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New York Employment Law Blog

What to consider when creating a non-compete clause

In a large city like New York, competition is inevitable with businesses. No matter what type of service your company specializes in, all it can take is a few blocks to come across another business that does something similar. Because of this, you might start to worry when one of your top workers leaves your company. You’ve taught them everything they need to know for their line of work, but now they have the chance to relay this information to another company you are directly competing against.

Whether you are starting a new business or notice a competing company within your area, you may want to consider creating a non-compete agreement for your current workers and future applicants. This can affect your business in more ways than one, so you need to know what effects this could potentially have on your workers.

Length plays a critical role in New York verbal contracts

Employment contract violations can be a difficult subject in court. Some incidents revolve around how the employer presented the contract. Proving that an employer violated the terms of agreement should be fairly straightforward if the contract comes in a detailed written document. If they do something suspicious with your employment length or payment, you can just go back to the contract to prove they are at fault.

However, not all contracts involve just paper and pen. According to the New York City Bar, one of the most common defenses for contract breach cases is that what the employer did wasn’t in a written document. Many employers attempt to lay out most of their contracts orally, which may give them more freedom over what to do with the workers. If this happens to be the case with your job, then you should know the following facts to see if the case against your employer is worth pursuing.

New York takes steps to decrease gender-based harassment

In the recent years, the nation has had a significant increase in awareness on employee discrimination. Whether it is reports on popular media figures or workplace statistics, there is more pressure than ever for the state governments to take action and make more workers feel safer no matter what gender, race or age they are.

Some states are quicker to act than others. With how many people are in New York and how diverse the population is, there have been no shortage of workplace horror stories and negative statistics when it comes to stuff like sexual harassment and gender discrimination. While the state has made several new bills and amendments in the past few years to alleviate this, they have not stopped trying to make the workplace safer in 2019 as evidenced by the following:

Proposed bill highlights struggling home lives of NY workers

Work plays an essential role in our lives and can control more than we would like to admit. It dictates where we live, who we meet, what we do on a daily basis, how financially secure we are, etc. While our work is crucial towards our development as human beings, we can’t forget that we also have lives outside of work. We have families and friends to spend time with, bodies to keep in shape and hobbies to commit to.

Unfortunately, the line that separates work lives with personal lives blurs for many different New Yorkers. Many parents and close friends are unable to spend quality time with their loved ones because they keep constantly checking their texts and emails about updates at work. It has gotten so bad to the point where New York lawmakers are considering supporting a bill called the “Right to Disconnect.”

New York seeks to grant workers more paid time off

Paid time off (PTO) has always been one of the more controversial parts of employment law. It varies from business to business on how much they are willing to give it to workers and when they can receive it. Some people think certain businesses suffer from having too much of it available while others believe that some companies not having enough of it will have a negative effect on the worker’s health and personal life.

Most of New York’s lawmakers believe that there needs to be some changes to how PTO works in most workplaces. They have passed laws in recent years to benefit certain groups and may plan new regulations to affect more companies around the area. Workers need to be aware of these current and potentially upcoming laws and how it will affect their jobs.

Recent report showcases struggles for New York's TGNC workers

Within the last couple of decades, New York City’s lawmakers have worked hard to try to minimize the amount of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals. In 2002, they passed the New York City Transgender Rights Law to ban discriminating against TGNC people and denying them access to their preferred bathrooms. This year, they became the fifth place in the U.S. to offer gender-neutral birth certificates, giving residents the option to mark “X” instead of male or female.

However, while these laws made it easier for TGNC residents, it did not eliminate the discrimination against the community as a whole. The New York City Anti-Violence Project recently published a report that focused on the amount of discrimination TGNC employees were receiving in the workplace. Despite the laws in the city, many feel that there is still have a long way to go before these workers will feel safer in their work environment.

Several state workers keep jobs despite employee lawsuits

State workers should be highly educated individuals that treat both coworkers and the people they are serving with a sufficient amount of respect. However, there have still been many lawsuits in the past against them citing incidents of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. People trust these individuals to be courteous workers, but some choose to shatter that trust and put others in danger in the process.

In the last few years, there have been a wide assortment of legal incidents within state workplaces. However, many accused workers still continue their jobs after the supposed victim’s compensation. A recent article by NBC New York highlights how many have kept their positions after controversial lawsuits, how much has been paid by the taxpayers to compensate and why so many continue to operate.

Department store continues to face discrimination lawsuits

Discrimination and harassment lawsuits can be very damaging to a company’s reputation regardless if they turn out successful. If a company is on trial for sexual harassment, it could discourage women from purchasing their products or applying for a job there. Strict employment policies must be upheld to ensure that all workers feel safe and welcome to work at an organization.

Unfortunately, businesses that are highly competitive can bring out the worst in their workers. Recently, eight men filed a discrimination lawsuit against the luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue, who’s flagship store is in New York City.

Breach of contract under the big top

Most industries have a handful of veterans who have been around long enough to provide immense value. Under the big tent that is the entertainment industry, lies the smaller tent that is the circus. Today’s circus world knows Larry Solheim as a veteran in the industry. Mr. Solheim has long worked in the industry and now serves in many executive functions.

In 2015, Mr. Solheim claims that he was hired to pull the failing Big Apple Circus from the grips of bankruptcy. He served as vice president and general manager while his wife served in an administrative role. When things continued going south, Mr. Solheim claims that promises made to him were not kept by the partners. Eventually, a new CEO reportedly fired Solheim, and his wife “…without warning, or discussion of any performance problems.”

What employers can learn from Netflix’s firing policies

Just a decade ago, a little-known company called Netflix pushed boundaries by offering a streaming service in addition to their DVD and Blu-ray rentals. Netflix is now a massive corporation reaching numerous countries around the world.

One reason for Netflix’s success may lie in its company culture. Businesses large and small look to the streaming giant as a model for efficiency, ambition and innovation. However, there is one aspect of Netflix’s culture that many employers find controversial: Its firing policy.

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