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New York City Employment Law Blog

What might an FMLA violation look like?

Employees are protected by several state and federal employment laws. These laws protect everything from workplace conduct and hiring practices to wages and hours. While you may know about and understand these laws in theory, potential violations can be much more difficult to identify when you are actually experiencing them.

For instance, you may understand that you are eligible for job-protected leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, you might not know what a specific violation of these laws look like. Below is a list of some unfortunately common scenarios involving FMLA violations to help you get a better understanding of your rights.

4 things to remember if you are a pregnant employee in New York

Being pregnant is a physically and emotionally demanding experience for any woman. And despite the morning sickness, aching muscles and exhaustion, many women still work. This is no easy task.

Unfortunately, there are employers who make things even harder for pregnant women by violating their rights and making them feel like their livelihood could be in danger because they are having a child. With this in mind, we urge pregnant women -- and women who might become pregnant -- to understand some basic protections in place for expecting employees.

Women and sexual harassment in the tech industry

Harassment in the workplace can come in a variety of forms and may be related to factors including age, ethnicity, race and gender. Sexual harassment in New York is not uncommon and may be more prevalent in some industries rather than others.

In fact, some women who hold notable positions in the technology industry, have recently shed some light on the kind poor treatment they are victims of because of their gender. One woman shared an experience in which she was involved in an interview process as a potential candidate for a promising job. During the process, she received a private message from one of the founders that had significant sexual undertones. She politely declined the request and soon after, the company severed all communications with her. Another woman talked about a competition she won which she later found out was due in part to her physical appearance.

US Supreme Court will review whistleblower case

If you are in a position to blow the whistle on illegal practices by your employer, you must understand that there are protections in place, should you choose to file a report. This includes protection from retaliation.

However, these protections are only in place if the whistle blowing is done properly and in accordance with the law. This is an issue the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review at the end of its next session, as disputes regarding whether internal reporting is sufficient have arisen in recent years.

Is your employer stealing from you?

Not long ago, the economy was so bad, many people were just happy to have a job.  When you are just grateful to be employed, you may overlook certain things: A schedule that conflicts with your family commitments, a lower wage than you are used to making, or working outside the office on nights and weekends.

After all, most of us are eager to impress our bosses and during a fiscally challenged time, we don't want to upset the apple cart by making demands on our employers.

But is that legal? Regardless of whether you are comfortable with extra hours after you have left the office, can your boss ask you to do it without pay? Even if your boss doesn't explicitly ask it, can your company complicity encourage you to do so and not compensate you for your time?

Am I an employee or independent contractor? Why does it matter?

While there are various types of employment statuses, the two main types are employees and contractors. Understanding that there are differences between these two statuses -- and what those differences are -- is crucial for workers in order to ensure they are properly compensated and protected on the job.

Broadly speaking, contractors and employees differ in how they are paid and the manner in which they perform their job. Below we look at these elements a little bit more closely.

Dealing with discrimination at work? You are not alone

Being the victim of discrimination in the workplace can be an isolating experience. You might not want to talk to anyone else about it for fear of appearing petty; you might feel embarrassed at the misconduct; you could be made to feel like there is nothing you can do about it. However, understand that if you the victim of discrimination, you are not alone.

In fact, there could very well be fellow employees struggling with the same issues. Just look at the massive fallout at Uber, where 20 people were fired after it was revealed that employees filed a whopping 54 complaints citing discrimination. Another 161 complaints filed cited bullying, harassment, retaliation and other types of misconduct. 

3 FMLA notification requirements with which employers must comply

Giving proper notice when it comes to employment leave is critical. While many people assume the requirement to give proper notice falls solely on the shoulders of the employee taking leave, employers also have an obligation to give proper notice. This is particularly important to remember when it comes to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In accordance with the FMLA, all covered employers must take specific steps to inform and notify all employees about the FMLA. There are three points of notification employers must provide. 

Holding more than just the harasser responsible for harassment

If you are being sexually harassed at work, it is important to understand that you have legal protections in place to stop this type of misconduct and hold the perpetrator accountable. You should also understand that there may be more people liable for the harassment than the person engaging in it. 

For instance, your employer can also be held accountable for allowing harassment or for failing to take the appropriate action against the harasser. This is crucial to recognize for a couple reasons, which have been illustrated by the case against Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News.

What do I do if my employer hasn't paid me overtime?

Working in excess of 40 hours a week is not something people typically enjoy doing. However, for non-exempt employees across New York, it can be financially rewarding thanks to overtime pay. 

Eligible employees who work overtime are entitled to receive one-and-a-half times their regular pay rate for every hour over 40 worked in a week. However, some employers fail to pay overtime for any number of reasons, from intentional wage theft to inadvertent employee misclassification. Whatever the reason may be, if you are owed overtime, then there are steps you can take to collect the money you deserve.

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