A sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) against Duane Reade Inc., was recently settled for $240,000 and other relief. The lawsuit had alleged that Duane Reade, which operates over 200 drugstores in New York, had unlawfully created and failed to correct a sexually hostile work environment at one of its stores located in Bronx, New York.
Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, holding that an employer did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) through a seniority system for pension and other employee benefits that credited an employee with service while out on disability leave, but only provided partial credits to employees who had taken pregnancy leave.
Last week, a lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court alleging sexual harassment against Southern Hospitality, a New York City restaurant, and its owners, one of whom is Justin Timberlake. The lawsuit was brought by Alison McDaniel, a former restaurant manager, who accuses two of Timberlake’s owners of discriminatory conduct.
New York state and federal courts have long disagreed over the application of the New York State and New York City anti-discrimination laws to out of state employees, who claimed employment discrimination by New York based employers. In an attempt to set limits on the geographic scope of the New York State Human Rights Law and New York City Human Rights Law, courts seemed to embrace the concept that the location of where the discriminatory decision was made was not relevant, but rather where the impact of the discriminatory decision was felt.
Employers are requiring with greater frequency that employees accept mandatory arbitration as a condition of employment. In difficult economic times, employees are less likely to reject a job conditioned upon accepting mandatory arbitration. Indeed, employees often agree to waive their rights to go to court over future employment disputes in exchange for at-will employment. Although arbitrations are not inherently inappropriate for resolving employment disputes, an employee’s acceptance of mandatory arbitration is rarely, if ever, voluntary.