Catching up on 2018 – and What’s to Come!

2018 Sparklers This morning, I took a moment to pause and reflect on my life as it stands.  When I think about what’s most important, of course, I think of my family first (Zohra is six now!  and Sadia is three!).  But loving them, and providing for them, comes pretty easily.  Naturally, they are irascible at times, but by and large they are kindhearted, curious, creative, and boundlessly energetic.  “Children strive lifeward”, as Dr. Ned Hallowell – my favorite author on children – likes to say. But anyway, I digress. The harder part about parenting is the responsibility I feel to show them what it means to make the most of my potential and to make the difference I want to see in the world.  It’s been almost three years since I created my law firm dedicated to fighting gender and pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and fighting for the rights of NYC tenants.  Am I proud?  Eff yeah.  We have done incredible work; we’ve helped dozens and dozens of people get to a better place in their lives, and we’re only getting started. My favorite part about thinking about my law firm is the security I feel in the knowledge that every single person on my team has a genuine desire, first and foremost, to help our clients.  As employment and L&T litigators, we face difficult situations every day.  Worse, we are all a bunch of quick-witted hotheads with strong opinions about virtually everything, and we all like to argue.  But I never doubt, for even a second, that each person on my team has our clients’ best interests in mind.  – Read More “Catching up on 2018 – and What’s to Come!”

Pregnancy Discrimination Around the World: Mandatory Pregnancy Tests??

medical test Just last month, a City College in the Phillippines issued a policy requiring all female dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy students to undergo pregnancy tests.  If the test comes back positive, the student may be prohibited from certain classes.  In the memo announcing the policy, the school requested that the deans from each school provide a list of female students, and noted the cost of the test would be added to those students’ fees. The  Gabriela Women’s Party released a powerful statement condemning the policy as discriminatory. The school, of course, defended its policy by saying it was designed to protect the students.  Nobody wants to endanger unborn children.  So what’s the harm? Remember that Women are Human Beings My own nifty #lifehack for evaluating whether a policy is discriminatory is to remember that women are human beings.  Pretend for just a moment that pregnant women aren’t just vessels or incubators.  Remember for a moment that over 90% of women are sexually active, and that only misogynists think women should be punished for sex.  Make a wild guesstimate as to how many surprise pregnancies during college are wanted. A woman who has a wanted pregnancy has every right to protect her pregnancy and to make informed choices about the timing of her courseload.  If we remember that women are people, we can assume that a pregnant woman is logically concerned about the health of her unborn child and will take all appropriate measures to protect it.  We don’t need paternalistic laws mandating this behavior as though the pregnant woman were a petulant child in need of guidance and structure from the wise government bureaucrats. – Read More “Pregnancy Discrimination Around the World: Mandatory Pregnancy Tests??”

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”

5 Red Flags for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Pregnant businesswoman working in office 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. – Read More “5 Red Flags for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace”