The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Employers can’t retaliate against employees for complaining about alleged discrimination or harassment. But before something is considered retaliatory, it is measured by whether a reasonable employee would find the alleged retaliation severe enough to have dissuaded him from complaining in the first place.

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Few workplaces are perfect, and it’s the rare supervisors who has never uttered an angry word. But some employees are too sensitive to criticism. While yelling and screaming may be uncomfortable, it usually doesn’t reach the level required for a court to conclude that it’s hostile.

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Hospitality giant Carlson Restaurants faces a class-action suit alleging numerous Fair Labor Standards Act violations at the TGI Fridays casual dining chain.

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The best approach to dealing with declining performance is careful and meticulous record-keeping showing expectations and how the employee isn’t meeting them. Objective facts trump the employee’s feelings that she is being discriminated against for some reason.

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A Manhattan chef will see her largest payday ever after a state appellate court upheld a $1.6 million judgment against her former employer. Edward Globokar, owner of Tribecamex, will fork over the big bucks to his openly lesbian chef.

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New legislation that went into effect April 10 is intended to curtail misclassification of transportation industry workers as independent contractors instead of employees.

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The EEOC had one of its long-running cases dismissed after a federal judge in Buffalo criticized the commission’s handling of a discrimination case against Sterling Jewelers.

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Some employees seem to think that any uncomfortable situation at work can become the basis for a lawsuit. Fortunately, they are wrong. Co-workers don’t always get along, but that’s hardly grounds for a hostile work environment charge.

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Here’s a tip that can save you from a needless lawsuit: Make sure managers and supervisors aren’t using their own judgment about who deserves a job accommodation for medical reasons.

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Sometimes, employers don’t learn about alleged discrimination or harassment until an employee brings up the claim when facing discharge for other reasons. If that happens, how should you respond?

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