The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Generally, employees fired for misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. That’s because payments are due to employees who are unemployed through no fault of their own. But not every mistake counts as misconduct.

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An employee terminated from the Fox TV affiliate in Texas drove to New York City in January and shot himself outside News Corporation’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.

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Carefully track absences and note which missed days are attributable to FMLA-covered reasons. That way, should you have to terminate an employee for attendance issues, you can easily separate out FMLA.

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Hone your workplace relationship rules now before spring romance brings September grief.

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When a government employee is arrested and charged with a crime related to her job, most public employers take some form of action—typically suspending the employee pending trial. If they are found guilty, they usually are terminated. Then the employee is entitled to “some sort of a hearing,” according to Supreme Court precedent. But what if criminal charges wind up being dropped?

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Seapod Pawnshops, with stores in Brooklyn and Queens, will pay $300,000 and sever ties with a former owner to settle sexual and racial harassment charges. Employees alleged that the former owner harassed them because of their sex, race and ethnicity.

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Do you explain upfront exactly how your hiring process works? If not, consider providing a written notice that outlines the process, especially if it’s a lengthy one and you collect applications even when you have no current openings. This may come in handy later if a disgruntled applicant sues, claiming she was blacklisted or suffered discrimination by not being called for an interview or otherwise being considered for a position.

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Generally, all claims arising out of the same set of facts must be brought in one lawsuit. However, in limited circumstances, it’s possible for an employee to file separate lawsuits against her employer—and her supervisor!

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While there’s no requirement to provide a specific discharge reason, you should be ready to document the rationale behind the decision. Note each reason you considered when making the case for termination. You will need that documentation if the employee sues.

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A former New York City Department of Parks & Recreation employee has filed a discrimination and retaliation suit against the city after she was fired after complaining about pervasive sexual harassment. Although city investigators largely corroborated her complaints against two supervisors, the woman lost her job.

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