Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on July 22 of last year a settlement of $46,000 with C&S Wholesale Grocers for terminating employees who were injured on the job. The settlement followed an investigation by the Attorney General into C&S Wholesale Grocers, popularly known as “C&S”, the largest wholesale grocery company in the country.
The investigation followed an appeal in which the Attorney General’s Office successfully represented the Worker’s Compensation Board.
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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to protect workers and homeowners who are involved in mold assessment, remediation, and abatement on residential property. The law modifies a licensing requirement for contractors and enforces Environmental Protection Agency standards when dealing with mold.
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Sometimes a dispute concerning wages, overtime, or other monetary benefits can arise with an employer. Many people believe that they will have to get an attorney involved if such a situation arises. However, this is not always the case. A wage dispute may sometimes be resolved without legal intervention simply by sending a letter through certified mail, return receipt requested, to the employer advising them of your claim. If you do not receive a response to the first letter, send a follow up letter advising them that you will proceed to legal action if your demand is not met.
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Most people do not know how to resign properly. The slightest mistake can expose you to a lawsuit or cause the forfeiture of valuable benefits. Some people resign without receiving a firm job offer from a new employer. Later, after learning the new job did not materialize, they are unable to be rehired by their former employer and spend months out of work unnecessarily.
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A class action lawsuit can be used when a number of people wish to participate in a lawsuit but the class is too numerous, or it would be too expensive to try each case separately. These individuals commence a case and retain lawyers to represent them and retain a class representative to represent them and the class. An example of this is hundreds of people who suffer alleged employment discrimination, including sexual harassment and wage and hour violations are now pursuing their job rights through class action lawsuits. In addition, class action lawsuits are also available to challenge a policy or interpretation of a statute or regulation, such as in a Medicaid case.
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Damages are awarded to a prevailing party in a lawsuit. They may come in the form of money, or in some cases, the court may order the opposing party to perform a certain action.
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In a recent groundbreaking decision announced on October 23, 2014, the United States Office of Special Council found that the United States Army discriminated against a transgender civilian worker who transitioned from male to female.
According to the report, the employee, a disabled vet, was working in the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (“AMRDEC”) in Redstone, Alabama, when she transitioned from male to female in 2010. During that time, the Office of Special Council found that her employer engaged in a several discriminatory practices including, improperly restricting her restroom usage, referencing her with male pronouns, excessively monitoring her conversations with coworkers, and not giving her work.
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If you are working at Starbucks and think your “shift supervisors” shouldn’t be sharing in your tips, then it may be time to move out of New York State and into Massachusetts.
The 2nd Circuit Court, whose jurisdiction extends to New York, Vermont and Connecticut, ruled against baristas in a class action claiming that their shift supervisors should not be allowed to grab a cut of their bounty under state labor law. In 2008, baristas Jeana Barenboim and Jose Ortiz sued Starbucks for more than $5 million on behalf of more than 5,000 of their fellow employees serving at 400 New York stores. They claimed that the chain’s corporate structure made them share their hard-earned tips with their “shift supervisors,” whom they alleged to be actually their bosses. This put the company in violation of New York Labor Law, according to the lawsuit.
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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
Continue reading “New Statute Affecting Pregnant Women and Employers Scheduled to Take Effect 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.