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Know Your Rights
Source: Mertz Gilmore Foundation
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Report Documents Condo Vacancies; Progress on Workplace Discrimination and Wage Theft

The New York City chapter of the Right to the City Alliance has just released a report on some 4,000 unoccupied luxury condo units in NYC, vacancies which might instead be used to house families in need. The developers of these buildings owe the city $3.7 million in back taxes, and the Alliance has asked the City to foreclose on owners who owe taxes and explore alternatives that would convert the vacant condos into affordable housing.

Earlier this month, in response to a complaint filed by Make the Road New York (MRNY), American Eagle Outfitters agreed to pay $70,000 to the state of New York and change its hiring policies regarding transgender applicants. In an undercover investigation to demonstrate blatant discrimination, MRNY had helped transgender and non-transgender applicants at 24 of Manhattan’s most popular retail stores. When stores such as American Eagle Outfitters hired the non-transgender applicant despite the transgender applicant displaying stronger qualifications, MRNY filed complaints that helped produce the agreed settlement and changes.

MRNY also helped build support for the Wage Theft Prevention bill introduced in the New York State Senate in March. The draft legislation would penalize employers who do not pay minimum wage or overtime, and it would increase the State’s tax coffers by compelling offending employers to pay required income taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and workers’ compensation premiums.