The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Here’s some good news: Just because a supervisor says or does something stupid or tasteless doesn’t mean the employer will suffer. Take an isolated incident that might be characterized as odd or creepy. While perhaps uncomfortable for the employees involved, most of the time it won’t result in a successful lawsuit.

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Here’s a cautionary tale about ignoring a young employee’s plea for help and also ignoring her lawsuit later. Both courses of action may cost dearly—in this case, well over a million dollars.

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If you have to make a schedule change after someone returns from FMLA leave, be sure you have legitimate business reasons.

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Two restaurants in Fishkill and Wappingers Falls, N.Y. face charges that their owner regularly denigrated Hispanic employees and insisted they speak English on the job.

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Supervisors sometimes make comments that in retrospect may have been insensitive. That doesn’t mean an employee has a “get out of jail free” card for misbehaving. You can still discipline an insubordinate employee.

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The end of the year saw a flurry of activity from workplace reg­­ulators in New York. Employers should note several recent legal developments.

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Under a new standard, many contingent employment arrangements may open the door to union organizing activities.

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Government employees have limited First Amendment rights at work to voice concerns of “public importance.” But the right doesn’t extend to causing confrontations outside of work when the speech has nothing to do with public issues.

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Consider this before dismissing a request for reinstatement or new job application from a former employee: She may be trying to set up a lawsuit alleging that turning her down amounted to retaliation. Don’t fall into that trap.

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A former intern is suing Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Dualstar entertainment, alleging she received neither pay nor college credit for four months of work. The former intern seeks to make the suit a class action by including 40 other interns.

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