2016 is here and as the calendar turns it brings with it new changes in state laws and regulations.
There have been numerous changes in federal and state employment laws that are slated to begin on Jan. 1, 2016. However, whether you are an employer or an employee, you should be informed how these new laws will impact your place of employment. Along with the new year, 2016 brings many changes for those who work in New York.  Those changes are set to take happen very soon and in some instances, they have already taken affect. The employment law attorneys here at the Derek Smith Law Group has listed a few of the changes set to take effect this month.

Minimum Wage:

As of December 31, 2015, the minimum wage increased from $8.75 per hour to $9 per hour for non-fast food workers and fast-food workers received an increase of $9.75 per hour. According to the NY Labor Department, the minimum wage for all workers in the state is due to an increase of $1 annually, until $14.50 in 2020 and $15 per hour in 2021. If your employer is not paying you a legal minimum wage contact the wage and hour violation lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group for a free consultation.

Sexual Harassment:

Aside from changes in the minimum wage, other measures being carried out include sexual harassment amendments.  Previously if a woman had been the victim of sexual harassment in a workplace where her employer had fewer than 4 employees, she did not have any recourse. The reason why was because under the state and federal law, those small companies were exempt from having any liability.
In many instances, there were “mom and pop shops” which consisted of stores, small restaurants, doctors or dentists offices.  More than 60% of employers are private, having less than 4 employees, which equated to many women not being entitled to justice as victims of sexual harassment.
As of now that has changed.  Under the Women’s Equality Act, NY State Human Rights Law complaints for sexual harassment can be brought against the company regardless of how many people are working in the office.

Human Trafficking & Wage Inequality:

Regulations that are set to take effect as of January 19 involve harsher penalties for those who are involved in human trafficking and more assistance for the victims. Additional laws will keep employers from paying less money to their workers based on gender or refusing promotions to someone on the basis of family status.

Pregnancy Discrimination:

Further discrimination laws against pregnant women mean that pregnant workers will need to be accommodated for conditions relating to the pregnancy unless doing so would create an undue hardship.  As stated by the law:  “Employees may require a stool to sit on, extra restroom breaks, transfer away from hazardous duties, a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting, or a reasonable time for child-birth recovery.”If you have been exposed to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace contact our pregnancy discrimination lawyers in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia for a free consultation today.

Nursing Mothers:

Mothers who recently gave birth have the right to take reasonable, unpaid breaks at work to pump breast milk for up to three years. The companies who employ them are obligated to supply reasonable accommodations for those mothers so that they can privately pump. Furthermore the employee cannot be discriminated against for doing so.

Domestic Violence Victims:

Protection for domestic violence victims against housing discrimination will also be included.  All of these laws were designated under the women’s equality act, passed by lawmakers last year.  The lawmakers in New York had felt as though they had missed the mark on advocating for women and women’s rights.
According to the New York State Assembly, the New York Women’s Agenda will tear down obstructions of injustice that have been preserving unfair acts of discrimination and gender inequality for years.
Now that the state has taken a large step to rectify the issues surrounding the lack of fair balance between women and men, it is important for women who have been treated unfairly and who are being subjected to work in a hostile job environment, to come forward and stand up to correct the situation.

Contact Our Employment Attorneys For a Free Consultation

No one should have to work in a hostile job environment. Derek Smith Law Group attorneys are passionate about fighting for employment law rights.
If you or someone you know is a victim of discrimination, sexual harassment or working in a hostile job environment, then you should contact us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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