The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

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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Consider this when deciding whether to offer a simple and cheap accommodation to an employee who claims he’s disabled: Offering help doesn’t mean you accept that he’s disabled. You can still challenge his status under the ADA if he sues.

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Sometimes, it pays to be patient. That’s often true when deciding who to terminate when several people are allegedly involved in rule breaking. Conduct an independent investigation, talk to all the individuals involved and come to conclusions based on what the employees said. That way, there’s a good chance a court won’t second-guess your final decision.

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Employees sue over the most trivial workplace incidents. Fortunately, courts have more important things to do than soothe hurt feelings. Busy judges are quickly dismissing cases that are based on nothing more than a few petty incidents.

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A recent case has tested the complex, unwritten rules surrounding the use of the N-word in the workplace—in this case, the successful STRIVE East Harlem temporary agency, which has been profiled on “60 Minutes.”

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced a settlement with a masonry contractor working on New York City’s St. Mark’s senior housing project in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.

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Don’t ignore applicants who have filed prior EEOC complaints against your organization. Give them a fair opportunity to compete for jobs.

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Not sure what to do when it seems as if an employee is going to quit, but she doesn’t explicitly say so? Seek clarification. If you get none, tell her you assume her silence is tantamount to a resignation.

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Watch out if a supervisor suddenly gives a poor performance review to a previously good employee who has recently complained about discrimination. Unless you can clearly show that the employee’s performance was deteriorating, you might be setting yourself up for an otherwise avoidable retaliation lawsuit.

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