Employers Law

New York and New Jersey Employment Practices for Employers

Attorneys at the Polat Law Group counsel employers on employment practices and represent employers when a lawsuit is filed in court or before a state or federal agency.

Business owners focus their resources on growing their business. As the business develops, there are more demands for services. In return, business owners need to hire additional employees to meet such demands. Whether a business hires 1 employee or 100, there are a vast set of federal, state, and local laws that employers need to comply with to avoid penalties and employment-related litigation.

Our employment law firm assists businesses in avoiding and defending against employment disputes in New York and New Jersey. Whether it’s one employee filing a claim for sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation or a class of employees filing a claim for wage and overtime violations, our attorneys advocate for employers providing a cost-effective defense.

In addition, our attorneys provide counseling to employers for compliance with federal and state laws to avoid costly litigation. Such counseling packages include compliance related matters including:

  • Hiring and firing requirements and considerations
  • Offer letters and employment agreements
  • Internal Investigations
  • Wage and Hour compliance
  • Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements
  • Protecting intellectual property and trade secrets
  • Employee handbook policies
  • Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and compliance
  • Pregnancy and medical leave compliance
  • Workplace posting requirements.
  • Tipped employee wage considerations for New York City for employers in the hospitality industry including restaurants, bars, and lounges
  • Independent contractor agreements and laws
  • Unemployment appeals
  • Employee insurance requirements
Defending Against Wage and Hour Claims

With a significant rise of claims by employees against businesses for overtime violations, it is important for employers to have the right attorneys represent them in actions by a single employee or a class and collective action claim by multiple employees for violations of the wage law.

Federal and state laws regulate overtime for employees. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there are certain legal exemptions for exempt employees who are not entitled to overtime. Jobs that are exempt from both the FLSA and New York law are those that are executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, government, and farm labor, as well as people who are certain apprentices, certain interns, certain volunteers, taxi drivers, camp counselors, certain workers at charitable or religious organizations, part-time babysitters, or individuals working for student associations.

Department of Labor Investigations

In addition, federal and state agencies may conduct an investigation into the pay practices of a business. These types of investigations have been increasing over the years in New York and New Jersey. If your business is the subject of an investigation by the United States Department of Labor - Wage and Hour Division or the New York State Department of Labor, contact the employment lawyers at Polat Law Group for a consultation to speak with our experienced wage law attorneys. In such matters, employers may also be subject to fines, penalties and imprisonment. As a result, it is crucial to retain an attorney for these claims.

New York Wage Notice Requirements

New York businesses must comply with the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA). At the time of hire, employers must provide employees with written notice in English and in the employee’s primary language pertaining to:

  • Regular hourly and overtime rates of pay.
  • Allowances claimed as part of the wage, including tip, meal, or lodging
  • The payday as designated by the employer
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier.

Employers must obtain signed written acknowledgments of the notices and retain them for six years. For any changes to an employer’s pay practice, employers must notify employees of any changes at least seven days before they become effective.

Defending Against Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Claims

Our New York City employment lawyers defend against claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and other employment-related claims by employees. Such claims by employees are filed in court and/or with a federal employment agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New York State Division of Human Rights , or New York City Division of Human Rights.

Once a claim is filed with an agency, there are often time limitations for an employer to provide a response and properly defend itself. Thus, it is critical to act quickly to resolve the issues and protect the employer against frivolous employee claims

Defending Against an EEOC Charge

Experienced employment lawyers at Polat Law Group defend employers before the EEOC and state agencies in complaints brought by employees. The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing discrimination and harassment laws against employers. A current employee or a former employee can file a claim with the EEOC by filing out an application and submitting it to their local EEOC division. Once a claim is filed, the EEOC will contact the employer and issue a charge letter to the employer regarding the allegations by the employee. The EEOC will provide the employer an opportunity to submit a written response to the complaint within a certain period of time. It is important for the employer to respond to the EEOC charge and defend against the allegations by the employee. Contact our employment law firm if an employee files a complaint against your business with the EEOC or any state agency.

Independent Contractors and Classification of Employees

When hiring an employee, business owners must first determine the terms and conditions on which they are hiring and employing. Employers must decide whether an individual is being hired as an employee or an independent contractor. Classification between employees and independent contractors are important as there are significant legal implications for employers. Accordingly, employers should be conscious about the laws regarding independent contractors and the requirements for classifying any individual as an independent contractor or as an employee. Contact the employment lawyers at Polat Law Group to make sure your employees are classified properly and to ensure you are protected by an independent contractor agreement. New York Law Presumes an At-Will Employment Relationship

One of the first questions in handling an employment matter is whether the employee is an at-will employee or an employee under contract. Whether the employee is being employed on an at-will basis is important as it will determine the employer rights to terminate the employee. In New York, if there is no employment agreement between an employer and an employee specifying the definitive period of employment (i.e. 6 months, 1 year, 3 years), the default rule is that the employee is hired as an at-will employee. This means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, for any reason or no reason. However, there are often times when an employer has made certain promises or included language in an employee handbook which could be deemed to offer employment for a certain period of time contractually. To ensure there is no ambiguity in the employment relationship and that an express or implied contract of employment doesn’t exist, employers should confirm that all offer letters, handbooks and employment policies explicitly affirm that an at-will employment relationship exists.

Where there is a written at-will provision in an employment policy or agreement, an employee cannot maintain a claim that there was an implied agreement that the employee may only be terminated for cause. Without a written at-will provision, employers risk creating employment a contract which may extinguish any rights.