Human Resources » Who Is The “Employer” In Criminal History Discrimination?

Who Is The “Employer” In Criminal History Discrimination?

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May 8, 2017

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has opined on which entities may be liable for discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law. The question arose in a case where two laborers for a moving company were fired after background checks revealed they had been convicted of sexual offenses. The moving company was working under contract with a national company, Allied, and the plaintiffs sued both the local company and Allied. The court, invoking state law precedent, identified four factors that should be used to define who is the actual employer, and it limited liability to that entity. But a complicating factor is that the New York law also prohibits “aiding and abetting” in such matters, and the court found that section of the law could be applicable to entities other than the actual employer. There is no definitive answer in this case, but the question and some working definitions were clarified.

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