrading and demeaning behavior could have negative consequences. These feared consequences could include termination, damage to prospects of future employment, demotions and negative transfers. These potential negative consequences can be mitigated by empowering the sexually harassed individual to stop the behavior and demand redress for the professional and emotional distress as a result of the illegal behavior.
Sexual Harassment and Employment Law
Sexual harassment falls under the federal employment discrimination laws. In many areas, it not only violates United States federal law, but state and local laws. Employers are obligated to take action to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace. If sexual harassment is reported to the employer, immediate action must be taken to deal with the situation. In addition, the employee reporting sexual harassment is legally protected from retaliation by the employer.
 What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment comes in many forms. Some of these forms include:

  • Being directly asked for sex or sexual contact.
  • Unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances. This can be requests for dates or requests for meeting outside of the workplace.
  • Sexually charged speech.
  • Physical contact of a sexual nature.
  • Being required to function in a hostile work environment.
  • Behavior deemed inappropriate to the workplace. This includes sexist and derogatory language and pornographic images in the workplace.
  • Discriminatory and unfair treatment, including denial of opportunities and promotion, based on gender.

Should I Pursue a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
Individuals victimized by sexual harassment are often reluctant to pursue a lawsuit. They are often caught in the dilemma of fearing the potential of negative consequences of reporting sexual harassment, while knowing that action must be taken. Attorneys experienced in sexual harassment cases take great care in the way they treat clients that have been victims of harassment. Great attention will be given to the privacy of the client. And, if possible, the case will be pursued on a completely private basis through negotiations with the employer or through filings with agencies such as the EEOC which are charged with the responsibility of investigating claims of such harassment.
Whether it is sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination in the workplace, it is important to understand the rights and legal options of the worker.  If an employer has violated your rights, set up a no cost consultation with a law firm that is experienced in workplace discrimination.

Does Lack of State Level Prohibition Allow Discrimination in Texas?

Texas civil rights and discrimination attorneys point out areas in the law where Texas civil rights and discrimination protection falls through the cracks. Discrimination may have different motivations such as race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation and disability. Texans are not all protected equally when it comes to civil rights violations and protection from discrimination. Examples include:
Public Accommodations
gender discrimination texasMost people agree that public accommodations should be free from policies that discriminate. Texas has no statewide law prohibiting such discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical handicap. Some local governments have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination in public places. This has resulted in confusion as to what is legal from one municipality to the next. Texas civil rights and discrimination attorneys claim this highlights the need for statewide legislation.
 
Discrimination in the Workplace
workplace discrimination texasAccording to state law in Texas, civil rights in the workplace exist in many areas including employees’ race, age, gender, religion, national origin or disability. However, Texas civil rights and discrimination state law does not extent to sexual orientation. Texas civil rights and discrimination attorneys maintain that policies that favor non-discrimination are good business.
Discrimination in Education
education discrimination texasAccording to Texas civil rights and discrimination laws there are no specific prohibitions stopping a public educational institution from discriminating on account of race, ethnicity, color, gender, disability, sexual orientation, disability, religion or national origin of the student or the parent of the student. There are laws in place prohibiting student on student harassment covered under bullying codes. However, there are no similar laws covering discrimination and harassment originating from employees of the educational institution.
Discrimination from Insurance Companies
employment discrimination texasInsurance companies are prohibited from discrimination because of race, ethnicity, color, gender, disability, marital status, disability, religion, geographic location or national origin. However, Texas civil rights and discrimination laws make no provision for the prohibition based on sexual orientation and sexual identity. This discrimination can take form of higher rates, refusal to insure, limited coverage, extent of coverage and nature of coverage.
Since in Texas, civil rights and discrimination protection does no extent to sexual orientation and transgender people when it comes to insurance coverage, many insurance companies deny coverage for procedures related to transgender and sexual orientation issues.  Many are refused coverage for procedures because of their transgender and sexual orientation status and are required to put off the procedure or pay for it out of pocket when it should have covered by the insurance premium to begin with.

3 sisters allege harassment at restaurant – Newsday

Photo credit: Howard Schnapp | From left, Gabrielle D'Annunzio stands with her sisters, Ashley and Lauren, in Mineola as they discuss the lawsuit they have filed against Ayhan's Fish Kebab in Port Washington. (July 13, 2011)

Three sisters from Port Washington charged Wednesday that they had been sexually harassed continually while working as teenagers at a Port Washington restaurant.
The three — Ashley, Gabrielle and Lauren D’Annunzio, who are now in their early 20s — made the assertions in announcing the filing of a civil suit in federal court in Central Islip. They are seeking unspecified damages on allegations of sexual harassment and emotional distress from the restaurant, Ayhan’s Fish Kebab, its owner Ayhan Hassan, and a manager, Dario Gomez.
At a news conference on the steps of the State Supreme Court inMineola, the three said that, while working as hostesses at the restaurant, they had complained to management about the harassment, but nothing was done to stop it.
The harassment included male employees making lewd remarks to them and touching their arms, legs and buttocks, according to the suit filed by their attorney, Sara Kane of Garden City.
An attorney for the restaurant, Bruce Migatz of Garden City, said that he had not seen the lawsuit, but that “I’m familiar with the contentions, and they are wholly without merit, anyway.”
The sisters, who had worked at the restaurant for between 1 1/2 and three years — quit in July of 2008 after an incident in the restaurant’s basement when Lauren D’Annunzio, then 17, was restrained in a bear hug by a cook who groped her though “she shouted unsuccessfully for him to stop,” the suit says.
The cook, Juan Pablo Orellano, halted the attack when a busboy came down to the basement, the suit says.
A spokesman for the Nassau district attorney’s office, Christopher Munzing, said that Orellano was convicted in October 2008 of attempted sexual abuse, a felony, and served four months in jail because of the D’Annunzio incident.
Article Written By: Robert E. Kessler, Newsday.com
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