Effective January 30, 2014, a new statute in New York City requires employers with four or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to a pregnant employee or an employee recovering from childbirth or a related medical condition if the employee requests an accommodation and the accommodation will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of her job.
Specifically, on October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Local Law 78 of 2013 and in the last few months, as part of its obligations under the new law, the New York City Human Rights Commission has released a written notice that employers must provide to:
- All new hires at the start of the employment; and
- All current employees on or before January 30, 2014
Attorney Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” suggests ways to minimize litigation that may arise from situations brought on during corporate holiday parties.
Mr. Sack’s tips include:
- Distribute a zero tolerance memo for sexual harassment. The document should define what constitutes inappropriate behavior and remind workers that anyone who commits sexual harassment before, during, or after the party will be subject to strict penalties, including possible immediate dismissal.
- Consider making the party an alcohol-free event. If alcohol is served, then the company should hire experienced bartenders only (as opposed to volunteer company employees), who are trained to stop serving liquor to those who have imbibed too much. The company should also consider offering car service where applicable.
- Schedule the party when office hours have concluded to avoid claims of failing to pay wages and overtime for hourly workers who attend the function or are required to attend.
- Consider having the event at a location away from, or not affiliated with the company. This will reduce the risk of theft of company property, trade secrets, or other valuable assets that can go missing at such events.
- Inform employees to act discreetly when taking pictures. Posting photographs on social networking sites that are provocative or embarrassing can be detrimental to the business. This is the not the kind of publicity any employer desires.
“The holiday season should be a time for celebration,” said Mr. Sack. “However, when rejoicing with colleagues during such festivities, employees should keep these instructions in mind. There is no need to ruin an enjoyable experience with unfortunate incidents that could have been easily avoided.
Attorney Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” was recently interviewed by Newsday in which an operating engineer at a not-for-profit hospital asked if the employer was being intrusive about his ailments. Mr. Sack says the hospital has certain legal rights to be informed of a worker’s injury or illness, but must be careful not to use an employee’s health information when making human resources decisions.
The employee suffered a broken foot as the result of falling off a ladder. After missing six months of work, the employee returned with a doctor’s note that cleared the employee to return to work. However, the human resources specialist — who is also a physician’s assistant (PA) — wanted to see if the employee had regained enough strength in the foot that was broken by performing exercises by walking around the room.
Also Calls for Financial Compensation for Performing Certain Work Duties
Attorney Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” says that college students who perform work duties at companies without pay should be extended the same protection from sexual harassment in the workplace as their paid counterparts. He says that the fact that they are unpaid should not make them more susceptible targets of their co-workers’ or supervisors’ unwanted advances.
New York State Senator Liz Krueger recently introduced legislation calling for interns to be given the same civil rights in the office as those to which paid employees are entitled under state law. The bill would further define internships, explicitly ban sexual harassment of interns in the workplace and apply these protections to interns. The bill was in response to a federal judge’s dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an intern against her supervisor, who she claimed groped and attempted to kiss her. The judge ruled that unpaid interns were not protected under New York City’s human rights law.
As an employee you have many responsibilities. As a result you treasure the time you have off to enjoy your life with family and friends doing the things you love to do. A nice vacation, a golf outing, or maybe just a day at home relaxing are all activities many employees look forward to during the year. But can an employer monitor your activities and penalize you for legal activities outside the office? The answer is more complex than you would think.
Here’s a section of my book “The Employee Rights Handbook” just that. Get informed and know your rights!
An employer has certain rights to manage his/her business as he/she seems fit, and to ensure a safe working environment. However, an employee, as well as a private individual has certain privacy rights that the law protects. So where is the line drawn between what an employer is allowed to search for and where? And when does an employer’s actions cross the line regarding a search.
As an employee, it is vital to know your rights and to know what to look out for as possible violations by an employer. Here’s a section of my book “The Employee Rights Handbook” that deals with this area of the law and gives you a glimpse into what kind of questions you should be asking yourself to ensure your employer’s actions are legal. Get informed and know your rights!
Finding a job is hard enough without having to worry about the integrity of your employer. However, the amount of scams out there is numerous and if a potential employee is not careful, they can be the victim of one that can have major consequences for their career. It is vital to get informed and know what to ask and look for in a potential employer.
Here’s a section of my book “The Employee Rights Handbook” that deals with tips an employee should know before taking any position at a company. Get informed and know your rights to see how these laws may affect you!
Attorney Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” is scheduled to appear on tonight’s edition of “Today’s Verdict,” which airs at 6:30 p.m. on BronxNet.
Mr. Sack will discuss employees’ privacy rights when it comes to their employers, namely the employees’ health information. The topics include whether employers can collect their employees’ health information and possibly use it against them and how the workers and the company (in the interest of a business) can protect themselves from such conduct. Read more
The Employer’s Responsibilities Regarding Immigration
Immigration is a controversial topic, especially in the last ten years. And no matter what side of the spectrum you are on, there is one thing for sure: the law is the law.
Here’s a section of my book “The Employee Rights Handbook” that discusses inspections and employer’s immigration law requirements.