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Articles Tagged with new york state division of human rights

In 2017, the #MeToo movement trended across social media and in the news. Generated from reports of rampant sexual harassment over the course of many years in Hollywood, the social media hashtag #MeToo became popular as a way for victims to come forward with their stories and for others to show their support for victims and for putting an end to sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

At the heart of the #MeToo movement is the fact that many victims are taken advantage of by harassers who are in a position of power over the victim. The harasser uses that power position to not only assert the abusive conduct, but that power often intimidates the victim into keeping the harassment or abuse a secret, for fear of retribution from the harasser. The #MeToo movement inspired victims to come forward, who had previously remained silent the harassment.

#MeToo is, of course, a social media hashtag. According to CBS News, as of October 24, 2017, #MeToo had been “tweeted” 1.7 million times across 85 countries – and that was early on in the movement.

The National Labor Relations Act (the NLRA) is a federal law that, among other things, protects the rights of employees and encourages collective bargaining among employees for better terms and conditions at work. The NLRA also imposes a duty of fair representation which means that labor unions have an obligation to represent its employees fairly and without discrimination. Its New York state counterpart is the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL).

The National Labor Relations Act vs. The New York Human Rights Law

On July 25, 2017, in Figueroa v. Foster, the highest federal court in New York had to decide whether the NLRA preempts the NYSHRL for discrimination claims filed by a union member against a labor union when the labor union is acting as a collective bargaining representative. In other words, does the federal NLRA law take control over its state counterpart or can both the federal law and state law protect employees?

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