The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

The New York workers’ compensation system was set up as a no-fault system to compensate employees injured while working. There’s a powerful presumption under the system that any death that occurs during working hours is covered, at least if there’s an arguable claim that it was work-related. That’s why employees who have fatal heart attacks at work may sometimes be covered …

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Employers and workers’ compensation carriers can sometimes be partially reimbursed for workers’ comp payments if prior injuries contributed to an employee’s inability to work. But applying to the Special Disability Fund requires careful completion of the application forms—the agency that handles such requests is often a stickler for details, and courts usually uphold the agency’s decisions …

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Dancers at Scores, a nationwide chain of strip clubs, have filed a back-wage lawsuit over unpaid overtime, underpaid wages and the club’s practice of skimming 10% of their tips. The lawsuit was filed by a former employee of the chain’s northern New Jersey location, but seeks to represent more than 100 Scores employees …

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The EEOC is investigating a lawsuit by a former junior trader at SAC Capital Partners, headquartered in Stamford, CT, claiming his boss forced him to take female hormones and then sexually assaulted him …

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Having a clear, comprehensive and responsive harassment policy in place—and advertising its existence—is the best way to prevent a hostile work environment. Not coincidentally, that’s also the best way to avoid legal trouble. Not only can a policy prevent harassment by letting everyone know what’s unacceptable, but it also ensures employees who believe they have been victims of harassment can’t claim ignorance of the available remedies …

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Employers that change benefits plans beware! Employees are entitled to know when their benefits will change under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). It’s best to make sure everyone knows about the changes before they go into effect—especially if the new plan requires the employee to do something to qualify for a benefit …

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Unlike several other forms of discrimination—such as discrimination based on perceived disability—being mistaken for a member of a religious group and then being discriminated against based on that mistaken association isn’t illegal …

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Don’t try to put up artificial barriers to discourage employees returning from medical leave. The employee probably won’t go away quietly. In fact, he may file a lawsuit alleging some form of discrimination under federal or New York employment law. What’s more, a court probably will allow a trial …

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No doubt, you’ve read about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to enforce the nation’s immigration laws by cracking down on employers that hire and employ illegal immigrants. So you might be surprised to learn that a New York state court has ruled that even an illegal immigrant who admits he forged his I-9 documentation and was fired can sue for state wage-law violations …

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Peter Giaccio Jr., a boilermaker for New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT), sued the department for leaking the results of a random drug test that revealed marijuana use. Giaccio, being in a “safety-sensitive” position, was subject to random testing, which he failed twice …

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