The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Beginning this month, the new amendments to the ADA take effect. Among those rules is one that says employees are disabled even if they can mitigate the effects of that disability with medication or other aids …

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If you hire a security company to help keep your workplace safe for customers and employees, make sure your supervisors don’t wind up providing specific direction to the guards the company assigns to your company. If you and your staff resist the temptation to control their every move and give them just general instructions, the security company and its guards remain independent contractors. That’s important for liability reasons.

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The key to a sound discipline policy is equal treatment for all who commit similar offenses. You can’t decide to treat some employees more leniently than others without very good reason. And you’d better nail down that reason at the time you make the decision—not months or years later, after another employee has sued.

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If you have employees or operations in New York City, your sexual harassment and discrimination policies must reflect the strict rules employers are required to follow under the New York City Human Rights Law. It all adds up to a challenging HR environment. Your best bet in New York City—adopt a zero-tolerance policy for any sort of sexual, racial or other harassment.

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Sometimes, you find out pretty quickly that someone you hired isn’t going to work out. While the final decision to terminate may take some time, many supervisors naturally start giving the cold shoulder to bad hires. Such a blow-off may be crass, but it’s not the kind of behavior that commonly puts an employer on the losing end of a lawsuit.

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The EEOC has filed a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit against Sterling Jewelers in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo.

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Two Brooklyn grocers have been charged with underpaying workers by more than $300,000 and falsifying business records. Bienvenido Nuñez, president of the Associated Supermarket in Bushwick, and Martin Duran, vice president, allegedly paid no wages to baggers, who worked for tips …

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Four women who once worked at Hawaiian Tropic Zone—the Times Square restaurant that The Gothamist says “makes Hooters look like Chuck E. Cheese”—have filed a $600 million lawsuit claiming supervisors forced female employees to have sex.

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In most circumstances, employers aren’t going to be held directly responsible if an employee suffers a physical injury because of something a fellow employee did. Instead, such cases are handled through the workers’ compensation system.

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Gov. David Paterson has signed into law the State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which increases employers’ obligations to notify workers of upcoming layoffs. The new state law is tougher on employers than the federal WARN Act.

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