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White Plains Employment And Commercial Law Blog

How can employers protect against retaliation claims?

Certain statutes and regulations have been passed to ensure employees feel safe. This goes beyond safe from injuries and fatal accidents. Because employees should feel comfortable to speak up, whistleblower rights were developed.

This means that employees should feel comfortable to file a claim or report something going on in the workplace without the fear of being retaliated against. This includes actions such as firing, laying off, blacklisting, demoting, denying overtime or a promotion, disciplining, denial of benefits, failure to hire or rehire, intimidation, harassment, making threats, reassignment that affects the prospects of a promotion or reducing pay or hours. But what if an employer was carrying out actions that were already set in place or there are valid reasons for these acts? An employer should not fear having actions taken against them.

Understanding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

For New Yorkers finding out that they are pregnant, it is an exciting time. It means starting or expanding a family. But, it also means adapting one's life around the charges that occur during the pregnancy. It might be difficult to work or continue certain job tasks because of the normal symptoms of pregnancy.

However, employers cannot change the way they treat their employee just because she is pregnant. Even more so, if a woman develops a medical condition because of her pregnancy or has a high-risk pregnancy, an employer must accommodate her so she can continue to work.

Are you an employee?

From freelance writers to web designers to podcast editors and social media consultants, the internet has given rise to a great decentralization of employment. However, just because you aren’t in the office, doesn’t mean you aren’t an employee.

The Federal Labor Standards Act makes strong distinctions between contractors and employees. These distinctions are necessary because some employers intentionally misclassify employees to avoid paying certain benefits. However, for anyone who is a contractor or works with contractors, it is important to understand where the line is.

Protecting your rights after reporting employer's unlawful acts

Employees tend to know the basics when it comes to their rights in the workplace. Discrimination and harassment tend to be highlighted situations, where employees have the right to take a stance and protect his or her rights. However, some employees may not fully understand that their rights extend beyond just speaking out about their mistreatment. When employees observe unlawful activity by an employer, he or she has the right to blow the whistle on their employee.

While this might be the appropriate step for employees in New York and elsewhere to take, it is not always an easy one to take. There is often the fear that an employer will retaliate and even fire an employee for taking such actions. However, employees have the right to blow a whistle on an employer for breaking the law, and whistler blower rights protect an employee when doing so.

Understanding unfair competition

Whether a New York company was recently started or has been around for decades, there are always things to worry about in the business world. How can they overcome their competition and gain new customers? How can they better themselves and become more profitable?

The branding associated with a company is necessary to ensure consumers know whom they are purchasing from. But, this cannot be achieved through just any method or way. If a company goes about this the wrong way, this could result in civil liabilities and possible business litigation.

Time's Up initiative to combat sexual harassment in advertising

Whether New Yorkers were just hired for a job or have been at the same position for years, it is important for employees to understand their rights in the workplace. And, even when one is fully aware of these rights, this does not always mean they will be upheld. Maybe it is a co-worker, supervisor or boss. No matter who it is, mistreatment, harassment and discrimination in the workplace is not only uncomfortable, but is also illegal.

In order to stand up against sexual harassment in the workplace, "Time's Up" recently announced its initiative to combat sexual harassment in the advertising industry. Since this organization began, this is the first industry specific effort, and more than 1,000 prominent women in the entertainment fields launched it.

What is ERISA?

When we are hired for a job, some rights are apparent. This includes receiving a wage, breaks and a safe work environment. Additionally, employees are aware of their right to not be harassed in the workplace. Beyond these obvious rights, some employees may be unsure of their rights when it comes to retirement, pensions and health plans. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 outlines these rights.

What is ERISA? This act is a federal law, and it was designed to set the minimum standard for much of the pensions established voluntarily and health plans in private industries as a means to protect the individuals in these plans. ERISA has various requirements. To begin, participants must be provided with plan information. This includes important information regarding plan features and funding.

The line between sexual harassment and flirting is not that fine.

Flirting in the workplace is a hot topic right now. As the pendulum swings from the abusive sexist environments from decades past, many fear that it might swing too far the other way. The most echoed statement when the topic comes up is "Where is the line now?"

With the rise of the #MeToo movement and powerful men such as Matt Lauer and children's book author Sherman Alexie standing accused of sexual harassment, there is no better time to consider that question. Taking into account all of the various ways people interact, nearly everyone has flirted with a co-worker at some point. However, if you have questions about the line, consider the following list of clearly harassing actions.

Guiding you through corporate governance issues

There are a lot of people who function to ensure a company is run and operates efficiently. While officers, directors and shareholders are what make a corporation a corporation; this does not means there aren't any issues with or among these individuals. Corporate governance is essential, and if a dispute arises, it is important to take steps to resolve them to ensure this dispute does not impact the overall function of the corporation.

No matter how prepared an individual is to start or join in as a director or officer of a corporation, this does not mean he or she is clear on all of their rights and responsibilities. Corporate governance is necessary; however, it is often the cause of commercial disputes. In order to reduce the impact these disputes have on a corporation in New York and elsewhere, it is important to take steps to protect your rights and the interests of the corporation.

Two circuits agree: Sexual orientation is a protected class

Certain personal factors about people may not be used to discriminate against them in the workplace, and these personal factors are codified in specific federal and New York state laws. For example, under the Americans with Disabilities Act most employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and prospective employees because of their mental and physical disabilities. Laws protect people from discrimination based on their age, race and religious preferences as well.

Some questions have apparently existed, though, as to whether a person's sexual orientation was a protected classification. In 2010 a skydiving instructor was fired after he disclosed to one of his customers that he was gay and the customer complained to the skydiving instructor's employer.

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