The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

In this economy, employees who have been fired often resort to litigation. Jobs are scarce and litigation looks lucrative. Smart employers protect themselves by carefully documenting exactly why they fired employees.

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If you set rules for employees to follow, then make sure everyone in the organization follows them. That includes supervisors. Otherwise, your policies aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

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All employees are supposed to be treated equitably, regardless of their protected class. But just as each employee is different, so may discipline sometimes differ. To account for those differences, be very specific about the underlying reasons for your discipline.

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Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to be left alone. Super­visors shouldn’t send work home with the employee or call constantly to check up. That could be considered FMLA leave interference. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get in touch with the em­­ployee about important and urgent matters or enforce your broader call-in policies.

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The former HR director at J. Chris­­to­­­pher Capital has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Manhattan ven­­ture capital firm, claiming the company’s founder stated that he only wanted gay men and beautiful women working for him.

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Generally, pregnancy isn’t a disability under the ADA, nor are pregnancy-related complications. But under some limited circumstances—when pregnancy complications cause separate medical conditions that persist after birth—the employee may qualify as disabled under the ADA.

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Here’s good news for employers trying to manage FMLA leave and prevent abuse: If an employee’s FMLA certification form is incomplete or vague, you can deny leave as long as you gave him a chance to correct the deficiencies.

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Some new parents don’t want to come back to work full time after giving birth. They may prefer a part-time schedule, using intermittent FMLA leave. But you don’t have to allow intermittent leave following birth unless the infant suffers from a serious health condition.

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New Yorkers filed 3,802 discrimination claims with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011, two fewer than the year before, according to data the commission just released.

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Brooklyn’s Flaum Appetizing has settled a long-running pay dispute with 20 Hispanic employees at its Williams­burg plant. The kosher food maker and deli agreed to pay the workers $577,000 to settle the dispute.

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