The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Some employees are difficult, always skating on thin ice. They’re disruptive, don’t listen to directions and pretty much do whatever they want. Even so, employers often hesitate to fire such troublemakers if they’ve recently requested FMLA leave or claimed to be disabled. Don’t be manipulated into keeping those bad apples.

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Before you decide to videotape someone whom you suspect may be abusing FMLA leave, make sure you have a good-faith reason to do so. And be prepared to show that surveillance is a common practice for similar suspicions.

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In a victory for employers, the New York Court of Appeals has limited the reach of both the New York state and New York City human rights laws. The issue arose when Manhattan-based Parade magazine terminated Howard Hoffman, who claimed he was fired because of his age.

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Managers may be reluctant to report potential employee theft to the police, assuming that if they are wrong, they could be sued. But chances are that, if an employer acts in good faith, it won’t be liable—even if it turns out the employee is innocent.

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Managers may be reluctant to report potential employee theft to the police, assuming that if they are wrong, they could be sued. But chances are that, if an employer acts in good faith, it won’t be liable—even if it turns out the employee is innocent.

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The sour economy has every company looking for ways to pinch pennies. If belt-tightening turns into illegality, employers can expect employees to alert the authorities. Virtually every law governing the workplace has a whistle-blower provision.

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Under the ADA, medical exams are allowed only if needed to determine whether an employee requires a reasonable accommodation or if the employer believes the employee will be unable to safely perform the job. But can employers require employees to agree to more extensive medical examinations as a condition of employment? Probably not.

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Here’s some common sense from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals: A co-worker’s isolated idiotic comment isn’t enough to support an entire discrimination lawsuit.

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If an employer has to move people and equipment around to cover an employee’s work during FMLA leave, it may be difficult to reintegrate the returning employee right away. That’s OK. Minor delays aren’t enough to support an interference-with-FMLA-rights lawsuit.

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Everdry Marketing and Management, a waterproofing firm, has paid more than $500,000 to satisfy a judgment won by a group of 13 women who filed sexual harassment claims against the company.

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