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Queens Employment Law Blog

New fathers likely to take leave -- if pay is offered

The first few weeks after a new child is brought into a family are critical. As such, parents typically want to spend as much time at home to help provide care and bond with the new family member.

Of course, work can be a complicating factor for many families. Employees are generally guaranteed 12 weeks of work-protected leave per year to care for a newborn or newly adopted child under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This leave does not have to be paid, which can be a sticking point for many parents.

As family dynamics are changing, parents are becoming more engaged in parenting. However, research shows that many men are hesitant to take parental leave without their usual paychecks.

Employees cannot be fired for reporting discrimination

As we have discussed in multiple blog posts, workplace discrimination laws are some of the most important employment protections afforded to workers. In many ways, these laws, enforced at a federal, state and local level, allow workers the peace of mind that they will not be terminated for purely prejudicial reasons. At the same time, workers can also have the confidence that they aren't without options if they are the victims of employment discrimination.

Furthermore, employees are protected in their ability to stand up for their rights. In other words, retaliation for discrimination claims is forbidden by law.

When do protections against age discrimination begin in New York?

Much of the baby-boom generation is approaching retirement age. In other words, a significant portion of the working population is growing "older." At the same time, people are living longer and may look to add more years to their careers. Putting all of this together, an older workforce could be setting the stage for more instances of age discrimination.

Federal, state and local laws protect New York workers from being discriminated against on the basis of their age. As individuals explore this as a potential issue in terms of their own employment, it may be helpful to take a look at the law and determine when legal protections begin as it relates to an employee's age.

Taking steps toward filing a sexual harassment claim

Employees who are being subjected to sexual harassment know when it's happening. Even though this kind of treatment makes employees uncomfortable and is completely unacceptable, it may not be exactly clear what steps can or should be taken.

Every case of sexual harassment is different, but there are some basic steps that can be followed to help that your rights are protected and the unfair treatment is put to an end.

Misconceptions may be keeping unemployment for disabled afloat

The economic recovery over the last few years has been a very welcome improvement. Theoretically speaking, a growing economy creates a "rising tide to lift all boats." While this is a hopeful sentiment, it may not quite meet reality.

Over the course of 2013, the overall unemployment rate nearly dropped by a full point, from 7.9 percent to 7.1 percent. For those on the market for a job, this is welcome news. With lower unemployment rates, opportunity is opened. However, over the same period of time, the unemployment rate for people living with disabilities remained stagnant at about 13 percent.

Understanding how FMLA protects pregnant employees

As federal law indicates, most employers cannot discriminate against employees simply because they are pregnant. This means that pregnant workers cannot be removed from schedules, docked pay or passed up for promotions. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act quite clearly lays out these forbidden practices.

At the same time, federal law provides additional support to working pregnant women. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission points out that the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to look after personal and family health issues.

Despite progress, LGBT employment discrimination is still present

Over the last few years in particular, New York and the rest of the country have made strides in terms of advancing laws designed to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. For example, same-sex marriage is now legal in our state.

Despite these moves, problems appear to persist. Currently, there is no federal protection against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, New York law does make this accommodation.

Changes to the law can be made, but it's going to take larger changes in attitude to work toward making truly fair and equitable professional environments.

New York state law now addresses intern sexual harassment

As college students or graduates look to gain experience in the workforce, they will learn one thing very quickly: It's an incredibly competitive game to obtain and maintain gainful employment. As such, many young people might accept unpaid internships, which are often competitive too, in order to build their resumes.

Even though an unpaid intern isn't compensated, it doesn't mean that he or she is any less entitled to be treated with dignity and respect by their employers and coworkers. Now, New York state law has come closer to recognizing this.

Defining the relationship between small business and the ADA

One of the most significant pieces of legislation in terms of providing equal access to employment opportunities is the Americans with Disabilities Act. Generally speaking, the federal law compels employers to open employment opportunities to those living with a disability by providing reasonable accommodations.

Of course, this employee protection provides a great deal of security to individuals who might otherwise be passed over for employment or terminated simply because employers do not want to be flexible.

Knowing that small businesses have different resources and needs than larger employers, it may be worthwhile to examine how the ADA applies in relation to a company's size.

What constitutes wrongful termination? Discrimination, Part 2

Having employment generally adds a sense of stability to an individual's life. Income can provide support to individual employees and their loved ones. However, being terminated from employment creates a significant disruption. This feeling is amplified if a person is fired on less-than-legitimate grounds.

In our blog post published on June 25, we took a look at how at-will employment relationships function in terms of wrongful termination claims. Although employers have a lot of latitude in firing at-will workers, there are some standards for treatment that never change. Workplace discrimination laws apply to all employees, even those in at-will positions.

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