The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Employees don’t always see eye to eye on discipline, performance appraisals or other workplace issues. But as long as you reasonably be­­lieve that your discipline was appropriate or your evaluation was on the money, you have little to fear. Simply put, the employee doesn’t get to second-guess your reasons.

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Employers with locations in multiple states that find themselves responding to an EEOC discrimination complaint sometimes fear the agency won’t limit its investigation to a single complaint or two. Instead, they worry the commission might conduct a wide-ranging investigation and sue over so-called “pattern-and-practices” discrimination, alleging companywide bias.

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One of the worst things you can do when you fire an employee is to provide shifting explanations for the discharge. The best approach: Talk to your lawyer before you terminate, to clarify exactly what your reasons are.

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Two Nassau County sushi restaurants will pay $261,887 in back wages and liquidated damages to 70 workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

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A federal judge has dismissed race discrimination charges against the New York Post newspaper. While the judge agreed that two black reporters who sued experienced “a raucous work environment” in which bosses “yelled and cursed at reporters,” they were treated no differently than co-workers who aren’t black.

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President Obama plans to issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay employees at least $10.10 per hour, starting in 2015.

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Even a single incident of overt sexual harassment can become the basis for a sex discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit. Warn all supervisors and managers: Keep your hands off your subordinates—and your lips, too!

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Can keystrokes carry the same legal weight as pen strokes? Each state has a slightly different law.

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Sometimes, it may be appropriate to offer light-duty assignments to pregnant employees. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle those accommodations.

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Supervisors should avoid any age-related references, but don’t despair if you learn someone made such a comment—as long as nothing else points to age discrimination. Simply warn the boss to watch what he or she says in the future.

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