Month: September 2010

LUNCH AND OTHER BREAKS UNDER NEW YORK STATE LAW

          Workplace breaks in New York are governed by New York State Labor Law §162.   Pursuant to that statutory section, every person employed at or in connection with a factory must be given a sixty (60) minute (i.e. one hour) break for the noon day meal.  Employees employed in connection with a mercantile (i.e. a …

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WRITTEN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS: ARE THEY RIGHT FOR YOUR COMPANY?

            A written employment contract sets forth the basic, material terms of an employee’s employment relationship with his/her employer.  Whether or not your company should enter into an employment contract with an employee must be determined on a case-by-case basis.              There are basically two types of employment contracts:  at-will employment contracts, and employment contracts …

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TRAINING YOUR WORKFORCE ON DISCRIMINATION/HARASSMENT TO AVOID CLAIMS AND LIABILITY

          Creating an Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy, and regularly training your employees regarding the company’s policies and procedures, may be the single most important step you can take to protect your company against claims of unlawful employment practices.              In order to be effective, the policy promulgated should (1) define and give examples of unlawful discrimination/harassment, (2) …

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MAKE SURE EMPLOYEES TAKE THEIR REQUIRED BREAKS!

          In late August, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced that The Walt Disney Company has agreed to pay backpay in the amount of $433,333.00 to 69 inventory control clerks in its food and beverage department.  This was for work done before and after the employees’ regular shifts, during meal …

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MORE CLAIMS FILED UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) IN 2009

            The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency which regulates and enforces the federal anti-discrimination statutes, recently announced that more individuals with disabilities filed charges last year than at an other time in the twenty (20) year history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Almost 20,500 ADA-related claims were filed with that …

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NEW YORK COURT PERMITS RETALIATION CLAIM FOR UNPAID OVERTIME COMPLAINT

          A New York City judge has ruled that two beauty salon employees who claim they were fired in retaliation for complaining that they had been denied overtime pay have stated a claim for damages under the New York State Labor Law.  In doing so, the court overruled an appeal’s court precedent in a similar …

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NURSE WHO RESIGNED OVER ETHICAL CONFLICT DEEMED ENTITLED TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS

           An upstate appeals court has confirmed a decision from the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board which held that a nurse who quit her employment when certain ethical concerns she raised with her employer’s management went unaddressed was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.              Jane Emery worked as a per diem clinical nurse who provided supplemental coverage …

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ANTI-DISCRIMINATION/ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICES ARE HELD TO NOT SHIELD EMPLOYERS FROM DISCRIMINATION AND/OR HARASSMENT CLAIMS BROUGHT PURSUANT TO NEW YORK CITY LAW

          It has long been settled that an employer may, in many instances, avoid liability under the State and Federal statutes governing employment discrimination and harassment if it has an effectively publicized and well-enforced anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policy.  This is known as the “Faragher-Ellerth” affirmative defense, named after the United States Supreme Court decisions which articulated the …

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