The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

A lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court in July describes a lurid and hostile scene at Morgan Stanley. A former client-services associate in the Melville, Long Island, office alleges her boss, a broker, stuck his hand up her skirt, stole underwear from her gym bag, sent her offensive notes and suggested they have sex. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of sex-bias suits that have already cost the firm $100 million …

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Ted Doudak, president of Riva Jewelry Manufacturing in Long Island, was forced to testify in court whether he believes homosexuality is a sin against God, and gays and lesbians are doomed to eternal damnation. The former employee who brought the lawsuit claims he was fired a day after telling Doudak that the employee’s daughter is a lesbian and the employee is gay …

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A Federal Court of Appeals recently ruled that auto mechanics paid on a flat-rate system are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court found that the flat-rate system used in the auto repair industry is akin to a commission system for FLSA purposes. The case opens the door for some employers to restructure their pay system to avoid costly overtime …

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Having trouble finding the best way to explain to employees that it’s in their best interest to maintain a harassment-free environment? Try this persuasive sentence: Co-workers who participate in discriminatory conduct can be held personally liable for damages. Or explain it this way: If co-workers name-call, harass or otherwise discriminate against another co-worker, their assets—house, car and personal possessions—are on the line …

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Employees who quit their jobs because they can’t get along with a co-worker usually aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation payments. But what if the difficult co-worker is actually making offensive and possibly discriminatory comments? …

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The EEOC has filed suit against Merrill Lynch, claiming the brokerage firm discriminated against Majid Borumand, a former employee who is an Iranian Muslim. So far, the two can’t agree even on Borumand’s job title …

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Ingredients: The Manhattan restaurant scene’s need for beautiful faces out front; an immigrant back-of-the-house work force; one superstar chef. Mix well and stand back. The dish: A discrimination stew too good for the EEOC to resist …

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Thousands of cashiers, clerks, bakers and other hourly employees received the go-ahead for a class-action suit against the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, the Food Emporium and Waldbaum’s, all part of parent company A&P, for unpaid overtime dating back to 1998 …

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A Pentecostal bus driver fired by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for refusing to wear pants because it violated her religious beliefs has sued and is receiving legal aid from an Orthodox Jewish organization. Agudath Israel of America came to her aid because Orthodox Jewish women, like Pentecostals, can wear only skirts …

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When Armonk, NY-based IBM announced it would change its pension programs in 2008, the company promised employees a financial-planning and education-benefit program to ease the transition …

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