5 Common Manifestations of Illegal Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

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. Even from the beginning, many women are offered reduced, “low-ball” packages because it’s less likely for a woman to counter-offer than a man. When the woman starts at a lower wage, it’s less likely that she’ll ever make the same amount as her male counterparts. Promotions If two people start at different wages and both receive the same percentage of bonus or raise, the one who starts with the higher wage will receive a larger raise. This steadily increases the pay gap between the two individuals. So, naturally, if you start at a lower wage than your peers, you’re going to struggle to make the same amount of money as they do. Also, unfortunately, women can be less assertive about asking for/demanding promotions or raises. Men tend to have more tenacity about requesting and receiving promotions and raises. Terminations Unfortunately, if you’re a woman working in a very male-dominated field, you are more likely to be terminated than your male counterpart. Plus, it’s possible that if you are sexually harassed and your bosses don’t handle your claim seriously, they may choose to solve the problem by getting rid of you instead of the person who sexually harassed you. This is a sad reality for women working in male-dominated fields. This is why we encourage you to come see us right away to see if you suspect you’ve been a victim of workplace gender discrimination. What Should I Do? According to the U.S.-

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

If you are an employed New Yorker, you are paying into Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. You can take PFL whenever you have a new child (whether through birth, adoption, or foster care), when you have to care for a family member, or when you are deployed by the military. In a previous blog, we discussed the eligibility requirements for PFL. In this blog, we’ll list the documents that you’ll need and how to apply for the PFL. If you believe or have been unfairly denied Paid Family Leave as required by New York state law, we are ready to fight for your rights. Please don’t hesitate to call us at (212) 390-8480. Important Disclaimer: This is meant to be a short guide; for the latest information on the process, please visit the New York State Department of Labor website. This process may vary from employer to employer, so be sure to contact your human resources department. What You’ll Need to Apply for PFL As you receive paperwork regarding your situation, collect it. Until you’re certain which documents your employer will require, it’s best to have them all. When applying for maternity leave, if you are the birth mother, you need your child’s birth certificate and documentation of your pregnancy or delivery from the health care provider (with your name and the baby’s due or birth date). If you are the second parent, you need a copy of the child’s birth certificate or a letter verifying paternity and a documentation of the pregnancy or delivery from the health care provider (listing the mother’s name and the baby’s due or birth date). You also need a document that verifies your relationship with the birth mother. If you are a foster parent, you need a letter of placement issued by your city or county social services department. Here, if you are the second parent and you’re unlisted on this document, you need a copy of this document and a letter explaining your relationship to the listed parent. For those welcoming an adopted baby, you need legal evidence of the adoption. Once again, if the second parent is not named on the adoption paperwork, he or she needs a copy of that paperwork and a letter explaining his or her relationship with the listed parent. If you are applying for PFL to care for a close relative, you need certification from the care recipient’s health care provider. For those applying for a military-related leave, you need a copy of the military duty papers, a US Department of Labor Military Family Leave Certification (Federal Military Leave Form), and other documentation that supports the reason for the leave. This could include meeting documentation, ceremony details, and rest and recuperation orders, to name a few. Application for PFL Once you have all your documents collected, follow these simple steps to apply for PFL. Notify your employer at least 30 days before you want your leave to start that you wish to take Paid Family Leave. If you’re-

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

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. Don’t Quit Your Job Unless it is unsafe to go to work, you should not quit your job. The courts have ruled in the past that if someone quits their job, they give up certain rights to a sexual harassment lawsuit. While you should never put yourself in danger, it is generally a good idea to remain working for the employer in whatever capacity is possible if you want to successfully bring a claim. Document Everything in Writing Make sure you write everything down, and keep proof of all meetings and comments. Each time you are sexually harassed, write it down with the dates and times. Any meetings you have with your manager, human resources, or anyone else about the harassment should also be documented in writing. This documentation will be needed should your case have to go to court. Report Every Instance If you have reported to your manager that a co-worker is making inappropriate comments to you, for example, the employer is obligated to address it right away. If it happens again, you need to file another report with your manager or HR. Every instance of harassment should be reported to your manager or HR depending on your company’s policies. Talk to an Attorney If your concerns are not addressed by your employer right away, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about what options are available. Crumiller P.C. fights-

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A Brief Guide to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

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. Promotions – You may not be bypassed for a promotion simply because you are pregnant, or may become pregnant. Maternity Leave – Your employer must hold your job for you while you are on maternity leave for at least as long as they would for someone on sickness or disability leave. Hiring – Employers may not refuse to hire you just because you are pregnant, as long as you are able to perform the required job duties. Job Duties – You cannot be assigned job duties that are unsafe for you to perform while pregnant. Other – This legislation offers protections against any type of discrimination due to pregnancy or fertility. The following eligibility requirements are the minimum requirements required by state law. Many employers have their own policies that are more generous than what is strictly required, so while this article will provide an excellent starting point, you should reach out to your manager or HR department to get the specific policy from your company. Hours Per Week & Years of Service In order to qualify for paid family leave, employees need to be with the company for a set amount of time, and work a minimum number of hours per week. The breakdown is as follows: Schedule of 20+ hours per week – Employees who have a regular work schedule of 20+ hours per week will qualify for paid family leave after they have been employed with the company for 26 weeks. Schedule of less than 20 hours-

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6 Tips to Help Expecting Mothers Negotiate Maternity Leave

If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind. For many working women, one of the biggest worries is job security with a growing family. While some companies offer up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave when an employee has a child, it is often possible to negotiate a better arrangement. Offering new moms the time they need to recover from childbirth, bond with their baby,, and spend time with their growing family is a great option for employers and employees . That said, it can still be a difficult conversation to have at work if you’re not prepared. The following six tips can help you successfully negotiate  to create the maternity leave that best suits you: Understand the Company’s Leave Policies First, it’s critical to read through your employee benefits handbook. This will help you learn what maternity leave options are available, so that you can ask for something better later; you want to enter the process with all the facts. If your company doesn’t currently offer maternity leave, research other leave options such as personal leaves of absence, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other alternatives such as modified work schedules. It may be possible work with your employer and adapt one of these options to meet your needs. Start the Process Now The earlier you start negotiation, the better. Giving your colleagues time to plan for your absence frequently makes it easier for managers to approve your request. Whether this means talking to your manager or HR team shortly after becoming pregnant, or while you’re trying to get pregnant, sooner is going to be better. Be Clear on What You are Asking For One of the worst things you can do is to go into any negotiation meeting without a clear explanation of what it is you require. Let your manager or HR representative know exactly how much leave you desire, what type of pay (if any) you think is reasonable, and be clear about other factors that may influence the time and type of leave you need. It is critical that they understand your goals so that you can work together in order to set up a plan that works for everyone. Present a Plan for Ensuring That Work is Done in Your Absence It is an unfortunate fact that many managers worry that a job won’t get done if they approve the maternity leave – so they just deny it to anyone who asks. If, in advance of your meeting, you create a plan which ensures that your work is properly delegated and managed while you’re gone, you will show preparation and commitment, as well as care for your co-workers. Know Your Priorities Prioritize your requests in your mind, and be prepared to compromise. . If you request 15 weeks, but they counter with 12, for example, that might not be a big deal. Other circumstances may be non-negotiable for you. Be prepared to sacrifice lesser-

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5 Red Flags for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the workplace isn’t always obvious. When employers and coworkers treat you differently because of your pregnancy, they may be doing so unconsciously or even out of (misplaced) concern for you — but in many cases, such treatment comes down to discrimination. If you’re pregnant, you’ve recently had a baby, or you’re considering starting a family in the near future, it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge of your employment rights. Take a look at the following scenarios for some common warning signs of pregnancy discrimination. 1) Everyone’s a critic. If your employers are gearing up to fire or demote you, they may start to build up justification through negative performance reviews. You may notice a suspiciously-timed increase in criticism, as well as a harsher tone and more variation in the type of negative feedback you receive. This treatment is always alarming, but is especially so if you generally enjoy good relationships with your co-workers and supervisors.. In rare cases, you may even notice complaints, backhanded or direct, about your performance specific to your pregnancy. 2) You’re feeling left out. Red flags don’t always show in the form of direct feedback or confrontation. When it comes to a deserted email inbox or an unusually blank calendar, you may note an absence of communication more than an abundance of criticism. If you’re missing out on meetings, networking events,  or other important communications that you would normally receive, you may be looking at a subtle symptom of pregnancy discrimination. 3) Your opportunities are dwindling. You may also experience a decrease in training or education opportunities. You may have attended classes, seminars, workshops, or other training events related to your field . If you’ve recently felt sidelined from a path of steady career growth, ask your managers for clarification. Your conversation may shed light on the question of whether you’re experiencing pregnancy discrimination. 4) They won’t make accommodations. Employers across the United States have a legal responsibility to accommodate your needs during pregnancy. You may find that you need lighter duties, more breaks, medical leave, or other accommodations, and your employers must make reasonable efforts to comply. If they deny your pregnancy-related requests, you may be looking at a big red flag for discrimination. 5) They limit your growth. If you were previously a strong candidate for a raise or promotion, you may find that you’ve been passed over following a pregnancy announcement. In these cases, silence can speak louder than words, as enthusiastic discussions about your raise or promotion are suddenly hushed. Some women experience  demotions or poor treatment designed to make them quit. If you’re not currently pregnant and don’t have children, it’s not uncommon to hear suggestions about your future at the company, hinting that your opportunities will be limited if you should choose to have kids.   If you suspect pregnancy discrimination in your workplace, start taking notes immediately. An attorney can provide you with specific guidance about the actions you can take in light of discriminatory behavior.-

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Why Having ADD Makes Me a Great Attorney

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. Fast thinking also means I work super efficiently and this saves my clients money. We are creative. People with ADD are creative, original thinkers.  We thrive as entrepreneurs and inventors.  Creativity is extremely important in the law!  I often compare myself to an interpreter – lives are messy, and it’s my job to create a narrative with structure that is going to fit into a neat package that a judge will like and that dovetails with whatever legal theory we are trying to present.  This molding process requires a lot of creative work.  Who might be a surprise witness you might not have thought of?  What are some leads, some documents it didn’t occur to you to look at?  What are some reasons our adversary might be doing certain things, and how can we leverage that information?  Good litigation attorneys use our creative thinking skills constantly. We are bold risk-takers. Many people with ADD are prone to addiction or self-destructive behavior because we enjoy and thrive on risk.  What better healthy outlet than the risk of litigation?  With real lives at stake, naturally, I would never do anything to unnecessarily jeopardize my clients’ futures and well beings.  But most people are very risk averse.  Most lawyers don’t really want to go to trial.  Most lawyers are afraid and they have to talk themselves into engaging in a real fight. I mentioned earlier that 90% of the compliments I receive involve the list ADD traits above-

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

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? Do you want and deserve certain things that cost money but you can’t afford because you’re not getting fairly compensated for your hard work? Do you suspect there are less qualified people at your company making more than you, and the injustice makes you angry? Are you thinking ahead to your future career path and understanding that each increase you get has an upward increase on every increase you get for the rest of your life? Are you expecting a child and you know it is important to establish for yourself that your family comes first to you? Do you want to set a good example for your kids by standing up for yourself and valuing yourself so that your kids will do the same for themselves? Whatever your reasons are, I suggest you start with exploring them. Once you can articulate why this negotiation is important to you, that importance will become more real. And ultimately, if you have prepared properly, you will succeed at any negotiation where your feelings are stronger than the other person’s. STEP TWO: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Allot enough time to do your research outside the office. You simply cannot enter into a negotiation if you are not performing your best at work. Even if your employer doesn’t notice, YOU will know. You need to be ready to enter the conversation from an ass-kicking position of strength. This is the part where you engage your brain.-

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Five Reasons Why Experience Matters

As I round the end of my first decade of practice, I recently had occasion to reminisce about my very first trial in March 2008. Remembering the stress and anxiety is fun in retrospect, although when you’re new to trials, the experience is somewhat petrifying. Thinking back to my early days as a trial attorney makes me come to appreciate the importance of the skills you learn over time that come only with experience. Here are five reasons why it’s important to have an experienced trial attorney on your team when you are fighting to get the result you want, whether you’re prosecuting or defending a case. (1) More forceful negotiating. Though they would never admit it, most attorneys want to avoid trial if at all possible. It is time consuming, tiring, and requires a lot of focus. You’ll look like an idiot if you’re not familiar with the facts of the case and the rules of evidence. While most attorneys want to avoid trial, this motivator becomes much stronger for the inexperienced practitioner, whose negotiations will inevitably be impacted. I usually want to avoid trial too, if only because it’s expensive for my clients. But I always visualize how a trial is likely to go very early on in the case. If you are “trial ready”, even just mentally, you can’t help but advocate more forcefully for your client. (2) Maintaining clearer focus on the big picture. A big part of what I do is winnowing down information. 30 minutes of testimony are better than three hours. Five photographs are better than 50. An attorney who is unsure of herself will hesitate to omit any possible fact from her presentation, fearing it could be a mistake. An experienced attorney has the judgment and confidence to make an informed evaluation as to what piece of evidence will be persuasive. (3) Maintaining clearer focus on the courtroom. When do I object? How am I going to introduce this document? How do I overcome an objection? How do I elicit the information I need from a witness without asking leading questions? When you first learn to play chess (another hobby I enjoy), you focus your moves on what each piece is allowed to do and what vulnerabilities exist on each individual square. Once you internalize this information, you free up mental space to analyze and form a real strategy. Litigation is similar. A more relaxed questioner on direct examination will mean a more relaxed witness. An attorney who can pay attention to the witness’s actual answers instead of just focusing on the question is going to end up with much better testimony. An attorney who can concentrate on the judge’s demeanor and reactions to different questions will get the best result of all. (4) Knowing the difference between TV and real life. It takes a few cross-examinations before you genuinely come to learn that trials in real life are not like trials on TV. This means “gotcha” questions don’t usually work unless-

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Utah v Streiff: A Historic Dissent

Although Crumiller P.C. doesn’t focus on issues of race specifically, I am a firm believer in the necessity of fighting racism in achieving equality for all. While we focus on issues of family rights – pregnancy discrimination, maternity and paternity leave – which are not specifically racial issues, we find that, as in all areas, people of color suffer disproportionately from harsh treatment and negative stereotypes, along with the many structural barriers to equality. I believe white people have a special responsibility to speak up about these issues. To that end, and in honor of her 62nd birthday on Saturday, I step back for a minute this week to examine Sonia Sotomayor’s historic dissent in Utah v. Streiff, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), a case which serves as an important microcosm for the ways in which racial injustice is viewed and addressed in our society. In this case, a police officer stopped someone walking down the street, who had been seen emerging from a house in which drug activity was suspected. The stop itself was without reasonable suspicion, and importantly, the State conceded that. The officer then ran a search and found an outstanding arrest warrant. With the warrant as justification, the officer searched the man, and found drugs. the Court faced the issue whether evidence obtained by police at an illegal stop could be used against the defendant if, after the stop, an outstanding arrest warrant was discovered. Generally, such evidence is inadmissible under the age-old “exclusionary rule” which provides that “fruit of the poisonous tree” – evidence obtained illegally – cannot be used against a person. Applying precedent, the court evaluated three factors. First, the amount of time elapsed between the unlawful search and the discovery of the evidence. Because here, the discovery was immediate, this factor weighed in favor of suppression. Second, “intervening circumstances.” Justice Thomas found that because the warrant was valid and predated the stop, and imposed an obligation to arrest upon the officer, the “arrest … was a ministerial act that was independently compelled by the pre-existing warrant.” Lastly, the Court considered the “purpose and flagrancy of the official misconduct”. Because the stop was concededly improper, this factor should have clearly weighed in favor of suppression. But Justice Thomas felt compelled to make excuses for the officer, observing his were “good-faith mistakes”. Most bafflingly, Thomas found there to be “no indication that this unlawful stop was part of any systemic or recurrent police misconduct.” (8). In sum, the absence of probable cause for the stop is not necessarily “flagrant” justifying exclusion and evidence obtained illegally can be admissible if it seems like the officer meant well. Sotomayor dissected and refuted each of these points. As Sotomayor pointed out (as did Kagan, in her also-excellent dissent), 16,000 out of the 21,000 residents of Ferguson, MO have outstanding warrants. Salt Lake City itself, where this case occurred, “had a ‘backlog of outstanding warrants’ so large that it faced the ‘potential for civil liability’”. In response to the-

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