Expert lawyer, Tayeb Hyderally spends a large amount of his time educating both employees and employers about the various aspects of discrimination in the workplace and how it can be avoided. Both groups need to be well informed about their rights and responsibilities to ensure that all individuals are allowed the opportunity to work in a workplace which is free from discriminatory practices. And employees as well as employers are responsible to ensure that it does not occur and if it does that it is reported properly and taken care of quickly. No matter how educated we become regarding these very important employment law issues, sadly it occurs in many establishments today. In our thinking sometimes there are certain classes of people, such as doctors and lawyers, who are “above” discrimination. This is not the case as we will see in this case concerning a doctor who was the object of age discrimination in the workplace.
Dr. Zane Hurkin VS Woodward Resource Center
Dr. Zane Hurkin of Clive, Iowa was hired at Woodward Resource Center which is a facility through which treatment and services for mentally disabled individuals are provided. Dr. Hurkin was only on the job for 8 days before he was unjustly fired. Jill Zwagerman, his attorney, stated that he had been asked questions that were age-related during the interviewing process and upon being hired he was inadequately trained. His pay was also several thousand dollars less than the pay grade that had been posted.
Dr. Hurkin alleged that he was subjected to discriminatory treatment as well as harassment regarding his age and was denied job responsibilities. He stated that he did not receive training for some aspects of his job. He also alleged that his hours and pay had been reduced and he was not paid on an equal level with his peers and then he was terminated.
Dr. Hurkin stated that he had been asked some age related questions when he was interviewed for the job and after he was hired he was harassed and discriminated against because he was 81 years old. The company first cut his pay and then his hours before they fired him after only 8 days on the job. He had been a practicing physician for about 55 years and following the termination, Dr. Hurkin suffered from depression and required medical treatment.
According to the official court documents, the pay scale normally allotted to the position Dr. Hurkin was hired for paid somewhere between $162,843 and $231,608 annually. However, the doctor was only being paid $105,000 per year. The lawsuit alleged that he had indeed been subject to discriminatory practices. The courts agreed and he was awarded $140,000 in lost wages. He also received another $200,000 for emotional distress, both past and future. According to the Iowa Attorney General’s office a representative of Woodward Resources Center stated that they did not know if the facility would pursue an appeal of the jury’s decision or not. Their spokesman, Geoff Greenwood said that they would review their options.
Sexual harassment in the workplace can quickly contribute to a hostile work environment. On top of this injustice, those who report such misbehavior are many times retaliated against in many ways. This is when it is time for employment law experts such as Ty Hyderally to step in and take action. Both of these actions, sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting are in violation of employment laws that are in place. When these types of injustices occur, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) steps in to litigate. In order to avoid such a big mess in the workplace, expert lawyers like Tayeb Hyderally work to inform businesses and workers of their rights and responsibilities as they pertain to employment law.
A jury just awarded $350,000 to three women who used to work at Endoscopic Microsurgery Associates which is a medical practice located in the Baltimore area. The women alleged that they were exposed to unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances by the company’s CEO. The EEOC’s suit states that Linda Lux, the company’s receptionist was repeatedly suffering unwanted sexual advancements which was creating a hostile environment in which she had to work. The company’s CEO, Dr. Mark Noar and its CFO, Martin Virga continually made sexually motivated advances toward Ms. Luz who kept on refusing the advancements. The practice then began to retaliate against her by disciplining her for nonexistent infractions in behavior and rescinding leave that had been approved before. Eventually these built up until she was terminated. Study coordinator Jacqueline Huskins and Nurse Kimberly Hutchinson both reported that they also suffered similar experiences and advances from both Virga and Noar.
The company and the EEOC could not reach a suitable settlement through the conciliation process. It went before a jury of 9 Baltimore residents who found unanimously that the ladies were entitled to compensatory damages in varying amounts from $4,000 to $110,000. Each of the women also received $110,000.
This is a very significant verdict as it sends a message to those in high positions. It lets them know that just because they work at a high level in a reputable company; it does not mean that they are exempt from employment laws. They must continue to treat other employees in a professional manner. Cases such as these help remind companies how important it is for sexual harassment policies to be in place in their company. Their employees should know how, where and to whom these types of behaviors must be reported. They must also realize that retaliatory actions for reporting an incident such as this will be penalized.
The EEOC is the government agency which has the responsibility of enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They work with lawyers such as Tayeb Hyderally to prepare companies for these types of situations. Employment law specialists such as Ty Hyderally can help companies develop policies which inform employees of their rights and responsibilities in dealing with sexual harassment and retaliatory actions for reporting in the workplace.
It is somewhat like adding insult to injury when a termination follows a sexual harassment complaint. These discriminatory actions are prohibited by employment law and businesses who do not comply by addressing a situation properly when sexual misconduct. It is the responsibility of the worker to report the sexual harassment or hostile work environment, and then it is the company’s responsibility to investigate and take appropriate measures to protect their workers. Company’s who do not adequately protect employees can be sued by employees who have been discriminated against. Sadly, some companies retaliate against the person reporting the misconduct. Employment lawyers such as Tayeb Hyderally educate businesses and their employees on employment law. When companies do not comply or fail to properly protect their employees, expert employment law attorneys like Ty Hyderally are prepared to successfully litigate.
A recent employment law case involving sexual harassment and retaliation occurred in Southeast Texas. A woman was working at Excel maintenance Services Inc. where she states that she was constantly subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile environment along with illegal retaliation. Ruby Thomas stated in her suit which was filed in a Galveston federal court, that she was the object of verbal and physical actions involving harassment while she was employed as a bagging operator at the facility.
Ms. Thomas alleged that the foreman requested sexual favors, touched her inappropriately and made many lewd comments. However, the company took no immediate action in order to correct, prevent or in any way address the alleged misconduct. She stated that she reported the abuse to her superiors in 2010 and she was immediately placed on a paid leave of absence so that an investigation could be conducted. Stated in her original petition is that the supervisor who was accused of the inappropriate sexual actions began to retaliate against her when she returned to work by assigning her to work in undesirable, remote or dangerous locations which also secluded her from her fellow employees.
On April 119, 2011 Ms. Thomas was terminated for an alleged accident while operating a forklift. Her suit claims that it is in retaliation and a “pretext for illegal discrimination.” The suit also states that other workers were in similar “accidents” and in violation of safety regulations but were not treated as severely. Ms. Thomas states that she had maintained a spotless work record before her termination and she is seeking for monetary damages as well as a jury trial.
Ty Hyderally and other employment law attorneys will be waiting to see the outcome of this case which involves two alleged infractions of employment law. It is important that employees retain their right to report a hostile work environment, sexual harassment or other abuse in the workplace without fearing retaliation from those who are responsible for protecting these rights and maintaining a safe workplace for all workers. If the allegations are accurate the company will likely be penalized and pay damages to Ms. Thomas. Employers should be held responsible for the actions of employees and take immediate action to investigate in the event abuse is reported.
According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, a qualified person applying for a job cannot be denied employment based solely on their age. Tayeb Hyderally is an expert in employment law NJ who diligently represents cases where employment laws have been violated. He is also dedicated to help employees and employers become aware of various applicable employment laws. Ty Hyderally speaks to different types of groups to help inform individuals of their rights and responsibilities regarding employment laws. Texas Roadhouse is currently involved in a case where there has allegedly been repeated age discrimination in their hiring policies.
Because of increased claims citing age discrimination the EEOC filed a suit against Texas Roadhouse. The restaurant chain is accused of discriminating against job applicants because of their age. The EEOC stated in a press release that there had been a significant increase in complaints since 2007. Upon investigating the allegations, the EEOC pursued the lawsuit.
According to the suit filed the company officials told hiring personnel that younger people were preferred for open positions. Older applicants were told that they seemed old to be applying for a job in the restaurant; and many were told that the hiring officials were looking for people “on the younger side.”
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal statute which protects employees who are 40 years old or above from discriminatory practices based solely on their age. According to the ADEA guidelines, it is prohibited to favor a person who is younger over an older person (40 years old or older) based only on their age. These regulations include hiring, promotions, job duties, assignments, layoff, benefits and firing. It also prohibits any type of harassment based on the age of the employee, specifically for individuals who are 40 years of age or older. This is built to include offensive statements or comments about the individual’s age. However, this type of conduct has to be a part of the work place becoming a “hostile work environment” before the law applies. It can be applied to any supervisor or a co-worker. If a client or customer makes derogatory remarks the company can be held liable, if the employer does not at least attempt to make reasonable effort to prevent the harassment. The law also states that policies cannot be put in place that have a negative impact on workers aged 40 or above.
Many applicants believe they have been denied employment at Texas Roadhouse based solely on their age. These instances are also cited at various locations of the restaurant chain, and are not isolated to only a single location. The EEOC tried to reach a pre-litigation settlement according to its conciliation process. The intent is to obtain monetary amounts for those applicants who were not hired based on their age. The second part of the EEOC’s case is to help the restaurant change its hiring policies and training so that age discrimination does not occur in future hiring practices.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) requires that businesses make no distinction among employee’s pay based on their ages. They cannot be paid less due to their age as long as they are performing their jobs effectively; they must be paid the same as younger counterparts. Ty Hyderally is an expert in employment law who works diligently to inform employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities concerning employment law NJ, including ADEA guidelines. Individuals can file against corporations, as can groups. However, just because the complaint arises from an affected group, is no guarantee that the courts will act on their behalf; or agree that a disparity has taken place. This is the case with Smith v. City of Jackson, Miss.
A group of police department employees which included Azel Smith sued the city of Jackson, Mississippi and their police department. The city’s police department in an attempt to make their pay scale competitive with surrounding departments gave officers raises. Officers who worked for the department for less than 5 years were given larger pay raises than employees who had over 5 years of tenure. Since many of those with more than 5 years of tenure were over the age of 40, the group sued the city alleging that the salary changes was in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The Fifth Circuit dismissed the claim because they said it was not a violation of ADEA. Upon appeal the Supreme Court upheld this dismissal. One reason for this dismissal was the particular wording of the language used in the ADEA. Another cause for the dismissal of their claim was the history of legislative rulings and statutes. The court recognized that these types of disparate impact claims can indeed be classified under the ADEA, however, the group (Smith) failed to be able to prove their claim.
The group of officers could not isolate a specific practice carried out by the department that would prove the disparities according to statistical analysis. The officers stated that the pay plan that was put in place was not as generous to older officers and therefore had an impact on the age group. The group failed to prove that the raises were made on solely on the basis of age. The city was trying to ensure that the police department offered salaries that were competitive with other communities in the area. Since the pay scale was not based at all on an employee’s age there was no act of discrimination to be found.
To prove a case of age discrimination it is very important to be able to statistically show that the disparities occurred solely based on age. The group of officers could not do this in this case and the dismissal was upheld.
This post was written by: Francine Foner, Esq.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), is intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of several protected categories, including age. owever, the LAD contains an exception which permits employers to discriminate against individuals over 70. The “over 70 exception” to the LAD provides that, “nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar an employer from refusing to accept for employment or to promote any person over 70 years of age….”
But should this exception permit employers to refuse to renew the contracts of employees based upon their being over 70? Not according to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent holding in Nini v. Mercer County Community College (2010).
Rose Nini worked for Mercer Community College continuously for twenty-six years under a series of contracts. Her last contract was not renewed and she sued the school for age discrimination. The school countered that since Nini was over 70 she was not covered by the LAD because of its “over 70 exception.” Nini lost in the lower courts, but prevailed in the New Jersey Supreme Court. The Nini majority found that the “over 70 exception” applies to initial hiring decisions, but not to contract renewals. The Nini Court reasoned that a contract renewal amounts to the same thing as a termination, and termination based upon age is prohibited by the LAD’s broad remedial purpose and strong public policy of eradicating discrimination in the workplace.
The Supreme Court also observed that it would create a loophole in the LAD’s protections by permitting employers who want to terminate their aging employees to simply put them under contract and then not renew the contract. The Nini Court further noted that it would also have the absurd result of giving greater protections to “at will” employees (i.e., those without contracts) than to contract employees.
One caveat to the Supreme Court’s holding might be the extent of the employee’s pre-existing relationship with the employer. Nini had a long-term and successful pre-existing relationship with the college, which was a significant factor in the Supreme Court’s finding in her favor. What about the over-70 employee whose relationship is only a year or less? The Nini Court failed to address whether or not the pre-existing relationship must be of any specific length or scope. Thus, chances are that employers will try to distinguish cases in which the employee has a short pre-existing relationship from the type of lengthy career that Nini had at the college. Thus, it remains to be seen whether this will be a hard and fast rule, or may be modified down the road.
Discrimination in the workplace is not a new issue. It has been an issue for many years. Ty Hyderally has many years of successful litigation in cases dealing with employment law. Ty Hyderally is considered an expert on employment law in New York and the surrounding areas. Cases like Griggs v Duke Power Co. help to set the precedent in cases that are still being heard by the courts today.
Griggs v. Duke Power Company was one of the fist causes of its type. It was presented before the US Supreme Court in December of 1970 and was decided in March of the next year. The major concern was employment discrimination as well as the disparate impact theory. The court found that the company had requirements in place for applicants that were not pertinent to be able to properly perform the job as required. Thus, it was indirectly discriminating against African American employees, although that was not the company’s original intention.
The Duke Power’s Dan River plant’s policy in 1950 was that African Americans could only work in its labor department. These were the lowest paying jobs that the company had available. Later, in 1955, the company also stipulated that higher paying jobs must be filled with personnel who had obtained a high school diploma.
When the Civil Rights Act was passed Duke Power Plant removed racial restrictions concerning employment but the high school diploma policy remained. They also added that an IQ test was required for employment. Because African American applicants were not likely to have obtained a high school diploma, and scored lower average scores on IQ tests, they were selected for employment for these positions fewer times than white applicants.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was that businesses must show that such requirements must be directly, or at least reasonably, related to the job for which testing is required. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits the use of testing as a decisive factor for employment, if it is not a “reasonable measure of job performance.” This is regarded as the rule whether or not discrimination towards any group was intentional or not. Duke Power’s procedure for transferring employees was found to be a violation of the Civil Rights Act, since the requirements of a high school diploma and aptitude tests were not directly related to the performance levels required by the position. Griggs v Duke Power Company held that an employer has the burden of proving the necessity of the testing before being able to require it as a basis of employment.