New York Issues Regulations Prohibiting Harassment and Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity, Transgender Status, or Gender Dysphoria

Regulations Now in Effect

The Governor of New York has issued regulations—under the stateHuman Rights Law—which prohibit harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status, or gender dysphoria.

Under New York’s Human Rights Law, it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment an individual or to discriminate against an individual in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of an individual’s sexual orientation, sex, disability, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim status (amongother protected classes).

The law generally applies to employers with 4 or more employees; however, the law’s prohibitions against sexual harassment apply to all employers—regardless of size.

New Regulations
Highlights of the new regulations include the following:

  • Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is sex discrimination.
  • The prohibitions contained in the state Human Rights Law against discrimination on the basis of sex (in all areas of jurisdiction where sex is a protected category) also prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or the status of being transgender.
  • Harassment on the basis of a person’s gender identity or the status of being transgender is sexual harassment.
  • The term “disability,” when used in the state Human Rights Law, includes gender dysphoria or other condition meeting the definition of disability in the law.
  • Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation for persons withgender dysphoria or other condition meeting the definition of disability in the law, where requested and necessary (and in accordance with state regulations on reasonable accommodation), isdisability discrimination.
  • Harassment on the basis of a person’s gender dysphoria or other condition meeting the definition of “disability” in the law is harassment on the basis of disability.

The regulations are effective as of January 20, 2016. Additional information is available in the text of the regulations. A press releaseconcerning the regulations is also available.

HR360 Editorial Team

NYC: Local Law Grants Caregivers Protections Under Nondiscrimination Law

Legislation Effective May 4, 2016

Under a new local law, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver. Under the NYCHRL, employers with 4 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against individuals on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, pregnancy, or marital status, among other protected classes.

Under the local law, “caregiver” means a person who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient.

A “care recipient” is a person with a disability who:

  • Is a covered relative, or a person who resides in the caregiver’s household; and
  • Relies on the caregiver for medical care or to meet the needs of daily living.

The local law contains additional definitions, and takes effect May 4, 2016.

Click here to read the text of the local law.

HR360 Editorial Team

San Francisco Issues Final Rules Implementing Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights

o-san-francisco-union-square-facebook1The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has issued final rules, effective March 1, 2016, implementing the Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances (sometimes known as the “Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights”).

The two Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances (effective as of July 3, 2015) regulate hours, retention, and scheduling at some “formula retail establishments.” The ordinances apply to formula retail establishments (or chain stores) with at least 40 formula retail establishments worldwide and 20 or more employees in San Francisco, as well as their janitorial and security contractors.

Final Rules and Required Notice
The final rules implementing the ordinances include details on topics such as:

  • Determining whether a formula retail establishment has 20 or more employees;
  • Overtime pay and offers of additional hours to part-time employees;
  • Calculating an employee’s “regular hourly rate” under the law; and
  • Calculating predictability pay when an employer adds hours to or subtracts hours from a scheduled shift with less than 24-hours’ notice.

Additionally, the Formula Retail Employee Rights Notice is now available. Covered employers must post this notice in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any of their covered employees work.

Additional details and examples are available in the text of the final rules. A fact sheet and FAQs are also available on the OLSE’s website.

To review other state laws specific to California, visit the State Lawssection, click on California, and choose your topic of interest from the left-hand navigation menu.

HR360 Editorial Team

Cal/OSHA Warns Condom Use Required in Adult Films Standards Board Vote Does Not Change Current Requirements

Oakland—Following Thursday’s meeting of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board where it did not adopt a proposed standard pertaining to the adult film industry, Cal/OSHA warns that barrier protection including condoms is still required to protect adult film workers from exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. The existing standard has been in effect since 1993 and is enforced by Cal/OSHA.

“Condoms are required to protect adult film workers from exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Cal/OSHA will continue to enforce the existing regulations and investigate complaints in the adult film industry.”

Workers in the adult film industry should know current laws protect them from injury and illness on the job, and where to go for help if their employer doesn’t follow those laws. More information on how to file a complaint with Cal/OSHA can be found on the Cal/OSHA website or by calling (714) 558-4300. Employers in the adult film industry must also know how to protect their employees from health and safety hazards and understand the consequences of failing to comply with state regulations.

Oregon House votes to hike state minimum wage

Oregon lawmakers have set the state on course for a higher minimum wage.
On Thursday, the state’s House of Representatives voted 32-26 to raise the wage, which currently sits at $9.25 per hour.

While the bill will increase the minimum wage across the state, the extra cash workers will receive depends on where they are.
For instance, the Portland metropolitan area will begin with a minimum of $9.75 that will rise to $14.75 by 2022.
Jackson, Josephine, Deschutes, Wasco and Hood River counties, as well as the Willamette Valley Northwest Oregon, will start at the same rate as Portland but increase to $13.50 by 2022.
Workers in rural counties will get a minimum of $9.50 in July, going up to $12.50 by 2022.

The bill now goes to Gov. Kate Brown, who has been pushing for a minimum wage increase. She said in a statement she intended to sign the new legislation.
Activists have been pushing for minimum wages nationwide to be raised to $15.
Following the examples set by San Francisco and Seattle, 14 cities, counties and state governments have approved a hike to $15, according to the National Employment Law Project.
In most places, the increase to $15 is being phased in over a few years to give businesses some time to adjust.
CNNMoney (New York)
First published February 19, 2016: 12:33 AM ET

Labor Commissioner Gets San Francisco House Cleaning Workers $50,000 Each in Back Pay

ClearningSan Francisco—Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has reached a $265,000 settlement on behalf of five workers who were victims of wage theft while employed at San Francisco-based Marina’s House Cleaning. The employees, who typically worked over 10 hours a day, will receive an average of $50,000 each in back pay.

The investigation opened last October after the Spanish-speaking workers visited the Labor Commissioner’s San Francisco office to learn about their rights under California’s labor laws. Investigators determined that the employees had been incorrectly designated as independent contractors and paid less than minimum wage with no overtime. They were required to clean 12 to 15 houses each day, which forced them to skip meal periods and rest breaks. Marina’s House Cleaning further failed to pay the employees’ full wages upon separation.

“With this settlement, workers who were once exploited and denied their right to a just day’s pay for a hard day’s work are finally getting the wages they earned,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.

The settlement includes $247,616 in back pay for the five workers and $17,384 in civil penalties.

Worker misclassification results in an estimated loss of $7 billion each year in payroll tax revenue to the State. Also, Employees misclassified as independent contractors are frequently underpaid and do not have on-the-job benefits and protections including workers’ compensation coverage, family leave, unemployment insurance, the right to organize or join a union, and protection against employer retaliation.

“Employers who knowingly misclassify workers as independent contractors commit wage theft, deprive their employees of basic rights and gain an unfair competitive advantage over businesses that abide by the law,” said Labor Commissioner Su.

The Wage Theft is a Crime public awareness campaign, launched in 2014 by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and its Labor Commissioner’s Office, has helped inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities. The campaign includes multilingual print and outdoor advertising as well as radio commercials in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong and Tagalog.