A recent employment discrimination case makes it clear that the primary factor to determine who is an “employer” under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) law is whether the party has the power to control how the worker conducts his or her job.
The case was decided in the context of the NYSHRL’s prohibition against employers discriminating against individuals who have been criminally convicted in the past. Specifically, with limited exceptions, the NYSHRL makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job candidate because he previously was convicted of committing a crime. The statute also prohibits any person or entity, whether or not an employer, from aiding or abetting a violation of the NYSHRL.
Trathony Griffin and Michael Godwin worked for Astro Moving and Storage Co. Astro has a contract with Allied Van Lines, Inc. pursuant to which Astro provides moving and storage services to Allied. That contract prohibits Astro from using any workers who have been convicted of a crime on any assignment for Allied.