The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Here’s a warning for supervisors and managers. When transferring an employee to another position, make sure you don’t make promises that create an employment contract. Such promises, under New York state contract law, don’t necessarily have to be in writing. Fortunately, they do have to be specific.

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Here’s another reminder to employers to exercise caution in imposing discipline for conduct on social media.

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Unpaid interns for the website Gawker.com have won a round in court in their attempt to bring a class-action suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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On July 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that amends the New York Human Rights Law by adding a new Section 296-c titled, “Unlawful discriminatory practices relating to interns.”

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It’s crucial to keep good records of the hiring process, including tracking applicant experience levels. After all, you never know which applicant will sue, alleging that he was passed over for a discriminatory reason.

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You conduct interviews to help determine who is the best candidate for a position. But every interview carries with it the possibility of a lawsuit.

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In most cases, employees seeking a promotion or applicants seeking a new job have to actually apply and then be rejected in order to sue over alleged discrimination. Except in very rare cases—when it is obvious that applying would be futile or when the application process is hidden or informal—an application is a prerequisite for a lawsuit.

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OSHA has issued a final rule that goes into effect Jan. 1. Now is the time to train for it.

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The new amendment to the New York Human Rights Law adding protections for unpaid interns does not address the status of those interns who claim they should be compensated employees. Those cases appear to be working through the courts on a separate path.

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Do you cut slack for some employees when enforcing your grooming policies? If so, there may be a race discrimination lawsuit in your future.

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