The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations that allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. If those accommodations turn out to be unreasonable—that is, they prove to be an undue burden on the employer—then they can be withdrawn. What it means: There’s no harm in trying an accommodation.

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The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee who was passed over for a promotion can’t later use the poor performance of the person who got the job to prove the decision was discriminatory. The case shows that courts are willing to let employers make mistakes; they won’t micromanage hiring and promotion decisions.

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Employees who are disabled after an injury on the job often apply for workers’ compensation. Receiving those benefits, however, isn’t a bar to asserting ADA and state disability claims, as a federal court hearing a New York case recently concluded.

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A recent federal court decision means you’ll now have to go the extra mile to prove that your worker is an independent contractor, not an employee. Advice: Take steps to document exactly why you believe someone is an independent contractor when you begin using his or her services.

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Managers of the massive federally funded Starrett City housing complex in Brooklyn have settled with the EEOC, bringing a halt to a lawsuit that accused the management company of disability discrimination after it allegedly failed to promote an employee because he suffers from attention deficit disorder.

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In a Brookings Institution report titled “Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment,” the New York/Long Island/Northern New Jersey metropolitan area ranked second in the country (just behind Virginia Beach, Va.) with 34.8% of its jobs located within three miles of the city center.

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If you have to terminate employees during a reorganization, you can expect some of them to sue you. If that happens, don’t assume the court will blithely accept a general reorg as the reason why a particular employee lost her job. Be ready with a specific explanation why you terminated each one.

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Think your performance evaluations are tough? Try being an NFL quarterback. Bizjournals ranked all 36 NFL quarterbacks who threw at least 160 passes during the 2008 season to see who delivered the most bang for the buck. Last season’s New York Jets QB Brett Favre placed 34th out the 36 signal callers rated.

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The World Health Organization raised the swine flu alert to its highest level, saying the H1N1 virus has reached global pandemic levels. Your best HR defense is a good offensive plan to handle the logistical and employment law issues …

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