We have extensive experience representing employees and executives in employment discrimination claims and litigation. Over the last three decades our partners have routinely obtained seven-figure verdicts, awards and settlements for clients in discrimination cases. We have also won groundbreaking legal decisions expanding the scope of employee protection under federal, state and local discrimination laws.
New York State and New York City have been at the forefront of legislative efforts to expand workplace and employment protection to remedy generations of unfair and discriminatory practices. Recent expansions have covered a wide array of issues including:
- Most New York City employers will no longer be allowed to require applicants to submit to a pre-employment test for cannabis.
- New York State has enacted a ban on employers asking current or prospective employees to reveal or provide information concerning their salary history and compensation. The law also prohibits businesses from seeking similar information from other sources. (effective January 6, 2020)
- New York State has expanded the scope of existing discrimination laws to cover not only employees, but also “non-employees” including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or others providing services pursuant to a contract.
- New York State has broadened its prohibition of mandatory pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate claims of sexual harassment to encompass all claims of employment discrimination. The enforceability of this legislation is still under challenge and has not been resolved by the courts.
- New York State has expanded the protection of its Equal Pay Law—which historically has prohibited compensation discrepancies based on gender— to prohibit pay differences based on any other personal characteristics protected by the state’s anti-discrimination law (including race and ethnicity, age, disability and religion). The law now requires equal pay for either equal work or “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.”
- New York State and New York City both now have laws requiring employers to adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies containing minimum content and also provide annual anti-harassment training for employees.
- New York City has clarified and extended the protections for those with criminal records who apply for employment. Under the Fair Chance Act, New York City employers may not inquire into an applicant’s arrest or criminal conviction history or perform any criminal background check until after making a conditional offer of employment. In addition, if the applicant is rejected on that basis, the employer must demonstrate that either (i) hiring the applicant would pose an unreasonable risk to property or the safety of specific individuals or the general public, or (ii) the conviction bears a direct bearing on the applicant’s fitness or ability to perform one or more of the essential duties or responsibilities for the job.