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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

A New York State appeals court has concluded that a state trooper who suffered sexual harassment over a period of almost 15 years is entitled to more than just the usual damages. Her attorneys’ fees will be paid separately, leaving the jury award intact for the trooper alone.

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A federal judge in New York, presiding over a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit, has found that First Bankers Trust Services breached its duties of prudence and loyalty to the participants of an employee stock ownership plan sponsored by SJP Group, a New Jersey paving company.

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The chief executive officer of Special Education Associates, a Brooklyn provider of education services for developmentally delayed pre-school children, cost the firm $57,000 for his attempt to woo a job applicant.

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Design Development NYC, a general contractor in Queens, has agreed to pay $726,989 in back wages, overtime and liquidated damages to 184 employees who had been misclassified in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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In the world of controversial show host Bill O’Reilly, personal responsibility has given way to excuses and coddling, prompting the question: Where is good, old-fashioned comeuppance when it is needed? In O’Reilly’s case, we now have an answer to that question.

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Courts are currently working out whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is sex discrimination under Title VII. However, that’s not the only way to challenge anti-gay bias.

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If an employee complains about discrimination, make sure any subsequent discipline is well justified. Sudden discipline against a worker whose record was previously clean can be viewed as retaliation.

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If you fail to keep tabs and the worker sues, it’s generally his word against yours as to how many hours per day and per week the employee worked. That can result in a big back-pay bill, especially if the court doubles the damages as permitted under both federal and state law.

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The EEOC receives over 30,000 harassment complaints each year, and that may just be the tip of the iceberg. One EEOC-com­­missioned survey found that three out of four employees who experience harassment never complain through their employer’s established channels.

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What happens if the employer fails to notify the employee? She may win an FMLA interference lawsuit if she can prove that, had she known, she would have returned to work and could have performed her job.

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