Bergen County matrimonial lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. co-founded Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman in 1975. Superlawyers.com selected Mr. Goldhamer for the special honor of “Super Lawyer” in 2014. In addition to practicing family & divorce law, Mr. Goldhamer maintains a busy outreach schedule, appearing on radio and television, teaching and lecturing, and continuing the tradition he helped pioneer of providing free legal seminars to the public in New York and New Jersey.
by Paul Goldhamer, Esq.
Sexual harassment: As the winds change …
Sexual harassment is not a new phenomenon. It’s existed since the beginning of time. When we were hunter-gatherers, the guy who collected the most meat was able to use that commodity to gain advantage with the ladies. There are chimpanzee tribes where males use the collection of meat (yes, they sometimes eat meat) to trade for sexual favors.
However, in the U.S. we are becoming more enlightened. We no longer own other people; people of all colors and sex, no matter what age, can own property and if 18, vote. There was a time in this country when the laws made certain groups second or third class citizens, if a citizen at all. We have shrugged at and struggled for centuries to get to an enlightened position, but the subservient class is often victimized, because they believe they can control a situation in which they seek money, power or education (said more nicely: employment, advancement or mentoring).
But there is a difference between flirting and using sex to gain access to money and power; and there is a difference between being charming and groping & seeking sexual favors.
In this country, we have had a tolerance of sexual abuse. You need look no further than Bill Cosby, Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein. You also know that there are people who marry or have sex for money and power, simply because there is a quid pro quo that everyone knows exists. No one can believe that Melania Trump, the young wife of Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby’s wife are not complicit in their own arrangement.
Certainly, the bevy of young women who lived & played with Hugh Hefner are perfect examples. No one can believe these beautiful and often bright women thought Trump’s hair was just great, or they were attracted to Hefner, an 80-year-old man, padding around in backless slippers and a robe. There was a trade-off: exposure to money, power and opportunity against the risk of abuse and, in many cases, actual abuse.
But, if you are not seeking it, uninvited sexual harassment, either because of sex, age or race, is a violation of the law. A person need not blindly accept such conduct.
We at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer and Graifman have been helping people even the scales in Employment, Sexual & Age discrimination cases for decades.
In our society today, workplace discrimination is a very common problem that comes in many varieties. Common forms of workplace discrimination include biases based on race, sex, religion, age, national origin, physical disability and sexual orientation. Discriminatory practices can range in severity through biases in hiring, job assignment, compensation, harassment and even termination. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to workplace discrimination, contact the law offices of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer and Graifman, P.C. We have the professional knowledge and experience to give you only the best legal representation when fighting for your rights.
Over the course of many years, a multitude of employment discrimination laws have been put in place, seeking to prevent such employee discriminations. While such laws are numerous, the main bodies of employment discrimination laws exist on both the state and federal level, within the fifth and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution. These amendments directly limit the power of federal and state governments to discriminate in the workplace. The Fifth Amendment states that government cannot deprive individuals of the rights to life, liberty and property without due process of the law. The Fourteenth Amendment directly prohibits any state from denying an individual their rights to due process and equal protection. These two constitutional amendments go hand in hand to limit employers from treating any employee in a negative impact due to their allegiance to a certain religious group, the color of their skin, or their sexual preference. Should an employer unfairly terminate an employee on any of these grounds, due process protects the employee or group of employees, allowing them to receive a fair process before their termination.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to workplace discrimination, contact the law offices of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer and Graifman, P.C. to receive only the best legal representation possible. Our knowledgeable team of lawyers has extensive experience in both class action litigation and employment law, making our firm the best candidate for your workplace discrimination case. Call us today at (800) 711-5258/ (845) 459-0001/ (201) 690-7735.
Last fall, we discussed in our blog how there were a number of class action lawsuits making headlines over intern pay.
Remember, legally, unpaid internships are a complex subject. If you are an intern, the company you are providing your services to is required to provide you with an enriching and educational experience that you can fall back on later in life.
Unfortunately, in many of the cases that are making the news, this is allegedly not happening. Some companies are being accused of exploiting interns to save money and not hire additional employees. Unpaid interns are being asked to perform tasks that would normally be assigned to paid workers.
Viacom Settles Intern Lawsuit for $7.2 Million
We bring up this subject because recently there was a class action lawsuit settlement that may have ramifications nationally. According to the Los Angeles Times, media giant Viacom has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought on by former interns at its television networks, including MTV and BET for $7.2 million.
The unpaid interns alleged that Viacom violated federal wage laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), by not compensating them. The plaintiffs claimed that they were asked to perform tasks as a way for the company to save money, which was not to their benefit. More than 1,000 former interns were included in the group covered by the proposed settlement, according to the Times.
The Times said that interns, who worked for Viacom’s networks in New York between August 13, 2007 and June 1, 2013, could be eligible for damages.
Pursuing a Lawsuit Over Unpaid Wages
As this shows, class action lawsuits can be an effective way for plaintiffs to seek back pay in wage and overtime disputes. Aside from interns, there have been numerous stories in the news recently about people filing lawsuits in relation to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), seeking damages. Among the other industries where this is becoming popular are fast food and retail work.
If you have suffered financially because of the actions of an employer, Gary S. Graifman, Esq. is here for you. Schedule a free initial consultation or complete the form on this page. In addition to victims of wage theft, we represent employees affected by discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. – Class Action Lawyers
KGG’s Corner: An estimated 46.5 percent of the collegiate class of 2014 participated in an unpaid internship or co-op position prior to graduation.