Each year, thousands of employment-based lawsuits are filed, and more money is being awarded to claimants (according to the EEOC). Most employment-based lawsuits fall within one of the following ten categories. Below are some tips to help you avoid getting sued by a current or former employee.
- Occupational Safety and Hazard Act (OSHA)
Every worker deserves a safe environment in which to make a living. If an employee reports a hazard, take care of it quickly, and warn all employees to avoid the hazard in the meantime.
- Equal Employment Opportunity
Employees have a number of federally protected rights that were created to ensure a discrimination-free work environment. Avoid discrimination by working with an attorney to create discrimination policies and procedures. Regularly review these procedures with all managers.
- Minimum Wage
According to the General Industry Minimum Wage Act, employers must pay all employees in New York State, including most domestic workers, at least $8.75 per hour (for tipped workers, they should be making this amount or more on average when you add in tips).
New York labor laws require an employer to pay overtime to employees, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. Almost all hourly employees or salaried employees making less than $24,000/year are eligible for overtime.
- Paid Time Off (PTO)
In New York City, every employee accrues a minimum of one hour of time off for every 30 hours worked (for employers with fewer than five employees, this time is unpaid). Many employers offer more robust PTO practices which must be appropriately tracked and honored. Any employee should be paid for unused vacation/sick days at the end of their employment.
- Uniform/Supply Reimbursement (if applicable)
The State of New York requires employers to purchase or reimburse employees for uniforms, unless the uniform could be considered normal, everyday clothing.
- Wage Garnishment
New York State wage garnishment laws (known as “income execution” laws) generally provide that creditors with judgments can only take up to 10% of your gross wages, although certain exceptions to this rule exist. Employees may not be penalized (refused promotions, laid off, etc) for current, past or pending garnishments. Failure to properly garnish wages may result in fines.
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Under the FMLA, eligible and approved City of New York employees are permitted to take up to a maximum of 12 weeks of paid and/or unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for an immediate family member or for the serious illness of the employee. During this time, employees may not be fired or otherwise harassed.
- Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
Employers have the fiduciary obligation to provide promised benefits and satisfy ERISA’s requirements for managing and administering private pension and welfare plans.
Posters displaying notifications of workplace rights and employer rules and policies must be on display in a conspicuous area so that employees are able read it. Failure to do so will likely result in fines.
If you or someone you know, needs advice from experienced employment attorneys, contact Neil H. Greenberg & Associates. Our attorneys have the skill and experience necessary to help you overcome your legal problems. Call us today to schedule a consultation: 516-228-5100.