Fair Work P.C.

Boston Employee Rights Legal Blog

Goldman Sachs sued over alleged LGBT discrimination

Many LGBT employees in Massachusetts continue to struggle with discrimination in the workplace even after they have reached a significant amount of career success. This is underlined in a lawsuit by a former Goldman Sachs vice president who is suing the Wall Street bank for workplace discrimination. He says that he was fired from his job in retaliation for complaining about discriminatory behavior aimed at him because of his sexual orientation. The openly gay banker was part of the company's LGBT network before his dismissal.

In the lawsuit, the former banker says that he received eight years of outstanding performance reviews during his time at Goldman Sachs and was repeatedly promoted. However, after he filed a complaint with the bank's employee relations team, he says that he was targeted for retaliation. He reported a list of incidents, including one occasion where he says he was told by a supervisor that he could not join a conference call with an important client because he "sounded too gay." After he filed the complaint, he said that he suddenly and unexpectedly received a poor performance review and was later terminated. The former banker said that the critical review was an attempt to lay the groundwork for his dismissal.

Americans think age plays a role in career success

Employers in Massachusetts are generally barred from using age when making employment decisions. According to a recent poll, however, roughly half of the respondents said that age discrimination takes place in the workplace. However, about 60% of respondents who are 60 or older say that older workers are frequently the target of such discrimination. Conversely, only 43% of respondents who were 45 or younger said the same thing.

Another 69% of those between the ages of 45 and 59 said that older workers are at a disadvantage in the workplace. Older individuals said that they believed that their age made it harder to get a promotion or a raise at work. One man said that he got weird looks when applying for a job, and this made him believe that he wouldn't be a serious candidate for the position. Another individual said that he couldn't find his year of birth as an entry option attempting to apply for a job online.

Ageism is a common problem at work

A new survey has found that 11% of workers over the age of 45 have experienced ageism on the job. This is in spite of the fact that it is illegal for employers in Massachusetts and elsewhere to discriminate based on a worker's age. Discrimination can take many forms such as not getting hired for a job or being demoted by an employer. It is generally accepted that ageism begins when a worker approaches age 50.

However, it is possible for discrimination to happen at any time. Furthermore, it is possible for workers of either gender to be the victim of ageism, but men are more likely than women to report this type of discrimination on the job. There may be several ways that a person can minimize the chance of being adversely impacted by his or her age. For example, individuals are encouraged to document any instances of illegal activity.

Massachusetts budget amendment targets wage theft

A proposed amendment to the Massachusetts House budget would allocate $500,000 to establish a special unit tasked with ensuring that construction companies in the state abide by wage and hours laws. The unit would be staffed with investigators who would look into alleged or suspected wage violations in the construction industry. The amendment is supported by several building trade labor unions. Observers expect it to be approved.

The Democrat behind the amendment said in a statement that the unit was necessary to protect taxpayers who lose out when construction companies falsify payroll records. Before being voted into office, he investigated labor cases for Attorney General Martha Coakley. A report released by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in February reveals that 66 construction companies paid fines in excess of $1.23 million and made restitution of $1.47 million in 2018 to settle 165 cases involving 1,030 employees.

Protecting older individuals from age discrimination

Massachusetts residents may have seen an increase in the number of employees who are 65 years old and older. There are a number of reasons for this increase. One reason has to do with the fact that people are simply living longer. This means seniors are worried that they may actually burn out their retirement savings before they die. This increase in older workers entering the workforce has not changed the hiring policies of a lot of companies.

A lot of firms focus on recruiting and retaining millennials; for them, success means hiring workers from a younger generation. In order to accomplish this, some companies will have job postings saying that they do not want workers who have more than X amount of years of experience in the field. If the applicant applies online, there may be a date of birth drop-down menu that stops at a certain year to disqualify individuals who were born before a certain date.

Ageism is not going away

Workers in Massachusetts and throughout the country are generally protected against age discrimination. However, this doesn't mean that employers don't factor in age when deciding who to keep or terminate. Recent lawsuits against companies such as Citibank and IBM show that even large companies are not immune to this practice. One man tried to change his legal age from 69 to 49, citing age discrimination as one of his motivations for doing so.

According to data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination complaints have double among some minority groups. These groups include women, African-Americans and those who are over the age of 65. The individuals in these cases are generally receiving low wages for their labor. However, the case against Citibank involves an executive who was making $1.24 million at the time that he was let go.

How the #MeToo movement changed whistleblowing for the better

Employers often expect loyalty from their employees. Why else would they have workers sign non-disclosure agreements? Or maintain company confidentiality?

Or threaten employees to keep illegal activities a secret?

Taking action after seeing an illegal job posting

A posting for a job in Massachusetts or anywhere else in the country must meet certain guidelines. For instance, it generally cannot be discriminatory against a protected class. Furthermore, postings cannot claim that a worker will be an independent contractor if he or she is actually treated like an employee. This is important partially because independent contractors are required to withhold their own taxes, and they also aren't entitled to insurance or other benefits like employees are.

If a post advertises that a freelancer will work for 40 hours a week, that person is likely an employee. The same is true if the post says that a person will need to work in an office or other setting dictated by the employer. By definition, freelancers are free to set their own hours and other working conditions. Those who think that a posting could be illegal have several options for reporting the employment law violation.

If it’s happened in the workplace, chances are, one of us has dealt with it.
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