The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

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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Several states, including New York, Massachusetts, California and Illinois, are cracking down on sales tax cheats to help fill state coffers drained by the tanking economy, the Associated Press recently reported.

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The EEOC has sued the Grand Central Partnership—the business-improvement district association for Midtown Manhattan—claiming it refused to accommodate four security guards who wear dreadlocks as required by their Rastafarian religious beliefs …

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Gone are the days when employers could accommodate employees’ religious practices by being flexible about who worked Saturdays and Sundays. Today, employers may have to offer additional prayer breaks in the middle of the workday, too …

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A class of more than 400 current and former managers at Gristede’s grocery stores won summary judgment in federal court on claims that the New York City chain violated the FLSA by treating them as both salaried and hourly employees …

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If your employees sign releases agreeing to settle minor employment-related claims out of court, make sure the language is broad enough to actually stop any further litigation …

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Employees who claim they have been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic such as age or disability have to show that they suffered an adverse employment action. They can’t simply point to a poor performance evaluation.

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Want to avoid needless lawsuits from disgruntled applicants? Adopt some basic rules for handling the selection process, and pay special attention to the all-important job description and interview. As the following case shows, employers that follow some simple rules probably won’t lose a hiring discrimination lawsuit …

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Trying to come up with a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee? Need more information on her limitations before you can look for possible open positions that may allow her to work? Make sure someone takes charge of coordinating the process so nothing falls through the cracks …

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