The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Some employers mistakenly think that if they terminate an em­­ployee who isn’t yet eligible for FMLA leave, the employee can’t sue. While you may not be violating the FMLA, you may violate other laws that protect the worker.

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Sometimes, employees complain about racial harassment but don’t sue right away. Don’t think the problem will go away just because no one has filed an EEOC complaint.

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Sometimes, business conditions require companies to implement reductions in force. Before you put your HR seal of approval on who stays and who goes, be sure that hidden discrimination isn’t influencing the decisions.

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A woman doesn’t have to be pregnant to sue for discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Wait, what?

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced a settlement with federal contractor MDG Design & Construction, the prime contractor on the Grand Street Guild public housing construction project on New York’s Lower East Side.

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Politics sometimes come up when co-workers talk. As long as what’s said isn’t overtly offensive, those discussions don’t create a hostile work environment—even if some employees are sensitive about the subject matter.

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On June 19, 2014, New York Assembly and Senate passed legislation eliminating a Wage Theft Prevention Act requirement that employers must provide wage notices to all employees by Feb. 1 each year.

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You may think that settling a class-action lawsuit puts an end to the matter, stopping further claims by an employee who was a member of the class. If you know an employee has filed another EEOC complaint or lawsuit, be sure to tell your attorney when the class-action suit is being settled. Otherwise, you may soon be back in court.

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Sometimes, after an employee has been discharged, a supervisor will discover that the employee broke additional rules. But even if what you discover would be enough to have justified discharge on its own, chances are a court won’t let you use the information in your defense. After-acquired evidence isn’t admissible to show you would have fired the employee for reasons other than the one you used.

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If an employer can present a coherent and rational explanation for why economics—not retaliation—drove a RIF decision, chances are a court won’t second-guess it.

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