It is very important for every employee and employer to be fully aware of the various aspects of employment law. Tayeb Hyderally is an expert NJ employment lawyer who has made it his business for several years to educate both about the importance of keeping the workplace free from discriminatory or retaliatory practices. Many would like to think that these types of things do not occur in our world, and that somehow we have grown past them; however, that sadly is not true. It takes the expertise of lawyers like Ty Hyderally to sort it all out for us and keep us informed in the vast world of employment law.
The Sandusky trial is over and he has been found guilty of 46 separate counts. But the legal battles are still continuing inside the courtroom for Mike McQueary. However, Mike McQueary is the assistant football coach whose testimony of seeing Mr. Sandusky engaged in inappropriate actions with a young boy in the Penn State locker room has filed a suit with his attorney stated he has an employment dispute. He filed the suit in the courts as a whistleblower case. McQueary alleges that once he blew the whistle on Jerry Sandusky by reporting the infractions he witnessed, that he subsequently was fired from his position. Of course, Penn State’s response is that they had other reasons behind his termination stating he did not complete the job-related tasks that were assigned to him. This is turning out to be a standard whistleblower case.
A whistleblower is someone who witnesses and reports a wrongdoing at the workplace. It can be someone who did not follow policy, or any sort of infraction that is reported. Whistleblowers are protected from retaliatory actions by their superiors. This does not always have to be termination; it can be a reduction in pay, being moved to another less appropriate department, a reduction of job responsibilities or seclusion of any kind. Instead of praising an employee for pointing out an area that needs attention and change they retaliate against the employee. However the biggest challenge for his McQueary’s lawyer will be to prove that he was retaliated against because of some form of lawful or legally protected conduct.
McQueary may not be able to file the case under the federal whistleblower protection law since he was not considered a federal employee. But he will most likely pursue it under the whistleblower protection laws enacted in the state of Pennsylvania. There is a set time frame for being able to file this type of suit against a former employer and he was close to this deadline when he filed his official suit against Penn State. Now that he has filed within the given time frame he will more than likely be asked for a “Rule to Show Cause” within 20 days.
Whistleblower cases have increased over the last few years and many states have revamped and strengthened the laws pertaining to whistleblower protection. It is certain that the eyes and ears of the nation will be tuned in to see how this employment law case turns out in the end.
Various types of employment laws are in place to protect employees from the many different forms of discrimination that can occur in the workplace. Ty Hyderally chose the field of NJ employment law with the intent of protecting both the worker and the employee. He frequently speaks at various meetings and worksites to educate employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities concerning employment law. Sometimes actions are misinterpreted and what seemed like retaliatory actions were not actually improper conduct. It can be a fine line in many cases which divides an action from one which was committed in retaliation. Such is the case with Harkness v C-Bass Diamond LLC, in which it was decided that the actions taken toward a former general counsel were not meant to me retaliatory in any way.
Harkness worked at Fieldstone Investment Corporation which was a company in the process of making an IPO although they had not yet registered with the SEC. Harkness learned that one of the company’s CEOs Michael J. Sonnenfeld had shared information that was considered non-public to a possible outside investor. She conducted appropriate interviews and then reported the incident to the audit committee chairman as she felt this could be in direct violation of Regulation FD.
Soon after these transactions occurred Sonnenfeld and Harkness’ relationship began to deteriorate. Harkness alleged that Sonnenfeld became critical of her legal advices and treated her in a hostile manner. The company also began to exclude her from various management actions and meetings and before they terminated her employment they significantly reduced her job-related responsibilities.
The presiding judge found initially that her reports of violations of Regulation FD were not supported reasonably by conduct which would be deemed in violation to the relevant law. This was because at the time of the alleged infraction, Fieldstone was not yet a public company. Ms. Harkness did not investigate nor research if Regulation FD was applicable at the time or not before proceeding to the audit committee chairman. She, as general counsel, had the appropriate resources available so that she could have clarified the threshold question but she did not choose to utilize these tools according to the judge.
She argued that she could not verify whether or not the company was in compliance with all the legalities since she had been excluded from the management meetings and related events. However the courts did not see this as a “protected” conduct. The judge did agree with Harkness that the company is at a greater risk of overlooking its legal obligations when it tries to restrict the flow of any pertinent information to the general counsel; and that in these situations the risk is great that some legal obligation will fail to be taken care of properly. However, Judge Blake also concluded that this in itself was in no way a violation of any of the federal securities law. Since Harkness could not cite any specific type of illegal conduct the claims she made failed. It is important to be familiar with such cases and what types of actions constitute discrimination or retaliation. Ty Hyderally is an expert lawyer who can help businesses and professionals make these kinds of determinations.
Employment Law cases
As an employment law expert Tayeb Hyderally many times handles cases in which there are different kinds of discriminatory practices occurring. He chose to practice NJ employment law because there are many interesting facets to each case. As an expert lawyer in employment law NY, he frequently shares with companies, organizations and individuals about their rights and responsibilities. In the case against the New York based fish business, M. Slavin & Sons there were several discriminatory actions alleged. In this case alone there was reported racial and sexual discrimination as well as retaliation to an employee who reported the alleged abuse.
The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The claim was that M. Slavin was in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a person based on the individual’s race or sex, along with other categories. This law is also instrumental in protecting a person from retaliation when they try to defend their rights. This makes it possible for employees to file claims against their employers when a hostile work environment has been created through discriminatory actions.
Employees at M. Slavin alleged that there had been several instances of harassment. Over 30 employees stated several instances of discrimination and harassment. Some said that they were subjected to verbal and physical sexual harassment; others said that non-Caucasian male employees (mostly African-American) were continually harassed by various actions such as offensive and unsolicited sexual comments, groping and racial slurs. The first individual who reported the alleged discriminatory actions also reported that he was subjected to acts of retaliation from managers at M. Slavin. His claim was that his immediate supervisors instructed employees to disassociate with him and also made threats on his life.
In December of 2011 the EEOC and M. Slavin reached a settlement in which the company agreed to pay $900,000. But there were other requirements that went along with the settlement proceedings. For instance, M. Slavin also had to revise all of its policies regarding all three areas: sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. They also had to submit to being closely monitored by the EEOC for 5 years. An independent consultant was retained so that any further complaints about discrimination could be handled appropriately and the company had to provide training for those individuals who committed the acts of harassment. And they had to continue training for all managerial staff as well as notify the EEOC if there were any new complaints about discrimination.
In this instance there were several infractions of employment law. The company is taking appropriate steps to ensure that this type of hostile environment does not occur again in the future. Cases such as these can become very complicated and it takes an expert at employment law NY such as Ty Hyderally to be able to represent employees and litigate for their rights. The company’s action to retain an employment law specialist on site will help prevent any further infractions of these laws which are meant to protect employees from such abuses in the workplace.
Racial discrimination is never satisfactory behavior on any scale, but especially on the job. This is only one area of NJ employment law that Ty Hyderally deals with on a regular basis. He chose the vast field of employment law partly because he was intrigued by the many facets. He has worked for many years to ensure that employers and employees are aware of both their rights and responsibilities as they pertain to employment law NY. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed suit on the company Pepsi Beverages due to an alleged infraction that occurred in some of the ways their employment policies were carried out.
As part of their hiring procedures, Pepsi required a background check. Applicants who had previously been arrested but their prosecution was pending were disqualified for permanent employment even though they had not been convicted of any type of crime or offense. This policy adversely affected over 300 African American applicants. Policies created by Pepsi also denied the opportunity of employment to many who had been convicted or even arrested of some types of minor offenses. But under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if this is not relevant to the position it can be illegal. It is considered illegal because it can reduce the employability of some applicants based on race or ethnicity.
Perhaps the intent of the policy was not to violate any employment laws with regard to discrimination but inadvertently many African Americans were denied employment unfairly. While the EEOC was conducting their investigation, Pepsi rewrote and adopted new guidelines pertaining to criminal background checks. The bottling company will begin to offer employment to those who were victims of their previous policies; as long as they do qualify for the positions and jobs for which they had applied. The company will also follow up in this case by submitting regular reports to the EEOC regarding their practices in hiring. And the company will make sure that all managers attend Title VII training and in-service.
The case that EEOC filed against Pepsi did not have to go all the way to trial. Pepsi Beverages was able to reach a settlement agreement with the EEOC. Not only will they make the stated modification to their hiring procedures and training process, they will also pay $3.13 million. The position that Pepsi’s hiring procedures got them into is an example of how a policy can inadvertently affect certain classes of people. Policies that are not intended to be discriminatory can still be in violation of some of the anti-discrimination laws. This type of disparate impact can end up with the company liable for discriminatory actions even though the intent was not there. It serves as a reminder to businesses and companies to reexamine policies and procedures to ensure that they are not discriminatory in any fashion directly or indirectly. Companies can rely on expert lawyers such as Tayeb Hyderally to help ensure policies are correctly written and carried out to avoid cases such as these.
Tayeb Hyderally chose to work in the field of employment law because of the wide variety of situations. As an expert lawyer he has seen just about everything, but it is cases like Ash vs. Tyson Foods that raises eyebrows. Employment law NY is a vast field and encompasses lots of different scenarios. The intent of various employment laws is of course to protect from any type of discrimination in the workplace. Ty Hyderallyhas spent a large part of his professional career in advising both employee and employer of their rights and responsibilities pertaining to employment law.
US Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit
The case with Tyson Foods is interesting because of the final result. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the decision that it made when the case was originally tried. This is very rare – and almost unheard of. John Hithon and Anthony Ash both alleged racial discrimination on the basis that they were dismissed for a promotion in favor of other white workers. They also alleged that it had become a hostile work environment because one of the managers repeatedly called employees who were adult black males, “boy.” The suit was filed based on the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case made it all the way to trial jury where the plaintiffs were awarded more than $1.4 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
Naturally, the Tyson Foods appealed the case and it moved on to the 3 judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit. They upheld part of the case but totally determined that the use of the word “boy” was not discriminatory. Ash dropped his portion of the case at this time but Hithon continued to pursue. In 2010 the Eleventh Circuit deemed that the use of the word, “boy” was purely conversational and not racial in its contextual use. However, there was some evidence that was being overlooked.
A brief was filed with the Eleventh Circuit by U.W. Clemon who was Alabama’s first black federal judge, since retired. He along with 10 other civil rights leaders from Alabama filed the brief asking the court to reconsider the ruling. The civil rights leaders gave explanation to the use of the term “boy” as it is customarily applied in the South. It is a derogatory statement in most southern states which is a carryover from slave days and is a racial slur based on the culture of the area. The court reversed its decision and awarded Mr. Hithon $365,000 but did not grant the one million dollar award for punitive damages. This was because they did not feel the supervisor was in a high enough corporate position for it to be attributed to the company who has a strong policy against workplace discrimination.
The reversal of this type of decision is a rare occurrence. Situations such as these are why it is important to know your individual rights and responsibilities under employment law. Ty Hyderally is an expert in NJ employment law and frequently is asked to provide counsel and advice on matters of discrimination in the workplace.
The law is becoming clearer on what exactly constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. Legal experts such as Ty Hyderally have been successfully litigating cases which set new precedents in the legal world. This class action suit which was filed against the Mitsubishi Corporation is an example of successful litigation. This is a case wherein sexual harassment in the workplace got totally out of hand and became a sexually hostile environment.
A class action law suit was filed against Mitsubishi Motors Corp by the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission on April 9, 1996. The suit contained over 300 claims by women who worked at the Normal, Illinois Mitsubishi plant. Their claims were that they had been subjected to repeated sexual harassment in the workplace which began as early as 1988. The EEOC alleged that managers had been involved in passing around pornographic photographs of male workers displaying sexual acts, male workers who had exposed themselves, obscene graffiti and assaults (both physical and verbal) against women who worked at the plant. The second part of the class action suit stated that the management and Employee Relations Department failed to respond adequately. Many times there was no response at all to the complaints filed by women who had filed regarding the harassment. EEOC pursued the case to stop the harassment and also to obtain some compensation for the women who had been harassed.
Mitsubishi tried to argue that there were time constraints on some of the older cases and therefore they were not eligible to be included in the class action law suit. However, the court rejected the argument stating that there is not a statute of limitations and that EEOC did not unduly delay their actions.
On June 10, 1998, the EEOC and Mitsubishi reached a settlement. Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million in compensation to the workers who had been affected. The company also agreed that they would revamp their sexual harassment policies and adapt a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual harassment. This meant that they would revise the company’s existent policies and commit to setting up a proper complaint procedure as well as sexual harassment training for its employees. Mitsubishi would also be under review by an independent panel which would monitor the progress at the Normal, Illinois plant. Mitsubishi did become vigilant in their stand against sexual harassment in the workplace and hired Lynn Martin, former Secretary of Labor to help overhaul the system. They now boast a zero tolerance policy.
Sexual harassment is unfortunately part of the day to day life of many workers around the country and makes going to work difficult for many, fortunately there are employment law attorneys such as Tayeb Hyderally who are there to fight vigorously for the rights of all employees.
Cases all across the nation can set precedents for rulings in other states. New Jersey employment law is affected by cases such as this one which was heard in the state of Kansas. It is interesting cases like this one that has kept Tayeb Hyderally involved in employment law as it pertains to sexual harassment. What makes this case so interesting is that it involves a sexual harassment case in a church setting. Before the case could be heard by the courts it first had to be deemed that it would not in any way violate the separation of church and state. In this case, it did not as the alleged sexual harassment was job related yet the secular ruling had no bearing on the religious standings of the church. The court also found that Title VII could be applied to the work setting without entangling the government in religion.
Sue Ann Dolquist was ordained in the Presbyterian Church and served as pastor. She alleged that during her tenure the choir director, who was also a church elder, made vulgar comments and touched her inappropriately. She reported the conduct to her supervisor who threatened to fire her. The situation was not addressed properly by authorities. When the work environment became unbearable she decided to quit. She then filed suit in federal court against the churches which had employed her stating that the church and its supervisors where in violation of Title VII. The defendants tried to argue a “ministerial exception” but the courts denied this motion.
Miller subjected Dolquist to oppressive, degrading, emotionally upsetting and sexually inappropriate behavior from 1996 to 2001. He was also engaged in such inappropriate behaviors with other women in the church during this same time frame. He finally resigned from his position as music director in June of 2000, but remained in the position of a church elder. When members tried to rehire Miller as the church music director in 2001, Dolquist objected and referred to his past sexual misconduct. In September of 2001 the church advised her that she had also been accused of engaging in behavior similar to Miller’s. In October, 2001, she was fired even though her job performance was satisfactory.
She filed five counts against the Heartland church sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, negligent infliction of emotional distress and outrage and failure to supervise. Two of these cases were dismissed, infliction of emotional distress and claim for negligence.
This case was very important in setting precedents to protect employees of religious institutions against sexual harassment in the workplace.