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New York Employment Law Blog

3 Major hiring mistakes

It’s exciting — and time-consuming — to prepare to bring a new member of the team on board. You’ve got to clear a budget, establish the role, acquire contract paperwork, determine a reporting structure, clear extra workspace and more!!

But, in the midst of preparing applications and conducting interviews, make sure to avoid these three major hiring mistakes that could seriously harm your business.

How to keep an eye out for age discrimination at your workplace

There is a change happening in workforce demographics and it may require a change in how businesses work with their older workers. The summer of 2018 marked the 50 year anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and a new report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), says that employers can be at a higher risk of age-related discrimination litigation due to a demographic shift in the workplace. 

More businesses offer fur-ternity to pet-owner employees

Many companies have started offering pet-based benefits to their employees.

Adorably dubbed, “fur-ternity” or “paw-ternity,” the newest benefits trend allows employees to spend more time with a new animal they have adopted. Read on to learn more about the steps that should be taken to establish similar pet-based benefits. 

How is recreational marijuana impacting employers?

In 2017, 64 percent of Americans said marijuana use should be legal, according to a Gallup poll. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states and Washington D.C. The use of recreational marijuana is legal in nine states. As public opinion and state laws shift to accept marijuana use, should employers follow suit?

The increasing legalization of marijuana may lead to less employers testing employees for the substance, changes in HR policy and discrimination law discrepancies.

Avoiding discrimination lawsuits in large organizations

For many successful, large organizations, growth of the company means the expansion of a wider range of employee backgrounds. With many diverse backgrounds, cultural and behavioral differences may cause confusion and frustration in the workplace.

Large organizations must take cautious steps in protecting the well-being and security of all employees. Doing so, they can protect their company from a national ethnic or race discrimination lawsuit. Comfortable employees further project the success of the business, and by enforcing anti-discrimination policies, you may prevent the demise of your organization.

When should you investigate a sexual harassment claim?

One thing to remember about sexual harassment: it is about power, not sex. Victims are usually highly avoidant and unwilling to report such instances, which is why a large percentage of sexual harassment claims go unreported. In situations where you have a serial harasser, such claims may not come out of the woodwork until years after one employee or former employee comes forward. Clients and customers can be harassers as well.

Which issues can you handle on your own? When should you contact an attorney? Once a claim of harassment has been made by an employee, do you understand what your responsibilities are? You need the knowledge and resources to conduct a prompt, non-biased, and complete investigation, or you risk making the situation worse.

Court rules in favor of 7-Eleven in employment case

Employers in New York and throughout the country may struggle with how to label their workers. In a case filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, four 7-Eleven franchisees claimed that they were employees of the company. The case was filed in November 2017, and it claimed that all other franchisees were employees of the company. Therefore, they should be allowed to bring claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The plaintiffs claimed that an employment relationship existed because of restrictive policies placed upon them by the company. However, the court found that each party failed to establish that such a relationship existed. For instance, they all admitted that they had the ability to hire or fire employees at their discretion. Furthermore, the franchise owners themselves did not need to be at their stores when they were open.

Judge rules DOL rule invalid in tip credit case

The Fair Labor Standards Act established the federal minimum wage and rules for overtime pay, but the landmark 1938 legislation allows employers in New York and around the country to pay a lower hourly wage to workers who earn tips. What is known as the tip credit has been at the center of a number of contentious labor disputes, and the Department of Labor made its position on the issue clear in 2011 by adopting a controversial rule. The rule declares that tips are a worker's personal property and prohibits employers from using them if they did not claim the credit.

The DOL rule was cited by attorneys representing a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that her employer had violated the terms of the FLSA by not sharing the tips paid by its catering customers. Her arguments failed to convince a federal judge because she was paid an hourly rate of $12 and an overtime rate of $18, which are significantly higher than the federal minimum wage and the federal minimum overtime wage. In affirming the decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit made clear that employers meeting FLSA wage and hour provisions are not required to share tips.

New York considers a law to ban after hours work email

Business Insider reports that the city is working on a new law to limit after hours email expectations for employees. The bill would make it illegal to require employees to check email outside of their regular workday, with a fine for offending companies.

How to handle a sexual harassment claim

For some, a sexual harassment lawsuit is a chance to make a quick payday regardless of the facts in the matter. For New York business owners and top executives that are accused of harassment, it can do damage to their reputations as well as their bank accounts even if the allegation is false. The first step in defending against such a claim is to meet with an attorney who has experience handling such cases.

An attorney should have as much information as necessary to successfully defend a client. This may mean that a manager or owner should reveal any text messages or conversations that may have been misinterpreted as sexual in nature. However, those who are accused of harassment should not reach out to their accusers. Even if it is just an attempt to explain what happened, it could be taken out of context and used against the alleged harasser.

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