The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

While most employees know it isn’t socially acceptable to use racial slurs, some may not realize that religion is an equally sensitive topic, especially for religions that have been targeted for abuse and worse for decades or even centuries. Why not eliminate potential litigation costs with solid education?

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A New York employer has learned the hard way that it shouldn’t make assumptions about ­mothers in the workplace—and certainly shouldn’t actively try to predict who may become pregnant and miss work.

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Handle every complaint the same way, no matter the source. Don’t fail to investigate just because an employee has cried wolf in the past.

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Paying employees for break time—or not paying them—is one of the trickiest aspects of wage-and-hour law compliance. Know your obligations!

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Here’s a warning that may save you time and trouble: If you want to keep an employee who has another job offer, be careful what you promise.

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Employers can terminate an em­­ployee about to take FMLA leave if they have legitimate business reasons that have nothing to do with taking FMLA leave.

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When disaster strikes, smart employers have contingency plans in place to keep the business running. Such plans need to account for the kind of emergency facing the organization—and how it will handle the needs of disabled employees during and after the disaster.

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Unless it’s obvious that an em­­ployer acted maliciously by purposely setting out to harm an employee, chances are it won’t be held responsible for the consequences of a co-worker’s crime.

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When it comes to the use of racial or other patently offensive slurs, it makes a difference who does the talking and how often. Courts don’t tolerate slurs when a supervisor is responsible, but cut employers more slack when it’s a co-worker speaking.

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The owners of Mythos, a Greek restaurant in Queens, have agreed to pay $329,000 in back pay and liquidated damages to 21 employees following an FLSA investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.

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