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Employment Lawyers Albany NY
At Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C., we handle a broad range of labor and employment law matters. Our attorneys represent client interests before the New York State Division of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in federal and state courts. We have also represented both employees and employers in disciplinary hearings under collective bargaining agreements and New York State’s Civil Service Law.
Albany Employment Lawyers for Employers and Employees
Employment law includes cases covering workplace safety, wages, discrimination, wrongful termination and more. You should seek legal counsel to help reach a resolution in the event of a strained relationship with your employer or employee. Employment attorneys will help one or both sides understand their rights and duties. Typically employment and labor attorneys only handle one side, employee or employer, rarely both. At Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C., representatives are well versed in both sides of these legal topics as they are a full service law firm.
When searching for a labor or employment lawyer, recognizing which type you need is vital. One type focuses on employees or plaintiffs; these employment attorneys are also referred to as employment discrimination attorneys, employment rights attorneys, or federal employment attorneys. The other type focuses on employers or defendants; they are often referred to as management attorneys. Having plentiful experience, success, and understanding of federal employment law, our Albany NY law firm is proficient in handling and settling employment disputes for both sides and will get you a similar outcome to previously represented clients who were satisfied.
How Our Albany Employment Lawyers Can Help You
We will help you learn whether or not your rights have been violated and if further action is recommended across a variety of different practice areas. After exhausting internal means of remedy, by following the place of employment’s handbook protocols and administrative proceedings for reporting sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, and other discrimination cases, our firm can help navigate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family, and Medical Leave Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and New York State Human Rights Law.
Within these rights and state and federal statutes, Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C. lawyers will help you settle your employment issues, including resolution of employment related issues that cause harm to you physically, emotionally, or reputationally, and wrongful discharge, employment, and severance agreements. Personal injury can include every variety of injury to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation, as contradistinguished from injury to property rights. You may be entitled to civil litigation. Listed below is a full range of practice areas our attorney lawyers have outstanding service and prior results in.
Types of Employment Cases We Handle
Sexual Harassment and discrimination is any unwelcomed sexual advances or requests of sexual behaviors and favors, or other unwanted conduct in a sexual nature. This can be phsyical, such as massages, hugs, kisses, assaults, and rape. It can also present itself in verbal conduct through vulgar jokes, implications, or discussions about sex and sexual acts. There is also a chance for it to be visual through pornography, grafffiti, or explicit gestures.
Sexual harassment or assualt in the workplace can also have room for personal injury claims which can arise from both harm done to the body and non-bodily harm.The harassment also does not need to be specific to you, nor does it matter if the intention of the act is humorous, complimentary, or outright suggestive; it is still a legal issue needing addressment as the conduct is still unlawful and illegal acts.
Sexual harassment does not need to motivated by sexual desire or even be sexual in nature to also be illicit. It can range from belittling comments due to someone’s sex, a policy that disadvantages a specific sex (intentional or not), or an hostile environment against a particular sex. This leads into the following section of sexual orientation and discrimination.
This includes anything from comments, policies, actions, or hostile environments that discriminate and put at a disadvantage a specific sex. Hostility or pitfalls targeting sexual orientation, gender identity, or lack of stereotype conformity are all included in these discrimination claims.
Harassment can also take the form of acts, comments, or policies against sex-based traits, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, or lactation.
Note that it does not matter if the perpetrator and victim share the same sex or sexual orientation or are different. We will represent clients and give consultation for legal options and action for wrongful workplace practices and experiences of harassment and discrimination.
Age discrimination is when one is discriminated against specifically because of their age. This can present itself in the form a of younger people being belittled, passed over, or being paid less for the sole purpose that they are younger; it would be a wrong assumption or implication that a younger individual is less skilled, established, intelligent or qualified and thus justifies such treatment (it does not). Age discrimination can also present itself in the form of an older person being denied or refused a job and work due to their age.
The laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibit an employer from treating you differently or harassing you because your friends, parents, or other people you associate with are of a particular national origin.
National origin discrimination occurs from unfavorable, unwelcomed, or offensive treament of applicants or employees because they are from a specific country or region, ethnicity or accent, or physical features of a certain ethnic background or having similarity to a specific ethinicity, culture, or accent.Federal law prohibits discrimination of this and on the reason of a person's birthplace, ancestry, culture or language.
Federal law and employment laws do not prohibit employers from asking you about your national origin. However, because such questions may indicate a possible intent to discriminate based on national origin, we do advise employers to ensure that if they ask about national origin it is only for a lawful purpose. For example, your employer may need information about your ethnicity for affirmative action purposes or to comply with government laws that require the reporting of ethnicity information.
Race discrimination is the unequal treatment, bias, or harassment of one based on their actual or perceived race and/or traits typically associated with race (hair texture or skin pigmentation). It is prohibited under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).
This can happen in a number of ways, though not limited to: mistreatment physically or verbally, when specifically passed over for promotions for a less qualified individual due to your race, having unequal disciplinary actions or evaluations, or disparate compensation.
The New York State Department of Law does not permit this and encourages you, if you have experienced it, to seek affirmative action so that perpetrators can be properly handled.
Federal, New York State, and New York City laws make disability discrimination by employers illegal. As of February 8, 2020, New York State law prohibits all employers, regardless of size, from disability discrimination during all aspects of employment: hiring, pay, firing, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, assignments, and other conditions as long as the indidvidual is qualified for the job.
When an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with disabilities Act or Rehabilitation Act discriminates by disability, a qualified individual, employee or applicant, is treated unfavorably and unfairly due to their disability, history of disability, or bereavement of a not transitory mental/physical impairment and minor.
If you believe you have been discriminated against for any of these reasons, you should not hesitate to acquire an attorney and seek justice by law and punitive measures.
Religious discrimination occurs when your employer makes an employment decision based on your religion instead of your job-pertinent skills, qualifications, or capability.
Different forms of religious discrimination behaviors are as follows: unjust dismissal of employee due to religion, hinder or refusal of qualified individual for promotion due to religion, lower compensation than other employees for reason of religion, verbal and/or physical harassment for religion, prohibiting time for religious observance(s), and clothing requirements that violate religious practices (An example would be the banning of religious clothing/items, such as Muslim women's hijab or Sikh men's bracelet).
NY State and City laws protect employees from religious discrimination when an employer has 4 or more employees.
If you request reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs and/or practices, your employer must unless it would cause serious harm or complications for the business. Reasonable accommodation can entail work environment, scheduling, dress code, or grooming changes to practice and represent your religion at work.
In 1964, the term religion was defined to cover "all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief" by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)of 1993, prohibits federal agencies and departments, from any State, to pass a law that binds a person from expressing religious freedom except for when the "application of the burden" is to advance government interest.
Regardless of an employee's religion, it’s unlawful for employers to violate their rights in expressing their held beliefs in the workplace.
If, as a moral individual and employee, you know that your employer is violating laws or regulations, causing danger to public health and safety, then you may consider reporting that information. This would typically land you the title of a whistleblower.
There are protective state and federal laws for whistleblowers from retaliatory employers. Because you are exercising your rights under the Department of Labor's whistleblower protection laws, an employer cannot retaliate against you. This could include firing or laying off, demoting, denying overtime or promotion, or reducing pay or hours.
Five agencies of the U.S. Department of Labor enforce whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Wage and Hour Division (WHD), and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).
You are strongly encouraged to seek an attorney to help you settle these legal issues while understanding the law and regulations that are involved in your particular case and employment.
Taking effect on January 26, 2022, New York’s whistleblower protection law will implement amendments to provide improved protection for reporting employers whose actions cause reason to be believably illegal or dangerous for public health or safety from private-sector employees.
What Does a Labor Lawyer Do?
The employment and labor law attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C. handle all facets of lawsuits brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and New York State Human Rights Law. We are familiar with the rights afforded by these (often overlapping) state and federal statutes and the varying time limitations set forth in each.
Our labor law attorneys also provide counsel and representation in matters involving the following.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) are written legal contracts between employers and unions who represent employees. They negotiate wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.
A CBA has three categories of subjects.
The first is Mandatory, which is required by law by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Wages, bonuses, grievance procedures, safety, overtime, seniority, layoffs, and more.
The second is Voluntary or Permissive, which are not necessary but may be negotiated for topics such as internal union issues and those composing the board of directors.
Third is Illegal subjects, essentially anything violating the law, such as discrimination or only hiring union members (closed shops).
Grievances and Arbitration
The grievance procedure is intended to present and then resolve workplace disputes. But, in the case that it does not find resolution, arbitration can be the next step. Arbitration is a process in which parties with differing interests submit their disputes to an impartial and unbiased arbitrator.
This private process is independent of the federal government or judicial system. The resolution and agreement to accept the arbitrator’s decision is both final and binding. Arbitration is equally broad, generally, for private sector employees provided through each union collective bargaining agreement. It requires the employee to gain their union’s permission to pursue.
Disciplinary Hearings Under Section 75 of New York State Civil Service Law
Section 75 governs the basic disciplinary protections of specific classes of public employees in the event that there is no contractual disciplinary provision. Section 75 does not apply to anyone who is designated Unclassified service (elected officials, State Legislature employees, etc.). There are four subgroups or classifications of Classified service: exempt, non-competitive, labor, and competitive.
Section 75 of the NY State Civil Service Law provides protection for employees in the Competitive class who successfully passed a civil service exam and hold a permanent-appointment position, qualified veterans and exempt volunteer firemen in Classified service, noncompetitive and labor class d employees tenured with at least five years of uninterrupted service and not designated as management/confidential employees, NYC homemaker or homemade with three years of service, and police detectives with three years of service.
An employee has the right to an evidentiary hearing on the allegations. A transcript can be kept with a copy upon request of the employee. The employer will pay full costs for the hearing officer. During the hearing the employee will give evidence and testimony and be either found sufficiently guilty or innocent, and what penalty will be imposed.
Appointed authority individuals are not required to adhere to the hearing officer’s recommendation and are empowered by Section 75 for all final decision and determination. The employee has the right to counsel or union representative at the hearing, calling witnesses on their behalf, and cross examination. Note that it is through the accusing employer that the burden of proof must be established.
Unlike “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” within the criminal justice system, here the proof necessary to find employee guilty requires “proof by a preponderance of evidence” (generally, this means tending to support the occurrence of the conduct charged, and which would lead a reasonable person to believe the person charged is guilty).
Benefits under New York State General Municipal Law Section 207-C
Section §207-c(1) of the General Municipal Law provides that someone injured in the performance of duty must be paid the full amount of his or her regular salary or wages until the disability ceases. Eligibility for these benefits must be determined, in first instance, by the municipality and must be determined to have “causal connection” between the injury and incident during duty as discussed under section 207-c.
It is also established in 207-c that these benefits must still be provided in the event of a partial disability. In the event that the disability is due to both a line-of-duty injury and a pre-existing, non-work related condition, benefits from section 207-c must still be provided if the work accident caused the substantial portion leading to disability.
When an employer and employee agree to work together a contract is formed regarding the employment situation, this is known as the Employment Contract. This contract contains terms and provisions over the relationship, specifying benefits such as PTO or insurance. It will also outline the terms for termination and how much notice each party must give if they want to terminate the contract. This employment contract is legally binding when the following conditions are met:
1) It is offered and accepted by both parties.
2)There is consideration or exchange of something considered of equal value. Typically, this is an employer offering monetary value in exchange for employee labor and expertise.
3) It is legally enforceable. For example, a contract to work for an employer’s illegal drug trading business would not meet this as no court would enforce the contract.
4) Both parties must be at a certain age or older and mentally sound enough to enter into the contract and be held responsible.
Mediation is when multiple parties discuss their dispute with an impartial and trained third person to assist in reaching a settlement. This meeting can appear informal for the parties or be a scheduled settlement conference. This dispute can be either pending in court or filed in court. Cases suitable for mediation are disputes in commercial transactions, personal injury, construction, workers compensation, labor or community relations, divorce, domestic relations, employment or any other matters which do not involve complex procedural or evidentiary issues. Attendance at the mediation conference is voluntary by the parties, except where governed by statute or contract clause.
Frequently Asked Questions
NY Wrongful termination occurs when termination is unlawful. This is when termination has breached an existing employee agreement, oral or written, or violated a law that protects NY employees.
You should be careful about what you do not say during a workers comp hearing just as much as you are careful about what you do say. Here is a short list of thing to not say:
1) Do not agree to being recorded as it is not legally required. Also, being recorded makes it easier for insurance companies to poke holes in your claims, if they were accidental.
2) Avoid answering questions about family or your financial situation. This is because these have no bearing on your claim. Also any attempt to ask these is usually to see if they can get you to accept a lowballed settlement quickly.
3) Avoid becoming conversational with the adjuster. Stick to facts and don't be sidetracked.
4) Do not agree to or sign any settlement and documents on the spot, even if they appear generous. This is because you could be entitled to more than what you are offered and should have an attorney review any documents or settlement offers first before signing.
The formula for your worker's compensation settlement claim depends on a few factors. This includes your medical condition, your earning before the injury, and how the state workers comp laws apply to your specific claim. Typically, there are 4 primary factors that will be crucial towards your case: Permanent Impairment, Impairment Rating, Permanent Impairment Benefit, Bodily Impairment Rating.
You should estimate 6-8 weeks from the start of settlement discussions to receive your check. Negotiations can take up to a week. Document signing occurs next, then a redemption hearing is scheduled with a magistrate. This puts you at about 3-4 weeks. Once the settlement is approved, you have to wait a 15-day appeal period which can be waived if both sides agree. Checks are then sent through US mail, arriving after 7-10 days. From the start to end process, check in hand, it takes around 6-8 weeks.
Work-related disabilities occurring on or after March 13, 2007, according to NYS Workers' Compensation Board, are eligible for benefits at the maximum week count. This amount is determined by the financial loss the employee incurs during being unable to work and their normal wages.
The length of time for someone to stay on workers comp ranges from 225 to 525 weeks. The number of weeks and amount of money collected for the work-related disability each week can vary depending on your own specific circumstances.
Yes, it is possible to sue for wrongful termination. Start by speaking with a wrongful termination attorney in NY to find out if your claim is worth going forth with. Then ensure you have adequate time to submit your claim. Review the wrongful termination laws of limitations. Then submit your claim with plenty of time to the EEOC New York District Office.
Between $6,000 and $80,000 is the average wrongful termination settlement in NY. Lawyers are very beneficial during negotiations to reach a larger amount for settlement. The average jury awarded settlements are typically larger, between $110,000-$400,000. This is why employers tend to settle before letting the case get to court. It is rare for cases to make it to court as they typically settle out of the courtroom.
It is important to know that most of the litigation of these cases consists of mixed settlements; this means that a single or number of claims were implicated with unlawful termination. This could be consequences of age discrimination, constructive discharge, breach of employment contract, disability, whistleblower, workplace retaliation, discrimination of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, race, color, nationality, or religious discrimination, etc.
If you reach a settlement, the amount you receive is based on the following factors: reason of termination, the costs of finding a new job, medical expenses, lost benefits, lost earnings and mental anguish. If the workplace behaved somehow egregiously, you may even be awarded some Punitive damages, though that is rare.
According to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, the calculation for workers' comp benefits is: 2/3 x average weekly wage x % of disability = weekly benefit.
So for example, if your average weekly wage was $500 and you became partially disabled (50%) you would end up receiving $166.67 a week.
2/3 x $500 x 50% = $166.67
If you were fully disabled (100%) then you would receive $333.34 each week.
2/3 x $500 = $333.34
New York State has different minimum wage laws than those applicable at the federal level. Employers must meet this requirement, which currently varies based on geographic location and size of Employer. New York also requires that all new Employees sign a Notice and Acknowledgement of Wage Rate in English as well as in the Employees’ primary language, and that they receive wage statements in accord with the law.
New York law also has several rules that do not exist under federal law, such as rules on how often Employees must be paid, rules on payment of certain Employee expenses, laws applicable to minors, and laws prohibiting most deductions from wages. We suggest reading up on the 40 current articles covering New York Labor Laws and stay up to date on changes occurring in this 2022 year.
Contact Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today
To discuss your employment and labor law concerns with an experienced lawyer, call us at 518-456-0082 or complete our contact form. We represent clients in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and the surrounding areas of New York State.
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