What You Should Know Before Hiring an Intern

Whether or not an intern is paid is usually a deciding factor in considering hiring one. While many internships are not paid, labor laws usually allow the intern to work for college credit. However, there are restrictions to this exception. An internship must abide by specific criteria in order to be exempt from the Minimum Wage Act and Orders, which outlines New York’s laws regarding pay and overtime. In order to be exempt from this law, an intern cannot be considered an employee and an employment relationship cannot exist between the for-profit business and the intern. It can be determined that an employment relationship does not exist if the relationship meets all of the following criteria:
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Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

Across the country, more employers are hiring individuals on an as-needed basis.  This often leads to denying workers benefits such as health insurance, overtime, and sick pay, among others. Hiring employees on an as-needed basis may be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department of Labor has set forth a legal test to determine whether or not a worker is considered an employee or a contractor.
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Social Media and the Workplace

You just made a controversial Facebook post about the company you work for forgetting your boss is one of your friends. Can you get reprimanded for what you post on your own personal social network? The laws surrounding social media and the workplace are still developing. The best piece of advice to follow is to always be cautious about what you post, whether you are on your own blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account. You are responsible for what you post and who sees it, so post restrictively.
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What Employees Should Know About Employer Medical Information Requests

Employees get asked questions from their employers on a day-to-day basis. Some questions are innocent, while other questions may seem a little more personal. Either way, employees are not usually hesitant to answer employer questions, as they assume that any question asked must be necessary for the employer to know. While in many cases this may be true, when it comes to prying into an employee’s medical information, there are laws that protect employees from having to disclose. Continue reading “What Employees Should Know About Employer Medical Information Requests”

Employers Are Not Allowed To Ask About Past Employment Compensation

On October 31, 2017, a law banning New York City employers from “(1) asking job applicants about their compensation history and (2) relying on a job applicant’s compensation history when making a job offer or negotiating an employment contract, unless freely volunteered by the applicant” took effect. Furthermore, the law also prohibits a potential employer from searching public records in order to obtain a person’s past salary history. A potential employer may only inquire about an applicant’s salary and or benefits expectations, but not history. However, if an applicant freely volunteers his or her past salary, an employer is entitled to verify the information. Continue reading “Employers Are Not Allowed To Ask About Past Employment Compensation”

The “Snowflake Test”: Is It Legal?

snowflakeWhile it is not uncommon for employers to give assessment tests to potential job candidates, one U.S. company has caught the eye of the media for its unusual vetting tool. Kyle Reyes, Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing, a public relations firm located in Hilliard Mills, Connecticut, created the controversial “snowflake test” as a means of weeding out candidates who don’t fit the company’s culture – specifically, “overly sensitive, liberal candidates that are too easily offended.” However, despite the significant publicity and, in some cases, praise, others have fiercely criticized the assessment and called into question the ethics and legality of it.

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New York State Eases Burden on Hiring Ex-Convicts

On December 21st the Cuomo Administration implemented a new regulation prohibiting insurance companies from refusing coverage for crime-related losses caused by employees. Effective January 1, 2017, the regulation allows businesses to obtain commercial crime coverage after sustaining losses in a situation involving an employee’s dishonesty.

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New York Audition Notices Spark Employment Law Concerns

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on discrimination in casting calls for the Broadway hit “Hamilton.” Although specifying race, age, and gender is legal in audition calls, the Actors’ Equity Association, a union organization, generally checks the audition notices before going out. The notices for Hamilton, which posted from late 2015, were not reviewed by Actors’ Equity. They have sparked discussion over the formalities and procedures to avoiding discrimination in audition calls.

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Beware of Signing Employment Contracts with Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants are provisions in employment agreements that prohibit a person from working for a competitor after leaving his or her employer. The effect of such clauses varies greatly. In addition from limiting a former employee’s job opportunities, a restrictive covenant allows an employer to restrict the former employee from starting a business or forming a venture with others that competes against the former employer; contacting or soliciting former or current customers or employees of the former employer; and using confidential knowledge, trade secrets and other privileged information learned while working for the former employer. Many employers also place time and geographical restrictions in these covenants.

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How Should Potential Employees’ Criminal Record be Considered?

It is increasingly difficult for potential employees to find job positions after they have been arrested or convicted of a crime. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines parameters of the hiring process to avoid discrimination, including whether to conduct a criminal background check and how to weigh those applicants who have an arrest or conviction record. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers to discriminate based on an applicant’s race, color, natural origin, sex, or religion. It is important to adhere to these guidelines in order to be an equal opportunity employer.

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