The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 91
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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

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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When employees take intermittent FMLA leave, it often causes logistical problems for employers. It’s hard to find someone to fill in during just those times when the employee is off. One solution is to find another position for the employee who’s taking intermittent leave. That way, another employee can temporarily fill her old position on a full-time basis.

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It happens all the time: A manager decides to take a chance by hiring a marginally qualified applicant. Then, days later—as the new employee struggles—it becomes clear she can’t do the job. Employers have little choice but to terminate the worker. And then the former employee feels like she has little choice but to sue for some form of discrimination. What’s the best way to avoid those kinds of lawsuits?

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Employees who are transferred against their will often sue for discrimination—especially if the new job is less prestigious and makes the employee feel like she has to quit. For example, in the following case, an older teacher claimed she suffered an adverse employment action when she was demoted to substitute teacher at the same time younger teachers were hired.

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Employees who suffer from mental illnesses shouldn’t be treated any differently than other employees unless there is a very good reason. That means not assuming that the employee can’t function or treating him as if he were a child in need of supervision. Instead, let the employee approach you for help with accommodations. Otherwise, assume all is well.

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If you terminate employees who have used up all their FMLA leave and still can’t come back to work, watch out! Make sure you don’t single out any particular class of employees for firing.

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