The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York lost 10,000 union jobs in 2009, but greater contraction in the rest of the state’s economy actually raised the percentage of New Yorkers who belong to a union. Private- and public-sector union jobs in New York fell from 2,029,000 in 2008 to 2,019,000 in 2009.

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Employees who allege they were terminated because they belong to a protected class will have a tough time winning the lawsuit if their replacement belongs to the same class—at least when the new hire comes on board before the terminated employee files her EEOC complaint or lawsuit.

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Home improvement giant Lowe’s is offering free health screenings to its employees. Lowe’s partnerships with health care providers throughout New York mean employees will be able to get free checks of their blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, waist size, hip size, weight, height, body fat percentage and body-mass index.

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Mildred Block had a fine run at Shea Stadium, staffing a lucrative beer stand in a prime location near the right-field cheap seats during Mets games. She averaged $40 per night in tips. The 85-year-old Block had worked the stand for nearly 20 years. But then late in the 2008 season, concession operator Aramark sent Block down to the equivalent of the minor leagues: a booth where she pockets far fewer tips.

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The EEOC has taken up the case of a bartender at Long Island’s Casino Royale gentlemen’s club who claims she was demoted after her boss learned she was pregnant.

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A federal court judge has laid down the law to a serial litigant: The next time he wastes an employer’s time with baseless litigation, he’s going to pay.

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A federal court judge has laid down the law to a serial litigant: The next time he wastes an employer’s time with baseless litigation, he’s going to pay.

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Federal courts don’t have much patience for faulty logic. A U.S. District Court in New York recently issued a particularly stinging rebuke to a nurse whose pregnancy discrimination case hinged on the “fallacious syllogism” that “I was fired; I was pregnant when I was fired; therefore, I was fired because I was pregnant.”

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Goldman Sachs is getting sued a lot these days … and not just by the SEC. Charlotte Hanna claims the embattled investment bank marginalized her after she had two children, effectively barring her from returning to full-time work as a vice president. In a lawsuit charging violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the FMLA, Hanna says taking the bank’s offer of an “off ramp” for executives who wanted to have children derailed her career.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed new drug-screening procedures for employees who operate vehicles as part of their work. Some of the covered jobs: airline pilot, train engineer, mechanic and anyone with a commercial driver’s license. Private employers that test other workers should consider adopting the standard.

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