The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law, Author at Business Management Daily
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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Nothing in the FMLA specifically prohibits employees who take FMLA leave from moonlighting for another employer. But as long as employers clearly communicate it, it’s perfectly fine to enforce a no-moonlighting policy against any employee, including those who take FMLA leave.

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A federal court has made it clear: If a workplace is found to be a racially hostile environment, individual decision-makers are at risk of being held personally liable. Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 sometimes allows for bigger verdicts and personal liability for supervisors, managers, owners and even HR professionals.

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Employers have an obligation to investigate and come up with an effective way to stop harassment and prevent it from happening again. However, that doesn’t mean the alleged victim gets to choose the remedy.

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Employers that can’t provide a good, business-related explanation for every termination are courting legal trouble. Unless an employer can justify its action, an employee who sues for discrimination will find it relatively easy to get the case in front of a jury.

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In court documents related to the state of New York’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman leveled blistering criticism at the film production firm’s embattled founder Harvey Weinstein. But he wasn’t Schneiderman’s only target.

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The EEOC enforces the nation’s employment discrimination laws. Its strategic plan, issued every five years, presents its overarching plan for carrying out its mission relative to issues emerging in the workplace and the resources available to the commission. The strategic plan gives employers an insight into the EEOC’s enforcement strategy.

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Employers that track poor performance and can clearly justify reasons for discharge rarely lose lawsuits. That’s because, unless there is solid proof of bias, poor performance will always trump spurious arguments about alleged discrimination.

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Remind supervisors to never mention pregnancy in conjunction with hiring or assignments.

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Sometimes, a supervisor and subordinate just don’t get along. While the subordinate may think the reason has something to do with a protected characteristic, that may not be the case. When you receive such a complaint, you obviously must investigate.

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An employee can collect punitive damages even if a jury finds that no other damages are due.

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Employers that have actual knowledge that a hostile work environment exists can’t get off the hook by claiming a worker failed to use an established system for reporting harassment.

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Employers with employees who work from home or far from the main office sometimes find themselves facing litigation in a state far from the main office. Making clear up front that lawsuits can’t be filed elsewhere may help.

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Sometimes, you may want to use a last chance agreement to give a worker who violated your rules a second chance. Make sure supervisors know about it so they can be on the lookout for potential problems.

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Access to internal complaints should be on an as-needed basis. Restricting access to those files limits the number of staff members who can be accused of retaliation.

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When HR staff make disparaging remarks about employees and their medical conditions, you can count on legal trouble.

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Except in very rare circumstances, an employer isn’t obligated to provide an accommodation for a disabled worker who doesn’t ask for one. Otherwise, employers would be stuck having to read their employees’ minds.

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Former employees who sue over their discharge sometimes try to use their employers’ shifting explanations for the termination as evidence that they were fired for discriminatory reasons.

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What you designate as essential functions in a job description can make all the difference when faced with an employee who is demanding reasonable accommodations for a disability.

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The New York City Council has amended the city’s Fair Workweek Law to allow employees to make temporary changes to their work schedules for “personal events.”

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A new ruling by the National Labor Relations Board has defined a joint employer as one that exercises “direct and immediate” control over worker activities. For employers, that’s a welcome return to normal after two years of uncertainty.

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