Employment Law Blog

After a two-year hiring blitz in response to a significant increase in mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and SPACs, Wall Street is reversing course. Over the last several months, many of the nation’s leading financial institutions have returned to their practice of annual layoffs or announced their plans to do so.

Workplace relationships and interactions come in many forms. So do acts of workplace discrimination and harassment. Often, prohibited or wrongful conduct occurs outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship or between colleagues. In the “gig economy,” independent contractors can and do face the same degrading, humiliating, and potentially illegal misconduct as employees. Similarly, individuals can be victimized by others during their careers, such as a performer sexually harassed by a casting director or a rideshare driver subject to repeated racial slurs by customers.

Accountability at the top for those who fail to call out and investigate sexual misconduct in the workplace is as critical to addressing this pervasive problem as consequences for the actual perpetrator. Under a recent decision in a case involving McDonald's, accountability for corporate officers can include significant personal liability when they turn a blind eye to sexual misconduct or a toxic work environment.

Following the lead of New York City and other states like California and Washington, New York State recently passed a law requiring employers with four or more employees to publish the minimum and maximum pay range for any advertised position. Effective on September 17, 2023, the amendment to the state's labor law advances the goal of pay equity by providing applicants and current employees with greater information about the salary ranges of similarly situated colleagues. As Gov. Kathy Hochul said when signing the bill, "This historic measure will usher in a new era of fairness and transparency for New York's workforce and will be a critical tool in our efforts to end pervasive pay gaps for women and people of color."

Federal and state governments will spend tens of billions of dollars on major construction projects over the next decade, as part of a nationwide initiative to repair aging and ailing public infrastructure. Construction industry workers are on the front lines of these projects, and may have workplace safety concerns, or may have spotted instances of fraud, waste, or abuse. State and federal laws protect whistleblowers in the construction industry who raise these concerns, and some laws provide rewards for workers who report fraud on these major public projects.

It is a scene we have all watched in movies and television: an unwanted kiss, uncomfortable advances, a forceful grope or, often, something much worse. Today’s social climate recognizes that these frequent workplace behaviors are inappropriate, unacceptable, and illegal. But for years, this type of conduct was excused and ignored, implicitly condoned, as “boys being boys” and “that’s just how it was back then.”  

Fortunately, New Yorkers benefit from some of the most progressive laws combatting the sexual assault of employees. The New York Adult Survivors Act is one such example.