With 2017 drawing to a close and the new year right around the corner, it’s time to look forward to the employment law and discrimination issues we’re likely to see taking center stage. With growing education and awareness about workplace fairness, we’re likely to see more and more employees stepping forward and demanding fair treatment in these areas:

Sexual Harassment: If it seems like every day there is another sexual harassment case in the news, it’s because it’s true. The year 2017 saw headlines about media moguls, politicians and celebrities, and there’s been a real difference in how the accusations have been handled. Victims are being believed and compensated for the damage that has been done to them. Though there’s a big difference between the very public people who are in the news and what is going on in private workplaces, each time a victim comes forward more people are being emboldened to speak up against harassing treatment and demand justice.

Gender-based Discrimination for Family Leave: Today’s fathers are speaking up and taking legal action about the lack of parity that exists when it comes to bonding with their new babies. Both the ACLU and the EEOC have filed lawsuits arguing that mothers are not the only caregivers, and that fathers should be eligible for the same amount of paid parental leave as mothers are. Though recovery time from birth and labor are clearly appropriate for mothers, having gender-based policies for caretaking and bonding is likely to be viewed as discriminatory, and will face much closer scrutiny in the coming year. The same is likely true regarding time off following adoption and foster parenting.

Transgender and LGBT Employee Discrimination: The state of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination already prohibits LGBT and transgender discrimination, but as acceptance of differently-gendered people becomes more widespread, those who face unfair treatment are more likely to speak up against it and take legal action on their own behalf.

Accommodation Under ADA: There has been a national uptick in requests for leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act as employees exhaust the time allowed for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or when their company is too small for them to qualify for FMLA. Though indefinite leave is not considered reasonable, employees who are denied time off for medical reasons or to care for family members may qualify for ADA protection.

Independent Contractor or Employee Issues: With the “gig” economy growing exponentially, many companies are improperly classifying employees as contractors in order to save money. This is expected to become the topic of numerous legal actions in the coming year.

If you believe that you are the victim of any kind of workplace discrimination or unfair treatment, you need to speak with an attorney who can advise you of your legal rights. Contact us today to set up a time to come in and speak with us.