The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

The Fair Labor Standards Act protects employees and former employees against retaliation for complaining about wage-and-hour violations, including filing lawsuits. For example, an employer can’t try to punish a former employee by providing false negative references or otherwise interfering with someone’s job prospects. Basically, retaliation is anything that would dissuade a reasonable person from making the complaint in the first place. Fortunately, simply asking the former employee if he wants to settle a lawsuit isn’t enough, even if the effort is persistent and makes for an uncomfortable confrontation.

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The owners of New York City-based Strategic Legal Staffing were apparently surprised to learn how litigious lawyers can be. The legal temp agency found out the hard way when it allegedly rejected a job candidate after learning she was 70 years  old.

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Treating an applicant rudely or making snap judgments can mean ending up in court, trying to defend against charges of race or other perceived discrimination. Here’s a case you can use as an example of how not to greet an applicant even if you are sure he won’t be hired.

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The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Dresser-Rand Co., located near Corning, N.Y., violated the National Labor Relations Act when it reinstated workers who crossed the picket line before it hired back those who stayed on strike during labor unrest at the plant.

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The High Court has agreed to hear several cases during its 2015-2016 term that will have significant ramifications for employers.

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A federal jury in Manhattan has awarded a Swedish woman $18 million in her harassment lawsuit against her former Wall Street boss.

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The EEOC has come out with a declaration that federal legislation explicitly prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is unnecessary because it is already prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This is a new and important development in the ongoing efforts of activists to get discrimination protection for all workers, regardless of sexual orientation, preference or other characteristics based on sexuality.

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Q. We created an employee directory in Outlook that contains employee home numbers, cell numbers and addresses. It’s for internal use only. An employee complained. Is there any legal issue with us posting this information? Do we need to get permission from employees?

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A former supervisor at Al-Jazeera America is suing the cable news network—owned by the government of Qatar—claiming he was fired for raising concerns about a senior vice president’s “overt misogynistic behavior.”

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Do you use software for hiring employees that shares candidates’ basic information with other employer-subscribers? If that software also allows you to mark candidates or former employees as not eligible for hire, be aware that doing so may subject you to defamation claims. That’s what one major bank just learned.

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