The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

A federal judge has ruled that federal labor law covers strippers at Rick’s Cabaret in midtown Manhattan. As a result, they must be paid the minimum wage and are entitled to overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a week.

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Does fear of being sued keep you from reprimanding slipshod em­­ployees? If you can document their shortcomings, don’t worry.

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Forcing someone to take leave when she doesn’t want to can be considered an adverse employment action and become the basis for a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit.

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A few stray, sexually oriented comments between co-workers aren’t enough to support a full-blown sexually hostile work environment lawsuit. But you can prevent serious legal trouble by stepping in before it gets out of hand.

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Ordinarily, if an employer can show it decided to terminate an employee before she announced her pregnancy, a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit won’t succeed. But employers that try to make a better case for termination by whipping up a new performance appraisal that emphasizes poor performance can wind up handing the employee an easy lawsuit victory.

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Employees at the Manhattan flagship store of Victoria’s Secret received raises of between $1 and $2 per hour recently, and say it’s all because of a petition started on the advocacy website www.change.org.

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Cold Spring Harbor-based Vamco Sheet Metal faces an EEOC sex discrimination lawsuit resulting from its work on an expansion on the campus of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice be­­tween 2009 and 2011.

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Beginning Jan. 30, most ­employers with employees working in New York City will be required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees.

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When a supervisor expresses clear illegal bias, fire her. Otherwise, her attitude may taint any subsequent termination decisions involving members of the protected class the manager harbors resentment about.

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Employers have long believed that they could restrict access to information about wages and benefits so employees couldn’t discuss pay rates, raises and so on. If that’s the case at your workplace, check with your attorney. The prohibition may run afoul of the NLRA, which covers the right to unionize.

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