The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

When employees take intermittent FMLA leave, it often causes logistical problems for employers. It’s hard to find someone to fill in during just those times when the employee is off. One solution is to find another position for the employee who’s taking intermittent leave. That way, another employee can temporarily fill her old position on a full-time basis.

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It happens all the time: A manager decides to take a chance by hiring a marginally qualified applicant. Then, days later—as the new employee struggles—it becomes clear she can’t do the job. Employers have little choice but to terminate the worker. And then the former employee feels like she has little choice but to sue for some form of discrimination. What’s the best way to avoid those kinds of lawsuits?

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Employees who are transferred against their will often sue for discrimination—especially if the new job is less prestigious and makes the employee feel like she has to quit. For example, in the following case, an older teacher claimed she suffered an adverse employment action when she was demoted to substitute teacher at the same time younger teachers were hired.

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Employees who suffer from mental illnesses shouldn’t be treated any differently than other employees unless there is a very good reason. That means not assuming that the employee can’t function or treating him as if he were a child in need of supervision. Instead, let the employee approach you for help with accommodations. Otherwise, assume all is well.

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If you terminate employees who have used up all their FMLA leave and still can’t come back to work, watch out! Make sure you don’t single out any particular class of employees for firing.

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The New York Department of Labor has released new Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act regulations that are more stringent than federal WARN Act provisions. Employers with at least 50 workers (including part-timers) are covered. That means those employers must provide 90 days’ notice of a mass layoff, plant closing or relocation.

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In a case with implications for Albany-area nurses, Illinois nurses have settled a lawsuit that claimed Chicago-area hospitals colluded to depress wages in violation of antitrust laws. Nurse Alliance, affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, has filed a similar suit against Albany-area hospitals.

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In a case with implications for Albany-area nurses, Illinois nurses have settled a lawsuit that claimed Chicago-area hospitals colluded to depress wages in violation of antitrust laws. Nurse Alliance, affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, has filed a similar suit against Albany-area hospitals.

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Sometimes, the best lessons are learned from the worst examples. That’s often the case with HR management. When employers make big mistakes and have to pay for them in court, other employers with good practices—that maybe need just a little tweaking—can discover what not to do.

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Employees who are fired shortly after complaining about a manager’s supposed discriminatory attitude may assume that the complaint led to the termination. And they’re almost sure to sue. To stop such lawsuits from going far, make sure the manager in question has nothing to do with the final decision to terminate. That’s good advice even if you don’t think he or she did anything wrong.

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