Stephen Hans Blog by cjleclaire
Employment and Labor Law Attorneys
Jan 16, 2013 | 359764 views | 0 0 comments | 621 621 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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HELPING RESTAURANT OWNERS NAVIGATE THE NEW YORK LABOR LAWS
by cjleclaire
Feb 08, 2018 | 21861 views | 0 0 comments | 719 719 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

FAQ for Restaurant Owners

For restaurant owners, who are busy running their day-to-day business, New York Labor laws can seem like an added burden. Having access to a NY employment defense lawyer is often vital to navigate the laws and make your business successful.

According to the NY State Department of Labor, here are some frequently asked questions employers often ask:

Can you require employees to wear uniforms?

Yes, you can. What is considered a uniform? Black slacks and white shirts are not uniforms. A shirt with the company insignia or custom-made slacks and shirts would be considered uniforms. If your worker’s pay is minimum wage, then the cost of buying the uniform and taking care of it cannot bring the employee below the minimum wage rate. Employers must either clean and take care of the uniforms or pay their employees to care for them.

Are you limited by the number of hours an employee can work in a day?

Except for children under 18, there are no limitations on how many hours in a day an employee can work. There also are no limitations on how early or late an employer can ask an employee to work. However, in the restaurant industry, an employee must have 24 hours of rest one day in a calendar week. This does not apply to small, rural restaurants.

What are the rules for giving workers meal breaks?

For work shifts of more than six hours that begin before 11:00 a.m. and continue until 2:00 p.m., the workers must be provided with an uninterrupted lunch period of at least half an hour between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Employers do not have to pay for meal periods, and they do not have to provide other breaks for workers. However, if an employer permits a break of up to 20 minutes, then the employer must count it as work time and pay the employee.

Do You Have Other Questions about NY Labor Laws that Apply to Your Business?

Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to explain the laws, offer legal guidance, and provide representation for employment dispute issues.

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SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE: GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
by cjleclaire
Jan 25, 2018 | 20214 views | 0 0 comments | 710 710 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Anti-Harassment Policies and Complaint Procedures

Your employment attorney can assist you with the wording for an anti-harassment policy, especially if you are currently dealing with harassment issues in your business and are seeking legal counsel.

Writing Anti-Harassment Policies

What should you include in a sexual harassment policy?

According to the EEOC, all kinds of harassment can occur in the workplace and sexual harassment is a specific type of discrimination. You want your policy to be broad enough to cover all types of harassment that violate federal law. Harassment involving any type of discrimination is illegal in the workplace. Therefore your policy should state that the employer does not tolerate any harassment based on the following:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information
  • Harassment based on opposition to discrimination or complaint proceedings
  • Retaliation against anyone complaining of harassment or participating in an investigation

Harassment Complaint Procedures

Establishing a procedure for dealing with harassment complaints is vital to protect employees and also to protect your business.

What elements should your complaint procedure incorporate?

First of all, as the employer, you should encourage your employees to report harassment. Doing so can help you prevent harassment from becoming severe or widespread.

You should appoint more than one official to take complaints and make sure the officials are accessible for employees — readily available and in locations where employees can contact them. You can decide and designate which officials are appropriate to hear complaints and also make sure that the supervisors hearing complaints report them to management.

Make sure that supervisors and other management personnel protect the confidentiality of the employee who is complaining. While this may not always be possible in every instance, try as much as possible to make confidentiality part of the procedure.

Should you limit reporting complaints to immediate supervisors?

This type of limitation could be detrimental, especially if the supervisor is party to the harassment. Designating an official outside the employee’s chain of command is preferable, and that way you have a better chance of ensuring there is impartial handling of complaints.

Do You Have Other Questions about Dealing with Sexual Harassment Issues in Your Business?

Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to answer your questions, offer legal advise, and if necessary, represent you in employment dispute issues.


Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Investigation
by cjleclaire
Jan 23, 2018 | 17345 views | 0 0 comments | 574 574 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

How Should You Conduct Harassment Investigations?

It is vital to conduct an investigation as soon as possible when an employer receives a complaint of sexual harassment (or any other type of discrimination harassment). Delays in investigating can be viewed as neglect and as a failure to take effective measures to prevent harassment in the workplace, which makes employers vulnerable to sexual harassment claims.

harassment Q & A

What Comprises an Effective Investigation?

The EEOC  recommends that employers incorporate the following into their investigations to ensure prompt and effective investigations:

Ensure the investigation is conducted immediately, thoroughly and with impartiality. Individuals who are alleged harassers should have no control, whether direct or indirect, over the investigation.

  • Those who should be interviewed during the investigation include:
  • The employee complaining about harassment
  • The alleged harasser(s)

Anyone with relevant information or who would be expected to have reasonable information about the harassment.

sexual harassment in the workplace, is the employer responsible

Ask the Complainant, Alleged Harassers and Witnesses Specific Questions

The following are some examples of specific questions that the EEOC suggests employers ask during a harassment investigation:

Questions for Complainant

  • Who, what, when, where, and how: Who committed the alleged harassment? What exactly occurred or was said? When did it occur and is it still ongoing? Where did it occur? How often did it occur? How did it affect you?
  • How did you react? What response did you make when the incident(s) occurred or afterwards?
  • How did the harassment affect you? Has your job been affected in any way?
  • Are there any persons who have relevant information? Was anyone present when the alleged harassment occurred? Did you tell anyone about it? Did anyone see you immediately after episodes of alleged harassment?
  • Did the person who harassed you harass anyone else? Do you know whether anyone complained about harassment by that person?
  • Are there any notes, physical evidence, or other documentation regarding the incident(s)?
  • How would you like to see the situation resolved?
  • Do you know of any other relevant information?

was there harassment

Questions for the Alleged Harasser

  • What is your response to the allegations?
  • If the harasser claims that the allegations are false, ask why the complainant might lie.
  • Are there any persons who have relevant information?
  • Are there any notes, physical evidence, or other documentation regarding the incident(s)?
  • Do you know of any other relevant information?

Questions for Witnesses

  • What did you see or hear? When did this occur? Describe the alleged harasser’s behavior toward the complainant and toward others in the workplace.
  • What did the complainant tell you? When did s/he tell you this?
  • Do you know of any other relevant information?
  • Are there other persons who have relevant information?

Stephen Hans & Associates has decades of experience assisting business owners with employment related issues.

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January 27, 2018
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HOW TO PROTECT YOUR SMALL BUSINESS AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT
by cjleclaire
Jan 18, 2018 | 16741 views | 0 0 comments | 609 609 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Q&A that Applies to Sexual Harassment in Small Business Environments

If you are a small business owner, you may wonder how to protect your small business from sexual harassment and resulting claims that put your business at risk.

Here are some questions and answers (Q&A) that are a good place to start when dealing with sexual harassment.

This Q&A relates to harassment by supervisors:

Who is considered a supervisor?

Any individual who has the authority to recommend tangible employment decisions affecting the employee is a supervisor. Tangible employment decisions include significant employment actions that change an employee’s status, such as:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotion
  • Demotion
  • Work assignment
  • Undesirable reassignment
  • Significant benefits changes
  • Compensation decisions

When are employers liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment?

Whenever a supervisor engages in harassment that results in a tangible employment action, the employers are always liable. When no tangible employment action occurs, employers are still liable unless they can show the following:

  • They took reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassment.
  • The employee reasonably failed to complain to management or failed to otherwise avoid harm.

What steps should employers take to prevent and correct sexual harassment?

Employers need to establish policy that prohibits harassment, put it in writing and pass it out to all employers.

Employers should create procedures for making complaints and notify employees.

When a business is sufficiently small that the owner is regularly in contact with all employees, the employer does not have to put policies in writing. Employers can tell employees at staff meetings that harassment is not allowed, that employees should report harassment immediately and they can even report incidents of harassment directly to the owner.

The business should conduct a prompt investigation when harassment is reported.

When sexual harassment is discovered, the discipline for the offending employee should be comparable to the extent and type of harassment.

As much as possible, the employer should keep the harassed employee’s identity confidential. Otherwise, if the offender retaliates against the reporting employee, the company could be held liable for the retaliation.

(This Q&A applies to all types of harassment, not just sexual harassment and more information is available in the EEOC article, Questions and Answers for Small Employers on Employer Liability for Harassment by Supervisors ).

Are You Dealing with Sexual Harassment Issues in Your Business?

Stephen Hans & Associates can offer valuable legal assistance to help you protect your business. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience defending employers.

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divya sharma
|
April 13, 2018
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WHAT WOULD RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE MEAN FOR THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY?
by cjleclaire
Dec 29, 2017 | 19970 views | 0 0 comments | 547 547 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Most people assume that restaurant workers would be thrilled about a raise in the minimum wage, but that restaurant owners would not be in favor of it.

An interesting situation took place in Maine last summer that is worthy of note regarding minimum wages. According to The Washington Post , the Maine House voted to lower minimum wages for tipped restaurant workers based on the workers’ request. The bill to reduce their minimum wages passed and restaurant workers were happy about it.

Restaurant servers in Maine had campaigned to overturn the results of a November referendum that would’ve raised servers’ hourly wages from $3.75 in 2016 to $12 by 2024. They believed that such a raise would result in customers tipping less and consequently lower overall income.

In addition, servers in New York, Massachusetts and D.C. were also beginning to move politically against minimum wage increases for servers in their states.

restaurant minimum wage increase

The Explanation Behind Wanting a Low Minimum Wage

Restaurant labor models differ from most industries. When tipped workers’ wages fall below the minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference. However, whether restaurants actually adhere that requirement or not is rather uncertain. Servers who make most of their income in tips do not want to upset management or change what is working well for them.

Some servers believed that the added expenses of higher minimum wages for restaurant owners would result in raising prices and cutting work shifts, which would ultimately result in people tipping less, servers working less and lower incomes. Some workers stated that they witnessed customers tipping less after the referendum passed.

It’s also possible that a raise in minimum wage would balance out and offset reduced tipping by customers. Most likely, servers working in rural diners would have benefited from a minimum wage hike, but servers who stood the most to lose were those making $20 to $25 per hour and working at higher end restaurants. These were the workers that became politically activated to oppose the minimum wage raise.

Do You Have Concerns as a Restaurant Owner?

Stephen Hans & Associates has assisted employers for more than two decades with employment issues, including lawsuits involving wage and hour disputes.

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divya sharma
|
April 11, 2018
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Judge Roy Moore and the Sexual Allegations He Faces
by cjleclaire
Dec 18, 2017 | 16826 views | 0 0 comments | 392 392 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

What could be more damning for a political career than allegations of sexual misconduct? In today’s media climate, sexual allegations are a powerful juggernaut to take down almost anyone’s political career. They are also a force to be reckoned with for company executives and other prominent figures.

Consequently, many companies and organizations are quick to cut ties with political figures or individuals in powerful positions who face credible sexual harassment allegations.

sexual harassment in the workplace

Details About the Sexual Allegations Brought Against Judge Moore

Recent allegations about Judge Moore indicate that back in the 1970s and early 1980s when he held the position of Assistant District Attorney, he was involved in sexual misconduct with young girls and one that was underage.

The Washington Post conducted an investigation and interviewed four women about alleged sexual misconduct on Moore’s part and posted its findings on November 9. At first, all the women were reluctant to discuss the matter. They did not know each other, but at the time of the alleged incidents they were between the ages of 14 and 18 and Moore was in his 30s.

Repercussions from the Media Exposure

According to a Fox News report, multiple republicans have requested that Moore step down from the December special election in Alabama, and the National Republic Senatorial Committee cut its fundraising ties with Moore.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conveyed that the president does not plan to make an in-person appearance to support Moore. In addition, Vice President Pence indicated the allegations were disturbing and if true, it would disqualify anyone from serving in office.

Senator Mitch McConnell has stated he believes the allegations were true and asked Moore to step aside. Senator Cory Gardner has agreed and taken a further step by encouraging the Senate to “vote to expel” Moore if he wins the election. Another Senator who previously backed Moore, Senator Mike Lee of Utah has also withdrawn his endorsement.

Prevent Allegations of Sexual Harassment from Arising in Your Business

Employers dealing with harassment or discrimination issues should seek legal advice immediately. Stephen Hans & Associates  brings decades of experience to help business owners deal with sexual harassment and other discrimination issues.

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REPRESENTATIVE CONYERS: CLAIMS MOUNTING ABOUT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
by cjleclaire
Dec 18, 2017 | 14078 views | 0 0 comments | 361 361 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Since multiple allegations of sexual misconduct emerged regarding Harvey Weinstein, during the past month, other women have come forward in Hollywood and other industries to make their claims of sexual harassment known.

A recent example is Democratic Representative John Conyers, who is resigning amidst accusations of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Confers announced his decision to retire while in a Detroit hospital during an interview on “The Mildred Gaddis Show” on 102.7 FM. and said he plans to back his son to replace him.

Sexual Misconduct Allegations

According to The Washington Post, former staff member Deanna Maher came forward with claims that on various occasions from 1997 through 2005, Conyers sexually harassed her. She said she never came forward earlier because he was too powerful and she believed no one would want to take her claims seriously.

However, there was a previous staff member who also alleged sexual misconduct claims, and in 2015 a settlement was reached between Conyers and the staff member for $27,000. The settlement was over the staff member’s claims for what had occurred when she worked for him in the 1990’s.

These claims recently led to a House ethics investigation of Conyers (age 88), the longest serving member of Congress. He denied the claims. However, as a result, House of Representatives leader Nancy Pelosi made a statement saying that the claims were believable and requested that Conyers step down, which he has done.

CNN reported that Representative Jim Clyburn also asked Conyers to resign and said it was in his best interests. Clyburn is the assistant Democratic leader and holds the highest-ranking position by an African American in the House.

Are You Dealing with Sexual Harassment Issues in Your Business?

Stephen Hans & Associates represents employers and business owners in employment law dispute cases. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience defending employers.

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EEOC Offers Harassment Prevention and Respectful Workplaces Training
by cjleclaire
Nov 21, 2017 | 21598 views | 0 0 comments | 519 519 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Despite legislation and law enforcement, incidents of harassment still occur in the workplace. Often employers are at a loss in knowing how to prevent it. They can’t be everywhere at once to supervise first-hand what is taking place in their business.

The new training being offered by the EEOC is a proactive solution for preventing harassment. The training applies to real life situations and gives employees and employers valuable tools that begin by addressing uncivil behavior, which can escalate and lead to harassment.

Sexual Harassment

How Does This Training Differ from Other Anti-Harassment Education and Training Programs?

Traditional anti-harassment or anti-discrimination training programs focus on educating supervisors and workers about existing laws, legal definitions and liability standards that businesses must meet.

The EEOC’s new programs , called “Leading for Respect” and “Respect in the Workplace,” focus directly on conduct.

Participants in the program learn about treating others with respect and what respectful conduct involves. By fostering respectful behavior in the workplace, businesses can also become more efficient and profitable. The training also assists employers by reviewing their policies and procedures and evaluating them in terms of harassment prevention.

The point where a company starts preventing harassment is by changing its culture.  Two main aspects of the program geared to do this are workplace civility training and bystander intervention training.

Workplace Civility and Bystander Intervention Training

Workplace civility training promotes civility and tolerance for diversity in the workplace. When workers enter a general culture of civility, employers often see less of its counterpart, harassment.

Civility training has been used by employers and is not new to workplaces. However, bystander prevention training is a newer concept for preventing harassment.

Schools and colleges have used violence intervention training as a way to curb sexual assault. It empowers students to intervene and prevent assault by increasing bystander awareness, encouraging collective responsibility, empowering students through skill-building exercises and making resources available to support intervention. By-stander prevention training brings the same skills to the workplace to enable workers to intervene and stop harassment.

If you have questions or legal concerns about workplace harassment, find out how we can help.

Stephen Hans & Associates has decades of experience assisting company owners with employment related issues.

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Weinstein Misconduct Leads to Investigation of the Weinstein Company
by cjleclaire
Nov 09, 2017 | 26449 views | 6 6 comments | 616 616 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Do You Have Harassment Issues in Your Company?

The New York Times broke the story on October 5th about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of actresses. That led to a criminal investigation, and now the whole company has come under the scrutiny of a civil investigation.

On October 23, The New York Times reported that New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman opened an investigation into the Weinstein Company by sending a subpoena that requested documents such as personnel files, criteria for firing, termination and promotion, and filed with the company regarding sexual harassment, gender or age discrimination. In addition, the subpoena sought information as to how complaints were handled and any private out-of-court settlements reached.

Company Financial Liability

Whether the company is financially responsible for any of Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct is also subject to the investigation. Of the payments made by Harvey Weinstein in confidential settlements, the investigation seeks to discover whether other company people were involved and whether the payments came from the company or were personally paid by Weinstein.

The Weinstein Company fired Harvey Weinstein several days after the October 5th news story broke in The New York Times. More than half of the nine company board members have resigned. Harvey’s brother Bob Weinstein, co-founder of the company, is involved in sales negotiations to sell either part of or the whole production studio.

In addition, many employees have requested release from nondisclosure agreements so they are free to discuss their experiences at the company.

Do Not Bury Your Head in the Sand

With the power he wielded, movie producer Harvey Weinstein appeared to be untouchable. He won Oscars and was an entertainment industry icon. While the harassment incidents spanned for decades, all it took for his reputation to plummet and his livelihood to end was actresses coming forward and one newspaper article in an age where information goes viral.

If anyone in authority at the company had had the courage to stand up to him years ago and deal with the harassment issues, perhaps the company could have been saved.

Do You Have Harassment Issues in Your Company?

Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates can help you address your concerns. We provide seasoned legal advice based on more than 20 years of defending employers in employment issues.

 

 


Washington Post Settles Age and Discrimination Lawsuit
by cjleclaire
Nov 03, 2017 | 21836 views | 1 1 comments | 592 592 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Washington Post Settles Age and Discrimination Lawsuit

The Washington Post recently settled a lawsuit filed by former advertising executive David DeJesus. When bad publicity becomes a greater threat to business than losing money through a settlement, oftentimes businesses opt to settle.

discrim at job interview

Such was the case with the Washington Post. DeJesus claimed that his boss terminated him in 2011 due to racial discrimination. He had enjoyed an 18-year career with the company, and while the Washington Post claimed it based his termination on “willful neglect of duty and insubordination,” an appeals court of three judges decided last year that a jury could hear the case. The appellate court overturned a lower court that dismissed the lawsuit.

The appeals court went on the record as saying, “A jury could properly conclude that the Washington Post’s proffered reason [for the termination of DeJesus] is so unreasonable that it provokes suspicion of pretext.” (New York Post)

 

Further Details about the Age and Discrimination Lawsuit

According to the Observer, David DeJesus brought in more than $1 billion in revenue during his nearly 20 years of tenure with the company. His termination occurred abruptly with his boss cursing and shouting at him. In the federal claim that DeJesus filed in 2014, he also stated that his termination along with the terminations of 47 other older black employers at about the same time were so the company could hire younger, less expensive white employees.

Other affidavits file by former African American Washington Post employees provided details of racial harassment and in particular racial harassment by advertising Vice-President Ethan Selzer. He fired DeJesus without previous discipline or forewarning and told a black female employee to clean the department kitchen and made racist jokes about another black subordinate’s husband. Also, at one point an employee who came to work at the Washington Post wearing a KKK belt buckle was not even disciplined.

Quiet in the Media and with the Settlement

The Observer noted that a number of media outlets ignored the lawsuit and MSNBC did not respond to DeJesus’ request for coverage.

Do You Have Employment Issues that Could Become Legal Matters?

Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to address your concerns. We offer clients seasoned legal advice based on more than 20 years of employment law experience.

comments (1)
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donei
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March 05, 2018
really that kind of thing we should keep in mind i don't know about lawsuit filed, but after your post i get some thing i remembered this kind of content i read at education birdie but i don't get proper points. thanks for sharing this vital knowledge.

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