The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Always record the details of your disciplinary decisions at the time you make them. Document as if you are assuming that litigation will result from every disciplinary act.

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Employees who have been sexually harassed or experienced other forms of discrimination over several years may be able to rely on the so-called continual violation doctrine to extend the period of time they have to sue.

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Romantic relationships at work can spark all sorts of problems, from sexual harassment claims to discrimination. But not every negative consequence of a workplace romance is grounds for litigation, even if one or both paramours ends up being fired.

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There have been two recent developments in New York of particular interest to HR professionals.

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A 10-year veteran of the New York Police Department is suing after being fired for refusing to shave his beard.

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Employers are required to take reasonable steps to stop comments that are particularly offensive. That doesn’t automatically mean you have to fire an offensive employee. You can discipline instead and hope that fixes the problem.

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The list includes terms such as “androgynous,” “gender bender,” “gender gifted,” “third sex” and “pangender.”

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed suit against Domino’s Pizza affiliates and three franchisees, alleging widespread violations of state wage-and-hour laws.

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Employees can’t be held responsible for work not performed while they are out on FMLA medical leave. But that doesn’t mean employers are powerless to discipline an employee for poor performance that’s not related to the medical leave.

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Want to transfer an employee to give her a fresh start after settling an informal complaint? As long as her job remains essentially the same and the position isn’t radically different, such a move probably won’t be viewed as retaliation or another instance of discrimination.

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