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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

In a recent case, the NLRB issued a decision holding that a hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act by asking employees who had filed a complaint not to discuss it with co-workers while the investigation was pending. Shortly after, in a different case, the EEOC took a similar position.

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The only appropriate response to a pregnancy announcement is “Congratulations.” No smart aleck comments, no questions about family size, no wondering aloud how long the employee expects to be out. If the pregnant employee asks about leave, her boss should refer her to HR.

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Champagne Demolition in Albany faces an OSHA lawsuit claiming that it illegally fired an employee for reporting improper asbestos removal practices at a company worksite.

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Employees who take FMLA leave can’t be disciplined for work that goes undone while they are out. To avoid confusion, always adjust schedules or find backup to meet inflexible deadlines while the employee who is usually responsible for the work is away.

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Townsend Oil and Propane bought Nichols Oil & Gas in Macedon seven years ago. Turns out, the company also bought liability for harassment committed more than a decade ago by the former owner.

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Because of their youth and inexperience in the workplace, teenage workers are uniquely vulnerable to sexual harassment. It’s your responsibility to prevent harassment—and investigate it if it does occur.

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Good news for employers that use a formal process to invite employees to apply for promotions. Employees who don’t follow that process—instead merely telling their boss that they want to be considered—can’t successfully sue if they’re not promoted.

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Here’s how to win termination lawsuits: Back up your decisions with solid business reasons for the discharge—especially if you had to let people go to reduce labor costs or otherwise survive financial hardship.

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While you should certainly discourage workplace comments that could be misconstrued as hostile, don’t panic if you learn an insensitive supervisor said something stupid. Unless the remarks were out-and-out racist, chances are they won’t be the basis for a hostile environment racial harassment lawsuit.

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The New York General Assembly has amended Section 193 of the New York Labor Law to allow ­employers to make payroll deductions for a wider variety of items. The amendment lets employers deduct the cost of an array of employee benefits previously barred by the state code.

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