nyc employment lawyer

What can a NYC employment lawyer do for you?

A lot, actually. A good NYC employment lawyer can help you in a lot of ways you might not be aware of. This article lays out some of the ways that the NYC employment lawyers at our firm can assist you. While this article focuses primarily on NYC Employment Lawyers, it is just as applicable to employment lawyers outside of New York City – it just so happens that we work here.

  • A NYC Employment Lawyer can work with you behind the scenes.

One of the most common misconceptions about employment attorneys – in fact about nearly all attorneys – is that as soon as you’ve hired an attorney, you are going to court. Nothing can be further from the truth. A good employment attorney will start out by working with you behind the scenes to help guide your actions. This is especially useful when you are still employed, but having issues at work (e.g. harassment).

  • A NYC Employment Lawyer can help you get severance.

If your employment has been terminated, an employment attorney can help you get a severance. Contrary to popular belief, most employees are not entitled to severance. In reality, when employees get what they call a “severance agreement,” what they are really getting is a “severance agreement and release.” In exchange for some money (severance) from the company, the employee agrees not to sue (release). An employment attorney can find the leverage points to get severance. For more information on severance, you can look at our other articles. We do a lot of severance work here.

  • If you have already been offered severance, a NYC Employment Lawyer can help you get more severance.

The only thing better than severance, is more severance. You don’t necessarily have to take the employer’s first offer. If you are over 40, the law requires at least 21 days to consider any offer of severance. Use this time to contact an employment lawyer. A good one will help you turn some severance into more severance.

  • A NYC Employment Lawyer can negotiate with your employer

Often, our firm negotiates directly with the employer to get a better severance for our clients.  If you have been offered a severance, consider contacting an employment attorney for help.

  •  A NYC Employment Lawyer can file a lawsuit against your employer.

We put this one last for a reason.  Lawyers are probably best known for filing lawsuits, but most lawyers provide services so that their clients can avoid litigation altogether.  However, if you are interested in filing a lawsuit against your employer, take a look at our practice areas, these might give you an idea of the sorts of issues that employment lawyers can help you with.

If you need more information or a free consultation, feel free to contact us.  We would be happy to help.

 

Liberal Standard for Hostile Work Environment Claims Under the New York City Human Rights Law

Sexual Harassment – New York City A group of female plaintiffs alleged that the defendant, a doctor, created a sexually hostile work environment in violation of the New York State and City Law.  Plaintiffs claimed that the doctor sent them, as well as other employees (both male and female), offensive emails, and made various sexual comments and gestures toward them, including remarks regarding their breasts. The lower court granted the doctor’s motion for summary judgment, reasoning that the doctor’s conduct would be equally offensive to male and female employees. On appeal, the appellate court held that a jury could reasonably determine that the defendant sent the emails to provoke a reaction from women in the office, and that the plaintiffs were singled out from male employees. The appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ evidence fell short of meeting the severe and pervasive standard required to state a claim under the New York State Law, but that under the City Law, questions of severity and pervasiveness are irrelevant. Accordingly, the appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ claim survived because the doctor’s conduct, even if “isolated,” signaled that the doctor considered it appropriate to foster an office environment that degraded women.  The court therefore reinstated the plaintiffs’ claim under the City Law.  The case is Hernandez v. Kaisman, No. 104989/07 (1st Dep’t Dec. 27, 2012).

If you feel you have been subjected to a hostile work environment, or have been unlawfully terminated, please contact us.

Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)  requires employers to engage in an interactive process with a disabled employee to determine whether the employer can provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA to the disabled employee. A reasonable accommodation under the ADA requires that the employee be able to perform essential functions of a position.  Recently, the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal recently reversed summary judgment in favor of an employer, and returned the case to the lower court for additional factual analysis to determine whether an individual whose medication kept him from coming to work on time could be disciplined for attendance violations based upon that lateness. McMillan v. City of New York, 2d Cir., No. 11-3932, March 4, 2013.

Rodney McMillan has schizophrenia and has been employed by the City of New York, for ten years. McMillan’s agency has a flex-time policy, and approves tardiness under certain circumstances.  McMillan’s medication can make him sluggish, which resulted in his late arrival to work several times.  The tardiness is a function of the treatment for his condition.

Prior to 2008, McMillan’s tardiness was never a problem.  Then, in 2008, his supervisors refused to approve any more late arrivals.  McMillan requested a later start time, but was told that this was not possible because McMillan would then have to work after 6:00 p.m., after which no supervisors were present.  McMillan also stated that he would be willing to work through his lunch hour, but that suggestion also was rejected.

In 2009, McMillan was fined eight days’ pay for late arrivals and was ultimately suspended for 30 days without pay for his “long history of tardiness.”

McMillan sued the City, alleging violation of the ADA. In support of his claim, McMillan argued that his requested accommodations were reasonable, as he often worked past 7:00 p.m., so he could arrive late and still work the required 35 hours a week.

The district court granted summary judgment for the City, holding that the court was “required to give considerable deference to the employer’s judgment” as to whether timely arrival at work was an essential function of a particular job.  On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed, finding that while a “timely arrival is normally an essential function,” the lower court “appears to have simply assumed that McMillan’s job required at least seven hours of work each day and that the work could not be successfully performed by banking time on some days to cover tardiness on others.”

The Second Circuit pointed out the facts that McMillan’s lateness had been allowed for years without discipline, and that the City allows flex time hours and regularly permits employees to “bank” time to cover certain late arrivals, all of which undermine the City’s assertion that it would have been an undue hardship to grant McMillan’s request for modified work hours.

The take-away  is that a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA may require an employer to allow for flexible working time for its employees, where such a reasonable accommodation would still enable that employee to perform the essential functions of his or her position.

When to Consult with a NY Employment Lawyer

There are many reasons to consult and hire a NY Employment Lawyer.  You may have been fired on the basis of your age, race, disability, gender or sexual orientation.  Similarly, it is possible that you encounter resistance when trying to take family leave time. It could be an explicit message or threat. Any one of these or other problems should prompt you to consult a NY employment lawyer.

Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC is a Manhattan based law firm comprised of experienced and aggressive NY employment lawyers.  Our team has extensive experience in cases involving discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, sexual harassment and other employment law violations. If we believe that your employment rights have been violated, our law firm will vigorously represent you to protect your rights.  However, not every offensive action in the workplace rises to the level of an actionable case.  A NY Employment Lawyer will provide you with an honest assessment of your situation.

If you believe that your employer has violated the law, the time to contact a NY employment lawyer is now. Waiting too long can harm your ability to obtain compensation and justice. During that time, you may say or do something that could serve to justify your termination or an adverse employment action. Get the help you need today.

We offer free phone consultations for people who have lost their jobs.   If you need help, please contact us and an experienced NY Employment Lawyer will contact you within 24 hours.

Disability Discrimination in New York

Disability Discrimination in New York Unlawful Termination – Disability Discrimination

Extended Leave of Absence May Be a Reasonable Accommodation Under New York City Human Rights Law

The following post addresses a topic of disability discrimination in New York – whether an extended leave of absence may be considered a reasonable accommodation under New York City Human Rights Law.  In LaCourt v. Shenanigans Knits, Ltd., No. 102391/11  (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty., Nov. 14, 2012), an employee informed her supervisor of her recent breast cancer diagnosis and decision to undergo a double mastectomy.  Prior to her scheduled surgery date, the employee met with the company’s president, who informed her that the company was discharging her because of the significant recovery time required for her surgery and the importance of her position. Employee filed suit, alleging disability discrimination in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law.  The employer argued that the employee could not perform the essential functions of her job because she planned to be absent from work for more than three months.  The court rejected this argument and held that the company ignored its legal obligation to consider a reasonable accommodation and to engage in the interactive process with the employee.  While an employer is not required to hold a position open indefinitely, the Court held that a temporary leave of absence, even an extended leave, can be a reasonable accommodation. Because here, the employer did not engage in the interactive process at all and failed to establish that they would have suffered an undue hardship by granting the plaintiff a three-month leave of absence, the Court held that the employee had stated a valid cause of action under the New York City Human Rights law.

If you feel you are the victim of disability discrimination in New York, or have been unlawfully terminated, please contact us.