The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

A new contract grants unionized em­­ployees of New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority retroactive 1% raises for each of the past two years, which means most will receive one-time payments between $3,000 and $5,000.

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When it comes ADA disability discrimination claims, employers have to think about litigation as soon as an employee self-identifies as disabled and brings up potential reasonable accommodations. If a supervisor or HR professional refuses to even consider accommodations, it all but guarantees that the case won’t be dismissed at the summary judgment stage, potentially leading to a jury trial.

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Setting up several different corporations to run related enterprises won’t insulate the businesses from liability for wage-and-hour claims if the interrelationship is close.

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Before accommodating certain dress practices, employers can ask for some kind of proof of the religious custom that demands an exception—usually a letter from the employee explaining the practice and stating that he or she adheres to it. Once that letter is on file, however, employers should be careful about again demanding that the employee explain the practice or produce evidence of its validity.

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The news from the Board is generally pro-employer, but it’s time to carefully review your handbooks, applications and offer letters.

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Charges of cronyism and nepotism followed a Metropolitan Transit Authority security chief out the door following a meeting with the head of the MTA, which runs public transportation in the New York City area.

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PJP Health will pay three f­ormer employees $300,000 to settle charges it harassed, fired and retaliated against the workers.

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Here’s a powerful reminder that when a supervisor is the harasser, prompt action can still save the day—as long as the harassed employee hasn’t yet been demoted, fired or otherwise substantially harmed.

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Disabled employees are entitled to a workplace that’s free of hostility or harassment because of a disability. But that doesn’t mean that a few isolated comments are enough to create a hostile work environment.

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Employers can’t retaliate against employees for complaining about alleged discrimination or harassment. But before something is considered retaliatory, it is measured by whether a reasonable employee would find the alleged retaliation severe enough to have dissuaded him from complaining in the first place.

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