Louis DiLorenzo

The Wage Theft Prevention Act, a law designed to end what workers’ rights advocates term “wage theft,” takes effect April 12, but the time to plan is now. The new law has teeth. It expands the New York Department of Labor’s enforcement powers, and as much as quadruples penalties on employers that violate the law.

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Leandra’s Law (the Child Passenger Protection Act) requires anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated in New York to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he or she owns or operates. That’s a condition of the person’s probation or conditional discharge. Leandra’s Law has several important provisions that apply to employers of people who have been convicted of DWI.

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Terminating employees is never easy. Not only do you have to think about the employee’s reaction and those of co-workers who may be worried about their own jobs, you also have to worry whether the employee will sue and how to minimize the risk. One area you have control over is making sure that every terminated employee receives legally mandated termination notices. Here’s a quick guide.

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Despite a summer of political circus distractions in Albany, the New York Legislature continued to crank out laws that further regulate New York employers. Here are some recent changes to New York State laws that you need to take into consideration.

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In two recent decisions, our firm was successful in recovering monetary relief for employers that had either been victimized by employee wrongdoing or unsuccessfully sued by employees. We covered the first case in “Payback time: Employer wanted its money back—and got it!” Now we’ll discuss a case in which an employer recovered substantial court costs because a court applied plain-old common sense when it looked at existing rules.

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Forgive us if we pat ourselves on the back. In two recent decisions, our firm, Bond, Schoeneck & King, was successful in recovering relief against employees. The cases offer good news for employers frustrated with losing money when they haven’t done anything wrong.

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Somehow, despite this summer’s fight over whether Democrats or Republicans controlled the New York State Legislature, members of the Assembly and Senate and Gov. David Paterson found time to amend the New York State Human Rights Law. Effective July 6, 2009, the law expanded the application of civil fines and penalties in cases of employment discrimination occurring on or after that date. The change means the stakes for making an employment law mistake have dramatically risen.

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Q. My company is considering requiring employees to agree to an arbitration clause to resolve any employment disputes, including discrimination complaints. I have been told it is a good risk-management tool for avoiding high legal defense costs and big jury verdicts. Do you agree?

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It’s becoming a common problem: An employer discovers disparaging comments on an employee’s Facebook, MySpace or personal blog. Maybe a post reveals internal company information. Can the employer take disciplinary action? A series of new laws and evolving legal doctrines have placed limits on how far an employer can encroach on the private and off-site activities of its employees.

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Q. An applicant, citing reasons of privacy, has refused to sign the written authorization to permit a background check. What can we do?

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