The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 87
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The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

A federal court has dismissed a case that could have created big headaches for any employer trying to prevent a discharged employee from receiving unemployment compensation benefits.

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Employees who use up their FMLA leave may still be entitled to more time off when that leave expires. Some additional time off can be a legitimate reasonable accommodation under the ADA. But if the employee still can’t return after additional leave, it may be time to discuss termination.

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New York employers in the hotel and restaurant industry have a new pay rule to work with, changing how tip income is handled and tweaking other details that affect how much pay workers take home.

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Employees at Century 21 Department Stores in New York City and Long Island undergo searches every time they leave the store for breaks and at the end of the day. They say the process sometimes takes 15 minutes or longer. The problem: Century 21 makes them clock out first. Employees say that violates the FLSA.

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Employers are generally free to develop their own internal policies, but many laws require employers to notify employees of those policies. Consider the case of Jones v. City of Atlantic City in which an FMLA dispute revealed that Atlantic City hadn’t updated its handbook in 13 years. In fact, the last update happened two months before the FMLA was signed into law.

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Employers everywhere must be extra cautious about discipline that could be construed as retaliation now that the U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed that the fiancé of a woman who filed an EEOC discrimination complaint was protected from retaliation by their mutual employer.

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Sometimes, it’s useful to ask for an employee to comment on allegations that could lead to his discharge. For example, in the following case, the employer was about to fire a worker for omitting prior employment from his job application. Before doing so, the employer directly asked if that had, in fact, happened.

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It almost always makes sense for the same manager who hired a member of a protected class to also terminate that employee if necessary. Courts presume that someone who is prejudiced would not hire someone who belongs to a protected class, only to turn around and fire the same employee due to prejudice.

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Good news if you use arbitration agreements: They apply to former employees who claim retaliation based on protected activity. The potential result: You’re less likely to wind up defending a lawsuit in federal court.

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Before an employee can claim his employer retaliated, he has to show he engaged in a protected activity. But vague claims aren’t enough.

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