The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Here’s a way to create management problems and encourage potential lawsuits: Just tell minority managers and supervisors that they can expect their subordinates to harass them and ignore directives because of prejudice in the ranks.  The correct approach: Have a solid anti-harassment policy in place and enforce it …

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When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Lilly Ledbetter case in 2007, employers were thrilled. The court ruled that employees have to move fast after being denied a promotion or experiencing some other allegedly discriminatory act. Otherwise, they lose the right to sue for sex discrimination. But now, that tight deadline is beginning to slip as federal trial courts look for ways to give employees their day in court …

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Some employees—confronted with their own shortcomings—insist on deflecting blame. Perhaps they try to argue that so-and-so—who doesn’t belong to the same protected class—always gets away with the same poor work and conduct that they’re being criticized for. If you truly believe there is no merit to such an employee’s allegations, you probably don’t need to sweat it …

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The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, upheld the firing of Karen Kridel, a former paralegal with Dibble & Miller, PC, in Rochester, for taking smoking breaks. Kridel customarily took two five-minute breaks from her work each day to smoke …

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Do criminal background checks lead to bias? The EEOC will have to weigh that question when it investigates discrimination charges filed against Madison Square Garden by Charlene Clarke. Clarke, a black woman from the Bronx, accepted a food worker position at The Garden in September 2007. One month later, the arena withdrew its offer after Clarke’s background check revealed a misdemeanor assault charge …

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“The World’s Most Famous Arena” faces a discrimination lawsuit by a suite attendant, Laura Ward, who claims she was denied a prime assignment because of her gender …

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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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