Employment Law

New York and New Jersey Attorney Counseling Workers

Employment law encompasses all aspects of interactions in the workplace, including hiring, employment agreements, non-compete clauses, discrimination, retaliation, medical leave, maternity leave, and severance agreements. Any of these matters may wind up in heated litigation, making it important for employees to retain knowledgeable counsel for advice and representation. An experienced New York City employment lawyer may make a difference in a dispute. Emre Polat is a knowledgeable litigator who represents employees who need a discrimination attorney or assistance with another type of matter.

Discrimination

Federal, state, and local laws forbid employers from discriminating on the basis of an employee’s membership in a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or age. One of the primary federal laws that prohibit discrimination is Title VII. The New York laws that prohibit workplace discrimination are the New York Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is one type of discrimination. It involves an employee being harassed due to their sex or gender. In New York and New Jersey, an employee may bring a sexual harassment lawsuit under state law even if they work for an employer with only one employee. Sexual harassment is prohibited if it results in a tangible employment decision or if it is so frequent or severe that it causes a hostile work environment.

Wage and Hour

Employers must follow wage and hour laws set forth by both federal and state governments. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer that underpays an employee may be liable for the amount of unpaid wages as well as liquidated damages if it did not act in good faith. Different rules apply to damages in actions brought under New York or New Jersey laws, as an employment attorney in the New York City area can explain. For example, under the New York Labor Law, an employer must prove its good faith to avoid liquidated damages in the amount of 100% of the employee's total wages.

FMLA

Certain workers are eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. These workers must be eligible employees of employers covered by the law. If they are, they may take unpaid leave, during which their job is protected, when they face specific family or medical situations. Their group health insurance coverage needs to continue under the same terms and conditions as if they had not taken the leave. They may not be subjected to retaliation for taking the leave.

Employment Agreements

When an employee joins a business, they typically sign an employment agreement. Although employment is generally at-will, there are certain clauses in employment contracts that courts will not uphold or will construe against the employer. For example, non-compete clauses are construed narrowly by the courts. About 18% of workers are covered by non-compete agreements, according to the Department of the Treasury. These agreements may protect trade secrets, but they come at the expense of a worker's ability to leave the company. Accordingly, they must be carefully drafted to withstand judicial scrutiny.

Sometimes employers ask an employee to sign a severance agreement before leaving their employment. Often, the agreement comes with severance in exchange for an employee's promise not to bring a discrimination or a wage and hour claim. It is important to consult an attorney about these agreements.

Contact a New York City Lawyer During an Employment Dispute

Employers and employees must have counsel from a knowledgeable attorney when faced with the prospect of litigation. A capable New York City employment attorney can make sure that your rights are protected. The Polat Law Group provides guidance to employees and employers in in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey. Call us at (212) 480-4500 or use our online form to set up an appointment if you need a sexual harassment attorney or representation in another type of employment action.