The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Even a small gender-based pay differential may be­­come the foundation of a class-action lawsuit.

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Sometimes, like life, supervisors are unfair. But unless there’s some other problem, being treated unfairly isn’t grounds for a lawsuit. Employees have to show that something illegal motivated the unfairness, such as racial or gender bias. Just saying that was the reason isn’t enough, either.

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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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