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New York City Employment Law Blog

Lawsuit: Wrestling company hit below the belt

Obtaining trade secrets and confidential information from a company and then sharing information can get employees in some hot water. Not only can an employee face consequences, but so can the company who accepted the stolen information.

Recently, two professional wrestling companies faced off in court regarding an alleged violation of the state's Uniform Trade Secrets Act. TNA Wrestling has accused World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. of improperly using confidential information that an employee unlawfully stole then distributed.

Fast food chain faces allegations of discrimination

Employers try to choose the best candidate from all of the applications that they receive when they are hiring for an open position. When an employer chooses not to hire someone and is accused of discrimination by a prospective employee, this can be difficult to prove, particularly if the company has a strong track record of taking care of its employees. Lawyers in New York are often needed to provide assistance to people in cases of alleged age or race discrimination in order to protect their employee rights.

A fast food restaurant chain, In-N-Out Burger, is facing a class action lawsuit for discriminating against prospective employees based on their age and race. The lawsuit was filed by two candidates who applied for store associate positions with the fast food chain. They believe they were turned down because they are over the age of 40 and are African American. Both of the men claim they were qualified candidates. One job candidate had several years of experience in similar positions. The attorney for these plaintiffs has alleged that the fast food chain has engaged in pervasive race, color and age discrimination as a matter of policy.

Give a penny, take a penny? Not so fast

As workers across the country continue to work hard to bring home a paycheck, more and more people are paying attention to every cent that gets taken out of their earnings. And these days, employees in New York City and elsewhere are willing to take jobs that pay less in the hopes of enjoying some job security in an unstable economy, so every penny counts. However, many of those people in non-managerial jobs may have noticed an unfortunate trend.

In August, hourly rates for people working in the private sector actually dropped a cent. While one penny might not sound like a significant amount, experts are worried more about the implications of the drop rather than the number.

Discrimination, unpaid wage lawsuits increase in retail industry

A large number of employers who have branches in New York have been subjected to lawsuits because of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to economic reports released earlier this month. Among those facing significant sanctions include Wal-Mart, Burger King, Dollar Tree, Hallmark and Chrysler, according to official reports.

As a result of the increased number of suits, American courts are attempting to continually define the boundaries of employer rights while maintaining the burden of employer responsibilities, especially in those cases that are not settled. Some of the cases are also arbitrated, which means that they do not go to trial or a judge decision.

Confidential information protected with non-disclosure agreement

Corporate competition is fierce in this uneasy economy. Companies in New York and elsewhere can be even more determined to protect their interests and products these days. However, for an average employee, an employer's request for discretion and confidentiality may not be fully appreciated. Because of this, it can be very important for business leaders to be very explicit in what information is to be protected. In many cases, companies have employees sign a non-disclosure agreement.

These types of agreements can be difficult for person without a legal background to understand. Combine the complex language with how severely people can be punished for violating the terms of a non-disclosure agreement and employees can find themselves in a contract dispute without truly understanding why.

Female exec claims TV network tolerated supervisors' misconduct

A female former vice president of MTV Networks claims that her firing constituted sexual discrimination and that she was subjected to bullying on the job. She filed lawsuit against MTV and its parent company Viacom, filed in federal court in New York, claiming that her employee rights were violated. The case largely revolves around her claims that two people in a supervisory role over her engaged in misconduct, but were never reprimanded by the employer.

The plaintiff claims a track record of two decades of accomplishment in the music industry. After she was promoted to vice president of talent and music station in 2008, a male senior vice president is accused of having treated her in a discriminatory fashion because of her gender and age. He excluded her from meetings, downgraded her duties, and forbid her to communicate with representatives of recording companies. She also asserts that he characterized her as acting in "too emotional" a manner.

Umpires and line judges make the call: They were underpaid

As the United States Open begins this week, many New Yorkers will be closely following the exciting and highly-watched tennis tournament. However, many people may not realize that there is far more drama going on off the courts. Tennis line judges and umpires have filed a lawsuit against the United States Tennis Association for a number of wage violations including unpaid overtime and underpayment.

According to reports, more than 300 tennis officials are invited to the US Open in New York every year to work at the tournament. They have their travel expenses paid for and are also partially compensated for hotel accommodations, food and other various expenses. However, these officials are among the lowest paid umpires in all Grand Slam events. This prompted four officials to file a lawsuit against the USTA.

Fewer jobs, more wage and hour claims in United States

Unemployment rates across the country have been wavering around record highs. In the past few months, the national unemployment rate has stayed above 8 percent. Shockingly, along with these high unemployment rates, those who are lucky enough to have a job are suffering record numbers of wage and hour violations.

During this year, the number of people filing a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act reached higher numbers than it had in the past 20 years. In the year 2000, there were 1,854 wage-and-hour claims cases, the numbers have been increasing. As of March 31, there were 7,064 new cases filed in the preceding 12 months.

Differing interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act

In troubled economic times, employees are less likely to report violations of employment laws to state and federal officials out of concerns of losing their job. Employers often require workers to put in extra hours without compensation in what may or may not be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The dilemma for workers pursing an action under the FLSA is that sections of this act are not always clearly defined and are open to interpretation. There are a number of workers that are exempted from the overtime pay requirement portions of the FLSA, and it's often difficult to determine specifically which workers are exempted.

Ex-employee sued after being hired by competitor

Companies go to great lengths to protect sensitive information that is specific to their company. Business owners in New York work hard to develop their products, processes and customer base so if a former employee puts that in jeopardy, it may be appropriate to take legal action.

In many cases, a company will have employees sign a non-compete agreement if they want to prevent that person from sharing company information with competitors. Often, these agreements protect a business if an employee wants to work in a similar position at a competing company. Without a non-compete agreement in place, however, it can get tricky.

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