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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

Some employees think that merely having a serious medical or mental condition is enough to warrant ADA protection. But that’s not true.

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It happens—employers make mistakes. Under most circumstances, however, those mistakes won’t turn into successful employee discrimination lawsuits. That’s because employees have to prove that both the decision and the underlying facts were wrong and were used as an excuse to discriminate.

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When disciplining conduct that violates company policies, remember that you have leeway to come up with appropriate punishment based on the specifics of each incident. Just make sure you document the conduct, what rules it violated and why each employee deserved the punishment he or she received.

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Employers are used to breathing a sigh of relief when 300 days pass without learning that a former employee has filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC or the New York State Division of Human Rights. They assume that missing the deadline means the employee won’t be able to sue. Not so fast!

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Educators in Rochester are suing Jean-Claude Brizard, who headed the city’s school system for three years before being tapped to run Chicago’s schools.

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Here’s a tip for employers that make snap decisions and then quickly reconsider: Don’t hesitate to fix the problem; that could convince a court to toss out a lawsuit.

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Does this sound familiar? An employee you fired for cause is either unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for poor performance and files a lawsuit claiming unlawful discrimination. The pending litigation forces the em­ployer into a sticky dilemma …

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As an employer, you want to eliminate accidents. But paying particular attention to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s safety recommendations for older workers should make your workplace safer for everyone.

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Until now, courts have frequently concluded that a woman who is fired for undergoing fertility treatments—that is, fired before becoming pregnant—probably isn’t covered by the Pregnancy Dis­crimination Act. But now a court has concluded that women who undergo in vitro fertilization efforts are protected under the PDA. That’s because only women can undergo the process.

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Former Ropes & Gray partner Patricia Martone is suing the multinational law firm for age and sex discrimina­tion and ERISA violations. According to her complaint, senior partners pressured her to turn over some of her key clients to younger, male partners. When Martone refused, she says, she was fired.

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