Hostile workplaces, gender discrimination, and unequal pay continue in New York.

Hostile workplaces are nasty because they target one or more protected classes of employees. Identifying which class or classes of employees an employer is motivated to discriminate against is the challenge. Nasty treatment of everyone may not qualify for hostile because employers don’t have to be nice to employees, unless because of a protected class to which an employee belongs.

Women continue to be treated poorly, especially in historically male-dominated industries.

And pay inequality is still among us. The following video addresses why discussing salary at work can help employees’ be paid more fairly:

Video transcript:

I’m Jonas Urba, a New York employment lawyer here with Employment Law Reality Check. Can you talk about salary at work? Sure you can. If your employer takes some type of action against you because you discussed salary you should call some employment lawyers. Because there’s nothing wrong with talking about your salary. In fact studies have shown that employees who discuss salary with one another are actually paid more fairly. So don’t take it upon yourself. Call some employment lawyers. Discuss the issues with us. You can call me. I’m Jonas Urba. I serve the entire state of New York and I can be reached at (212) 731-4776. Attorney Advertising.

New York labor laws take wages and pay practices seriously. Here are some common traps employers fall into:

  1. Changing an established regular workweek
  2. Split shift or spread of hours violations
  3. Requiring attendance during unpaid meal-break meetings
  4. Paying salaries to employees who lack hire-fire or policy deviation authority

In 2020 the federal Department of Labor amended regulations exempting salaried employees. New York State has not followed suit. It is unlikely that federal courts will follow the revised exemption definitions as well. Doing so would effectively make the exemptions meaningless as follows:

  • Administrative Exemption. Under state law an employee’s primary duties are the performance of office or non-manual field work directly related to management policies or general operations. Under recently revised federal regulations “policies” have been removed. These employees do not have to “customarily and regularly” exercise discretion and independent judgment. The exemption has no meaning since almost any salaried employee could arguably be exempt and earn below the minimum wage.
  • Executive Exemption. Under state law an employee must supervise two or more other employees, must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, and must customarily and regularly exercise discretionary powers. Under recently revised federal DOL regulations “authority” and “customarily and regularly” are removed. The exemption has no meaning since almost any salaried employee could arguably be exempt and earn below the minimum wage.
  • Professional Exemption. Under state law professional employees have advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study. It is distinguished from a general academic education, apprenticeship, or training in the performance of routine, mental, manual or physical processes. Under revised regulations the terms “general academic education, apprenticeship, or training” are removed. Adding “creative professionals” to the professional exemption demeans the exemption, arguably making any “creative” person a professional, exempt, and below minimum wage earnings acceptable.

Call New York employment lawyer V. Jonas Urba at (212) 731-4776

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