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January 2018 Archives

FLSA defense based on failure to mitigate damages

The case of a disgruntled ferry boat operator in another state illustrates a potential defense strategy for employers in New York confronted by accusations of retaliatory discharge. Someone citing the Fair Labor Standards Act when suing a former employer could pursue damages that include back pay, front pay while unemployed, legal costs and reinstatement to a position. To control the potential costs of a settlement, an employer might exploit an angle known as failure to mitigate damages resulting from the termination.

Federal appeals court allows arbitration for FLSA claims

A decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which includes New York, has affirmed the legality of employer-imposed arbitration requirements for claims involving the Fair Labor Standards Act. Although a previous ruling from the 2nd Circuit had required court supervision of settlements reached through arbitration, the panel of judges did not view this requirement as a ban on arbitration. The judges did not link judicial review of settlements with a prohibition on alternative dispute resolution methods.

Why NY banned credit checks for most hiring processes

New York is a leader in fighting discrimination through passing laws to help encourage fairness and equality. The same is true when deciding who to hire for your business. In an attempt to gain as much information on a possible candidate, you may find yourself infringing upon state legislature that prohibits certain interview questions and procedures. This includes requiring credit checks for non-government employees or applicants who are seeking a position within a financial institution where large amounts of funds will be handled regularly.

How employers should handle sexual harassment reports

With sexual harassment frequently in the news, some employers may wonder if they are taking sufficient measures to protect themselves if an employee alleges that harassment is taking place. There are several dos and don'ts for employers in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Poll finds disagreement on sexual harassment definition

Sexual harassment in the workplace has become a major issue with film producer Harvey Weinstein facing allegations and a "me too" hashtag on social media in which people recount their own experiences with being sexually harassed. Among employees, there could be disagreement about what constitutes sexual harassment, and this could lead to problems for New York employers who are trying to develop a sexual harassment policy. Reuters/Ipsos conducted an online opinion poll from Dec. 13 to 18 and found that most people agreed that kissing and groping without consent was sexual harassment but were divided on other acts.

New York protects meal breaks for retail workers

Retail workers often have a variety of shifts. Some retail employees only work a few hours each week, while others work full-time. Sometimes, employees will take a longer shift to cover for a coworker. Amid the chaos of scheduling, employers must respect the laws that protect workers’ breaks. Meal periods, for example, are a special kind of break that New York requires in some situations.