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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Trying to fire a worker who has made discrimination claims against her supervisors? Think about assigning an impartial fact-finding decision-maker before you discharge.

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You can require employees seeking FMLA leave to have their health care provider submit a certification form estimating how long the medical condition will last. If that or any other part of the certification is left blank, the employer can request clarification.

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When an employer suddenly replaces a long-term employee with a younger, inexperienced one without explanation, the older employee may have enough evidence to file an age discrimination lawsuit and get to trial.

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While adverse actions such as termination are classic examples of retaliation and dissuasion, other acts may also make the cut. For example, a concerted campaign to make fun of or humiliate someone who takes FMLA leave may also violate the law.

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Unfortunately for employers, pro se litigation can take lots of time (and money) to defend. Judges are often willing to indulge employees who act as their own lawyers by providing detailed instructions on how to revise a complaint that would have been summarily dismissed had it come from an attorney.

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In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that employers may include language in arbitration agreements that bars employees from filing class-action lawsuits to resolve employment disputes. It’s a huge win for employers.

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Here are  updates on the interaction between the FMLA and the ADA, and on the U. S. Department of Labor’s new guidance on the FLSA and higher educational institutions.

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The city has paid $605,000 since 2013 to settle four lawsuits accusing Howard Kwait of sexual harassment.

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If the complaint is correct, Staffing Solutions of WNY in Buffalo has managed to violate just about every law the EEOC enforces.

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The unveiling of New York’s 2019 budget made it clear that the state has maintained its focus on curbing sexual harassment in the workplace. The measures affect both private and public employers. Here are some of the highlights.

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An employer with operations in another nation may be able to push any employment-related litigation away from the United States even if some decisions were made in the United States at, for example, corporate headquarters.

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Ignoring a lawsuit won’t make it go away. In fact, it almost certainly means a default judgment in the employee’s favor. Be sure managers and executives understand they must take all legal paperwork seriously.

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When an employee sues his employer, alleging he was denied a promotion because of some form of discrimination, he must at least show that he applied for the promotion. Merely telling his supervisors that he’s interested in possible promotion opportunities isn’t enough when the employer has a formal application process in place.

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Bias plays a part in all discrimination, ranging from race relations to gender and disability stereotypes. Training on implicit or unconscious bias training—if poorly implemented—may backfire, leaving the workplace more divided than it was before.

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Generally, time spent on FMLA leave can’t be counted against an employee when, for example, tallying absences under a no-fault attendance program. However, calculations to figure a production bonus don’t have to “forgive” work missed because of FMLA leave.

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It’s true your organization may not be liable for co-worker harassment if the harassed employee knew how to report harassment but failed to use the system. However, there can still be consequences if a supervisor retaliates against an employee who complained or threatened to complain but didn’t actually report the harassment.

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Business needs or employees’ personal circumstances sometimes change, necessitating a revision of a job’s essential functions to include additional tasks or qualifications. What happens if that means the incumbent holding the job can no longer perform those essential functions—especially if she’s disabled?

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Sometimes, it makes a lot of sense to build a virtual wall between HR staff who handle discrimination complaints and manage litigation and those who review applications and requests for promotion.

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Farmingdale Auto Collision and its owners have agreed to settle charges the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime pay as required by the law.

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The New York Workers Compensation Board has changed its interpretation of regulations governing collection of employee contributions to the state’s paid family leave fund.

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