The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Employees can file class-action lawsuits on behalf of all similarly situated employees to recover unpaid overtime and other unpaid wages—if they are willing to give up their statutory rights to penalties and liquidated damages under New York State labor laws.

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The City of New York has agreed to pay $25,000 to William Hallowell, a former library assistant at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, for arresting him following an e-mail mix-up at work.

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Is your employee handbook clear on exactly what constitutes maternity leave and how long it lasts? If you plan to permit just the 12 weeks allowed for pregnancy and childbirth under the FMLA, spell that out. Don’t refer to maternity leave separately and then provide a different week or month count …

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Greece Central School District has settled a $1 million age discrimination lawsuit with elementary school teacher Mary Donlon for $235,000.

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Star One Staffing has agreed to pay $113,000 in back wages and damages to 70 Filipino workers who served as waiters, waitresses and bus staff at exclusive Long Island country clubs.

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National Wholesale Liquidators will pay nine South Asian employees $255,000 for subjecting them to a hostile work environment based on their race, national origin and religion, as well as sexual harassment.

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Here’s another reason to strictly enforce a zero-tolerance policy for any sexist, religious or racial comments: Even comments or behavior directed at one individual can create a hostile environment for others who belong to the same protected class.

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A busboy who worked in singer and actor Justin Timberlake’s Manhattan restaurant, Southern Comfort, is suing the star seeking unpaid wages and tips.

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Many employers make mistakes when it comes to classifying employees—either exempt (salaried) or nonexempt (hourly) from the federal overtime rules. Those mistakes can lead to expensive class-action lawsuits. And if employers failed to track hours worked, it makes it all the more difficult to settle the case.

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Age bias has no place in the workplace, and managers are primarily in charge of preventing it. Warn them against making any statements that may indicate management or your organization prefers younger employees to older ones.

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