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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

In an era when so few things are certain, it must have been heartening to state labor unions when the New York Legislature and Gov. David Paterson granted them permanent access to state workers’ paychecks. In July, Paterson signed into law a bill that requires all public employees in the state to pay dues …

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Two recent cases exemplify how easy it is for an unaware and unprepared employer to run afoul of employment laws. In one, an employer’s handbook promised more benefits than the law required the company to provide. In another, the employer transferred a disabled employee apparently just to ease a supervisor’s discomfort with dealing with a disabled staff member …

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If you don’t punish it right away, even a single racist comment by a manager can result in an employee filing a racially hostile environment claim. Here’s why: If the employee on the receiving end is also being dealt with harshly by her boss, she can effectively link the comment with the other poor treatment …

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If your organization is operating under a strict federal court order to correct past discrimination, be aware of this reality: The federally appointed special master has vast power to decide whether discrimination is still occurring and to fix it. It’s unlikely you will be able to move a current case directly into federal court for a quick dismissal. Your best bet is to develop a close working relationship with the special master …

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The president and CEO of the Kingsbridge Heights Care Center was arrested in August and charged with failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for more than 400 employees …

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Here’s a surprisingly common situation that presents what looks like a no-win situation for employers: A worker with a high-pressure job and a heavy workload asks for FMLA and short-term disability leave for various minor health problems. The company approves the leave, expecting the employee back after 12 weeks …

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If a fight breaks out at work, make sure you punish everyone involved in the incident according to his or her level of involvement. Don’t terminate one employee and suspend the other unless you have a very good reason for the different treatment …

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Timothy Flynn, a former senior vice president for UBS Financial Services, has filed a lawsuit claiming the Wall Street firm retaliated against him for cooperating with a Massachusetts securities fraud investigation …

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Lou Telerico, a former stockbroker for Merrill Lynch & Co.’s Cleveland operations, has filed a lawsuit claiming the company forced him out after 30 years of service because of his age …

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Some supervisors who micromanage tend to focus on one or two troublesome employees. If those employees belong to a protected class, watch out! Here’s how such cases wind up in court …

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