5 Things You Should Know About the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Pregnancy Whether you are currently pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, you should understand the basics of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This Act was created to help protect the rights of working mothers. Here are five important things that you should know about it: 1. It’s illegal for you to be denied a job because you are or could become pregnant. If you apply for a job and are fully able to perform the job, it is illegal for an employer to not hire you simply because you are or could become pregnant. 2. Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to do their job. If you can still perform your job, it’s illegal for your employer to tell you that you must begin your leave. You are entitled to work until you are no longer able to do your job or until you choose to take your leave. 3. Employers must treat your pregnancy just as they would treat standard injuries or illnesses. Always take a look at your company’s policy regarding injury and illness. If your company requires a doctor’s note for absences caused by illness, make sure that you have a note for them in regards to your illness. After recovering for a time, if your company requires a doctor’s release in order for you to come back to work, have that ready. Your company must treat your pregnancy (and any illness or injury that may come with it) exactly as they would treat an illness or injury leave of any other employee. – Read More “5 Things You Should Know About the Pregnancy Discrimination Act”

Gender Discrimination and Paternity Leave in New York

father and son The birth of a child is a beautiful and stressful time. Because of the recovery time necessary after pregnancy, employers expect that a woman will remain on maternity leave for a time and plan ahead for that time. They may offer a reasonable amount of time for the woman to heal, care for, and bond with her new baby. Frequently, however, this same courtesy is not extended to new fathers, and in New York state, this is illegal for a couple of reasons. Paid Family Leave Effective January 1, 2018, Paid Family Leave is available for most employees working in New York. It provides job-protected paid time off so you can: Bond with your new child, Care for a sick relative, or Help out when a family member is deployed for active military service According to the NY.gov website, “During 2018, you can take up to eight weeks of Paid Family Leave and receive 50% of your average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). Your AWW is the average of your last eight weeks of pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave. The SAWW is updated annually.” Be aware that over the next several years, the percentage of weekly compensation and the number of weeks of leave will increase. The plan is to receive 55% with 10 weeks in 2019, 60% with 10 weeks in 2020, and 67% with 12 weeks in 2021. Gender Discrimination Gender discrimination is illegal, whether you’re male or female. – Read More “Gender Discrimination and Paternity Leave in New York”

5 Common Manifestations of Illegal Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

handshake Gender discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and occurrences are more regular than you may think. In fact, some forms of gender discrimination are so subtle that you may not even realize that you’ve been discriminated against. The Pew Research Center released the statistics on gender discrimination in the United States back in December 2017. Here are five common ways that you may experience or be experiencing gender discrimination in the workplace. Position Bias Unfortunate as it may be, there still exists a cultural belief that some genders are better in certain jobs than others. For example, a woman might seem like a better fit as a secretary or nurse than a man. Likewise, a man might seem like a better fit as a boss or doctor than a woman.   We all know this cultural bias exists, and it’s important to realize that position bias truly impacts both genders. Everyone is legally allowed the right to work in their chosen career field. Interview Questions If you’re in an interview and you are asked questions about whether you plan on having kids and raising a family, that’s a form of gender discrimination. Even though both males and females can parent evenly, it’s often the maternity leave time and additional insurance expenses that perpetuate this line of questioning. No matter what the motive, even if it seems like small talk, these kinds of questions are illegal. Pay and Benefits It has been studied and documented that women in many industries receive less pay and benefits than their male counterparts. – Read More “5 Common Manifestations of Illegal Gender Discrimination in the Workplace”

What You Need and How to Apply for the Paid Family Leave Benefits Coming to New York in 2018

Family silhouette

Five Things to Do if You are Being Sexually Harassed at Work

In a Meeting As much as we wish it weren’t the case, sexual harassment in the workplace is still a surprisingly common and disturbing experience. Fortunately, there are laws and protections in place to help ensure those who are sexually harassed are able to demand a safe and fair workplace. If the victim is not granted relief, the harasser and/or the employer can be sued in a court of law. Sexual harassment can include a wide variety of different things including harassing comments, persistent sexual advances, inappropriate touching, and more. It can also include actions like having managers only invite the men to a team building event, or only giving promotions to females. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, make sure you do the following five things to protect yourself and your legal rights. Protect Yourself The first, and most important thing to do is make sure that you are safe. If you are being physically threatened or touched in dangerous way, remove yourself from the situation. All the other tips in this post are secondary to this one. Protecting yourself could mean going immediately to your boss, calling the police, or just leaving work and not coming back until you are safe. Learn Your Corporate Policies Virtually all companies today have an official policy on sexual harassment. In addition to forbidding inappropriate actions, the policy will also tell you how you should handle reporting it, and what obligations you have to fulfill. As soon as possible, become familiar with these policies so that you can be sure you are following them to the T. – Read More “Five Things to Do if You are Being Sexually Harassed at Work”

A Brief Guide to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

Pregnant woman Few things can bring as much excitement and joy to your life as learning that you are pregnant. For far too many women, however, that joy is quickly stifled when they begin experiencing discrimination from their employer. Fortunately, there are legal protections in place that can help to guarantee your rights in these situations – but you need to know what your rights are, and how to demand them. Specifically, learning about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a great way to understand your rights. What is the PDA? The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was originally passed in 1978, and is a part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act is designed to help protect the rights of the millions of women who may become pregnant at some point during their careers. It is a fairly extensive piece of legislation, which governs virtually all aspects of employment including hiring, promotions, pay, firing, disciplinary actions, and employment benefits. This act applies to all employers that have fifteen or more employees. Although smaller employers aren’t covered under this act, however, they can’t legally directly discriminate against pregnant women either. What Rights Does it Protect? The PDA offers many protections against discrimination, which pregnant women are often a victim of. These protections apply not only to women who are pregnant, but also those who may become pregnant. Some specific rights that are protected include: Getting Fired – Employers may not terminate employment because you file a complaint against them for violating the PDA. – Read More “A Brief Guide to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)”

6 Tips to Help Expecting Mothers Negotiate Maternity Leave

Pregnant Woman working on laptop

5 Red Flags for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Pregnant businesswoman working in office

Why Having ADD Makes Me a Great Attorney

Gavel Originality.  Creativity.  Charisma.  Energy.  Liveliness.  An unusual sense of humor.  Areas of intellectual brilliance.  Spunk. About 90% of the compliments I receive mention these qualities.  And it’s no coincidence that these are the traits common to those with ADD. ADD (aka ADHD – the terms are interchangeable) is highly misunderstood.  Some people might ask, why on earth would I want an attorney who is unable to focus, unable to remember anything, hyper-fidgety, and always distracted?  Truly, you wouldn’t want that.  But that’s not really what ADD is. In fact, ADD is a collection of traits that makes me an excellent attorney.  Here’s the real truth about those of us gifted with ADD. We think super fast. The main difference between the ADD brain and the regular brain is speed.  People often come into my office with a large pile of papers and are astonished at the speed with which I immediately identify and hone in on the key facts and the important issues.  For us, our brains work at a rapid fire pace; ADD is sometimes described as like having a race car brain. Fast thinking is the ultimate trial attorney skill.  I can’t tell you how important it is, when your mind is racing for an objection, when you’re analyzing a direct examination and figuring out which questions to ask on cross, when a judge asks you a question and you have to come up with reasoning on the fly that is logical and legally sound, not to be the one who is left stammering and stuttering. – Read More “Why Having ADD Makes Me a Great Attorney”

How to Negotiate With Your Jerk Boss: A Litigator’s Guide From the Trenches (Part I)

checklist Every woman who strives for success, to attain the best for herself and her family if she has one, must negotiate at some point in her life. Negotiation is scary and unpleasant for many, because it involves confrontation, and many people haven’t developed the skills yet to handle confrontation without stress. Negotiation with your boss is even worse: (A) you’re in the position of lesser power, and (B) you may feel like your ego is on the line. Negotiating with your boss is hard for everyone, but especially for women. Women who correctly assess their own worth, and make demands accordingly, are harshly evaluated. It’s not our place; we should be nicer (quieter); we should demand less; we’re less important, less valuable, less deserving. You know that is false, and so do I. But we also live in the real world and so, as savvy negotiators, we’re going to deftly incorporate navigating this bullshit to all the other stuff we have to do to achieve success. More money, more leave time, better benefits, more flexibility: it is there for you if you’ve done the preparation and you have the fortitude to demand it. To get the results you want, you need to engage your heart, your brain, your muscles, AND your steel ovaries. Ready? STEP ONE: DECIDE WHY. Step one is the “heart” step. Whether you want more money, time off, or something else, don’t start with figuring out the details. Figure out why this is important to you. Do you feel undervalued and it’s negatively impacting your self-worth? – Read More “How to Negotiate With Your Jerk Boss: A Litigator’s Guide From the Trenches (Part I)”