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Employer Fires Employee for Attending Political Protest

A Berkeley, California restaurant terminates an employee for his political beliefs after learning he attended a political protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Employee’s free speech are not always protected. Employers can fire employees at will.  There is little to no protection for those who attend these rallies and have no other protected class.

Is participating in a political protest protected activity?  IF the protest is a bout a protected class – for both sides.   The protests could be considered defensible under Title VII simply because it has to do with a protected characteristic  A few local governments maintain protections for employees’ political affiliations, including in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Wisconsin. But political views are not a protected class under federal Title VII civil rights protections, unlike factors such as race, sex or religion.

More firings could follow, as a Twitter page “Yes You’re Racist” has attempted to name and shame the white nationalists who attended the rally Friday night and Saturday.

This public shaming of those involved in the protest comes shortly after a Google engineer was terminated by the tech giant for a controversial memo that, among other things, decried the company’s diversity efforts and said women were not biologically suited for the technology industry.

Employers trying to decide how to cope with a white supremacist or someone holding other discriminatory views have to consider their jurisdiction and the nature of the employee’s speech and affiliation.

Government employees do have a right to free speech, but are limited in terms of what they can say in the workplace. Workers at private employers have less leeway under the law to say whatever they please.

 

Employees should think twice before attending these type of violent protests on both sides of the issues because it could lead to termination if the employer finds out.

Google Fires Engineer for Giving Opinion on Gender

Google terminates engineer after internal leak of his objective opinion on gender in the google workplace.

Google Director responds to employee’s opinion about gender at google.

Know your Workplace Rights

If you have questions about employment law contact an attorney at Berlingieri Law, PLLC today.

New York City Employers Cannot Ask Job-Seekers About Salary History

NYC Employers, Beware of What You Ask Your Applicants and Employees: NYC’s Salary History Inquiry Ban

On May 4, 2017, Mayor de Blasio signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, which makes it an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for an employer to inquire about or investigate an applicant’s salary history. New York City joins Massachusetts and Philadelphia with similar bans.

Specifically, the law prohibits employers from:

  •  Asking an applicant about his/her salary history, benefits or other compensation;
  • conducting any search through publicly available databases for information about an applicant’s salary history and
  • considering an applicant’s salary history in determining the compensation package to offer the applicant, unless the applicant “voluntarily” and “without prompting” discloses his/her salary history.

 

 

The law allows employers to ask the applicant about his/her salary expectations, including whether any unvested equity or deferred compensation would be forfeited if the applicant left his/her current employment.

The law goes into effect October 31, 2017. The New York Commission on Human Rights is the agency charged with enforcement and the penalties for violating the law are steep. The Commission may impose a civil penalty up to $125,000 for an unintentional violation, and up to $250,000 for a “willful, wanton or malicious act.”  An individual may also file a lawsuit and recover backpay, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

Employers should update their applications to eliminate the question about salary history and inform everyone involved in the hiring process (including external recruiters) about the laws mandates.

 

FBI Director Fired After Several Critical Mistakes

At -will employment – political appointees do not have real job security. Top FBI employee fired for “poor performance” says the White House.  President Trump Condones FBI Director’s Termination.  On May 9, 2017 Attorney Jeff Sessions terminated embattled FBI Director James Comey.  The decision to terminate Comey, an Obama appointee, came after months of debate whether to terminate Comey for his handling of the Wikileaks and Hilary Clinton email scandal and there is an inspector general investigation amidst his 206 conduct.  President Trump sent Comey a letter while Comey was on a trip in California.   The Hilary Clinton email scandal investigation and his press conferences before the election could be perceived as poor performance and grounds for the administration’s termination.  FBI directors have been terminated before – including Bill Clinton’s termination in 1993, of William Sessions after the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility said the FBI director had engaged in unethical practices, and after Sessions refused to resign, and Richard Nixon’s termination of special prosecutor of Archibald Cox in 1973 on the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, where Nixon’s attorney general, Elliot Richardson, and deputy attorney general, William Ruckelshaus, both cowardly resigned when Nixon asked them to fire Cox.

Many top Democratic leaders including Hilary Clinton have called for Comey’s resignation, yet now decry the administration’s handling of the termination.

Senator Chuck Schumer said at an impromptu press conference to proffer a pretext and/or theory that Comey’s termination was uncalled for and suggested a cover up because of Comey’s lead of an investigation.

Former Trump Campaign communication director Jason Miller said to CNN “Comey should have been fired by the Obama administration in 2016” and that “no one says Comey needed to stay where he was.”

Sexual Harassment Claims End Bill O’Reilly’s Career at Fox News

Multiple women over more than 2 decades have accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment at work.  The host of the O’Reilly factor – the hit Fox News prime-time show – has paid millions of dollars in settlement funds to women and has confidentiality agreements to keep the women from sharing their stories.

Ultimately, scandal after scandal Fox News had enough and decided to terminate Bill O’Reilly despite recently renewing his contract for 20 million dollars per year and being the network’s top talent.  O’Reilly stands to get a year’s worth of pay for his departure.

The Rupert Murdoch and sons – (Fox News owners) are veering the network in a new direction after parting ways with long time head Roger Ailes and and  O’Reilly amidst other sexual harassment allegations.

The  sudden departures of long time employees like O’Reilly and Ailes stem from a workplace apparently rampant with sexual harassment.

Fox News wanted to distance themselves from any liability and has severed ties with their star of over 20 years.

Gender equality and sexual harassment are issues that all people should pay attention to at the workplace.

A source close to the scandal said that “O’Reilly would have been fired years ago if it was someone else.”

Sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation based upon reporting sexual harassment are illegal under state and federal law. If sexual harassment is occurring to you or someone you know report it and contact an employment attorney to help you better deal with the situation.  Workplace inequality and  asexually charged work atmosphere are unacceptable and should not be tolerated in 2017.

 

United Airlines Makes Room for Employees and Drags Doctor off Plane

Passenger brutally dragged off United flight from Chicago, IL, to Louisville, KY, to make room for employees.

Despite the harsh nature of the passenger’s treatment United acted legally and within the law, the controversy here is on the airlines response and justification of its actions.  Public outcry and support for the airline has been widespread.

The main question is should employees take precedent ofver customers.  Perhaps in some circumstances where here it was apparent that if one of its employees could not operate another flight in the near future the great harm would be to the business, not one customer.  Here, the airline’s response initially and after the incident was shocking and outrageous.  The passenger was “belligerent” says Oscar Munoz, United CEO, in a letter to employees shortly after the April 10, 2017

United’s CEO Oscar Munoz justifying the heartless reaction – said that “we need to get facts and circumstances” and that  “our initial responsefell short of expressing how were feeling”.

According to Gov. Chris Christie -United Airlines runs 80% of flight traffic out of Newark International Airport.  United Airlines seeks to put employees in front of other customers at almost any expense.   Later footage shows the Doctor saying that he wants to go home and to “just kill me” — thats how many feel with United in control of most flights at Newark International airport.

Passengers say United  initially offered $US400 and then $US800 in vouchers and a hotel stay for volunteers to give up their seats – yet no one budged.

 

This is what ensued.

Judge Neil Gorsuch sworn in as newest Justice of the SCOTUS

Justice Gorsuch brings balance to the Supreme Court and restores it to 9 justices.  Justice Neil Gorsuch sworn in on April 10, 2017 to the SCOTUS.

President Trump’s biggest accomplishment of his first one hundred days is by far having his pick for the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals approved and sworn in.  Gorsuch fills a vacancy left open by the sudden passing of the late conservative justice, the great Antonin Scalia.  Gorsuch looks to adjudicate several high-profile cases on a docket that is sure to be full of interesting cases that affect millions of Americans.

Gorsuch, 49, is the youngest Justice on the court and looks on the bench for decades to come.

 

Speculation now swirls about the possibility of another Trump appointment to the Supreme Court.  Justice Kennedy (above) is 80 and may step aside during the current administration.  There is always the possibility of other Justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg seat becoming vacant in the near future.  Constitutional conservatives and Americans of all walks of of political life will now await and see what Judge Gorsuch’s putative Supreme Court jurisprudence will be like.    How will he rule on important issues facing Americans, in employment, health care, regulations, environmental protections, religious liberties, gun-control, abortion, individual privacy rights and net neutrality to name a few.   We can only wait and see what happens under the new SCOTUS.

Alex Acosta to lead U.S. Department of Labor

  President  Trump picks Alex Acosta for labor department.

After President Tump’s first DOL pick Andrew Pudzer withdrew his nomination – the GOP President nominated current FIU Law School Dean – Alex Acosta on February 16, 2017.  Acosta will be the new Secretary for the Department of Labor, for the Trump Administration – pending his senate confirmation hearings which he is expected to be confirmed by the GOP majorities in the house and senate. 

Acosta is the son of Cuban exiles who emigrated to the U.S. after the Communist Revolution in Cuba.

Acosta will be Trump’s first Hispanic pick for a Cabinet level secretary.

Acosta was appointed to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board)  during his time as a US attorney under President George W. Bush in 2008

Prior to his work with the NLRB he worked as a Civil Rights Attorney for the Justice Department during the George W. Bush’s  administration as an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division from 2003 to 2005.

The United States Department of Labor – Are  changes coming to US Labor Policy under new conservative leadership?

A conservative to lead the United States Department of Labor – will the Labor policies reflect that?

Are regulations going to be slashed as promised?

What will replace the old regulations ? If any thing at all?

For every one new regulation introduced, two old regulations must be eliminated, says the Trump Administration.  Are these policies beneficial to the American people?

If Acosta can bring common sense reform and allow businesses to grow and treat employees with a baseline of respect and follow and enforce existing laws while slashing costly, burdensome, unnecessary and ineffective regulations Acosta may be able to lead reform at the DOL; setting an example for states and local jurisdictions alike to reform labor laws where it makes sense to do so.

Senator Marco Rubio Approves Alex Acosta’s Nomination.

“I know Alex Acosta well, and he is a phenomenal choice to lead the Department of Labor,” Rubio said. “Whether it was his distinguished service as U.S. attorney in Florida’s Southern District or as dean of Florida International University’s school of law, Alex has succeeded in all endeavors he has taken on, and managing the Department of Labor will be no different. I look forward to his confirmation hearing, where I’m confident he will impress my colleagues and secure the support necessary to be the next secretary of labor.”

 Acosta has received many awaards for his work -Acosta has twice been named one of the nation’s 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine.

What Should Be in Your Pay Stub New York? Wage Statements New York Labor Law 195-3.

Wage Statements NYLL 195-3. Deductions, Rate of Pay, Hours Worked, Overtime Rate – these are all things that employees should know about how the y should be paid.  New York Employers Must Comply with New York Labor Law 195-3. Sometimes employees pay employees in cash – leading to difficulties understanding how they are paid.  Tipped workers and some hourly workers see that their pay stub is “off” or there is a problem.  Most employees may not realize that they might not be getting paid the right way.  Often employees see that their pay stub does not reflect what they feel they are owed.

Employees should complain to their employers and notify them that they think there is a problem with their pay stub or ask your employer to provide you with a pay stub. Do not fear your employer – its OK to complain about your pay stub. Retaliation is unlawful – if you complain about your pay stub face adverse employment action from your employer.

Take a look at this sample pay stub on the NYS Dept. of Labor’s website:

If Your Pay Stub Not Look Like This in New York, Contact an Employment Lawyer today!