The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Ever since the United States Supreme Court decided its first same-sex harassment case, employers have struggled to define what is illegal same-sex harassment and what’s not. Now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has provided some employer guidance in a case involving male-on-male harassment.

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Here’s a heads-up about a possible new form of sex discrimination litigation. A father who can’t work overtime because he has child-care responsibilities may have a case if he can show that mothers were treated more favorably than fathers when it comes to flexible schedules. So ruled a federal court in New York.

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Some employers think they can ignore federal wage-and-hour rules because they are small and don’t hit the $500,000 annual sales volume required to be covered by the FLSA. That rarely works because merely engaging in interstate commerce by using uniforms and cleaning supplies may be enough.

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The NYPD has agreed to a settlement in a disability discrimination case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. An applicant for a school crossing guard position had filed the complaint and later sued, alleging that the NYPD required a physical examination im­­mediately upon completion of a job application.

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Here’s some good news: If you have complete and accurate time records, an employee’s claims that he just “knows” what hours others work isn’t going to be enough to keep a lawsuit moving.

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There’s a quick and easy way to determine whether your bonus payment program might be tainted by hidden sex discrimination in violation of either the federal Equal Pay Act or the New York Human Rights Law.

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The NLRB has ordered a Plainview catering and food-service company to hand over reams of financial information to the United Food and Commercial Workers union to use in contract negotiations.

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According to a recent 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, when the alleged harassment comes from customers and others over whom the employer has limited control, the rules regarding co-worker harassment apply.

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Some things in life are certain. Like death and taxes, litigation follow­ing a firing after a discrimination complaint will happen. The reason: Judges are reluctant to toss out retaliation claims without first hearing all the evidence.

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When business is down and you need to make cost-saving cuts, it can be tempting to use that as an excuse to shed a “troublemaking” employee. Don’t do it.

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