Employment Law & Discrimination


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Sardar Law Firm gave a presentation at NYU, sponsored by the Council on the Advancement of Muslim Professionals - New York.

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Employment Law & Discrimination

  1. 1. LEGAL ISSUES IN THIS UNCERTAIN ECONOMIC CLIMATE: Employment Law<br />Sheheryar Sardar, Esq.<br />Sardar Law Firm LLC<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  2. 2. Major Employment Law Issues in Difficult Economic Times<br />Employment Discrimination<br />Severance Agreements<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  3. 3. Employment Discrimination<br />
  4. 4. What is Employment Discrimination?<br />Refers to discriminatory practices such as bias in hiring, promotions, job assignments, termination and compensation, and various types of harassment.<br />What happens most in DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIMES: Workplace Discrimination<br />When an employee suffers hostile or unfair treatment due to their race, religion, national origin, disability or veteran status.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  5. 5. What Qualifies as Discrimination?<br />Any unwelcome advance or conduct on the job that creates<br /><ul><li>Intimidation in the workplace
  6. 6. A Hostile work environment
  7. 7. An Offensive work environment</li></ul>Such behavior includes<br /><ul><li>Repeated Offensive or Belittling Jokes
  8. 8. Offensive Insults and Materials
  9. 9. Outright Assault</li></ul>Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  10. 10. Scenario #1:<br />A few colleagues are working late and the topic of Israel comes up. A co-worker calls Salman a terrorist and says that all Pakistanis and Muslims are suicide bombers. <br />Is this workplace discrimination?<br />YES<br />Salmanis in a protected class because the discrimination is based upon his national origin/ethnicity. <br />It is illegal to discriminate against an individual because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics.<br />
  11. 11. Scenario #2:<br />Amna wears a hijab to work everyday. At the time of hiring, the company was very welcoming of her religious choice. A year later, when it came time to promote Amna to a highly visible management position, the company excluded her from consideration based on her head covering. Their reason was, “The position is quite high profile and we don’t want our customers to get the wrong idea about us.”<br />Is this workplace discrimination?<br />YES<br />Amna’s employer is required to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of an employee or prospective employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. <br />
  12. 12. Scenario #3:<br />Mariam announces her pregnancy to a few co-workers. A week later, her boss calls her in to inform her of an “economic layoff.” When Mariam asks why her name was on the layoffs, her boss noted, “Your work product has been up and down and we feel you won’t be able to put your best foot forward due to your current circumstances.”<br />Does Mariam have a claim?<br />MAYBE<br />While gender related discrimination is a hot issue, it is also the most difficult to prove. <br />
  13. 13. Current Example<br />A Queens supermarket group was charged with sex discrimination in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Brooklyn Federal Court. <br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  14. 14. Dealing with Workplace Discrimination:What Can YOU Do<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />2009<br />
  15. 15. Step 1: Company’s Policy<br />Most companies have HR policies that deal directly with workplace discrimination or sexual harassment. <br />Any employee believing they have been subjected to discrimination should report that behavior to their immediate supervisor, another member of management or the agency Human Resource section.<br />If you choose not to address the situation according to your employer’s policies, you may hurt your chances of filing a lawsuit. If the employer does not know, they cannot remedy the situation for you.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  16. 16. What if the harasser is the person you are supposed to go to?<br />Go to HR. If you work for a company with no HR department, go to your supervisor’s boss. <br />Do not worry about retaliation from management. If you are retaliated against, you have a claim against your workplace. <br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  17. 17. STEP 2: DOCUMENT<br />Complaints to HR or a Supervisor may be made verbally or in writing. <br />However, you must keep a log of any interaction you have with HR or your Supervisor regarding workplace discrimination or harassment.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  18. 18. How do I document conversations?<br />After you talk to the appropriate person, EMAIL them confirming your conversation:“Dear ______, This is to confirm our meeting on _____ regarding the harassment issue with _____. Thank you.”PRINT OUT this message from your inbox and put it in a folder at home. This simple message is PROOF that you tried to address the situation with the appropriate in-house individual.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  19. 19. How do I document verbal harassment?<br />People rarely make discriminatory remarks via email, handwritten notes, or other ways that are easily traceable. Instead, most harassment is done verbally.<br />Document each instance by putting it into a Excel Spreadsheet or Word Document. Listing the following items: DATE, TIME, WHAT WAS SAID, WHO WAS THERE, CONTACT INFORMATION FOR POTENTIAL WITNESSES<br />This will help your lawyer contact the right people and show a PATTERN of discrimination.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  20. 20. STEP 3: GET AN ATTORNEY<br />If harassment/discrimination continues, YOU NEED TO CONTACT AN ATTORNEY.<br />An attorney can file a claim for you or contact your employer on your behalf in order to ensure that your grievances are addressed.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  21. 21. Next Issue: <br />SEVERANCE AFTER A LAY OFF<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  22. 22. Common Mistakes Individuals Make with a Severance Agreement<br />Accepting a severance package without consulting an attorney. <br />A severance agreement is there to ensure that YOUR EMPLOYER is protected, NOT YOU. <br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  23. 23. Severance Agreements<br />You can negotiate the terms and conditions in your severance package. <br /><ul><li> You have the right to consult an attorney.
  24. 24. If your employer demands you sign right then, it is illegal.</li></ul>These are your RIGHTS. You must exercise them. <br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />
  25. 25. Please contact us at sardar@sardarlawfirm.com if you have questions.<br />Thank you.<br />Sardar Law Firm<br />www.sardarlawfirm.com<br />