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August 2014 Archives

Can I Resolve a Work Issue Without Bringing a Case to Court?

shutterstock_62847448A lot of times in Westchester County clients come to us because they are having problems on the job and they are really not interested in bringing along a standing litigation, litigation typically starts in an administrative agency in our area of law and that means there is a further delay in seeking finalization of the lawsuit. Typically, now we are seeing that cases can take anywhere between eighteen months and three years, to get to the finish line. Employees don’t necessarily have that time and luxury of time on their hands and often times they come to us because they really are not interested in bringing the claim but they want to come to some kind of resolution. Often times in this situation we can see that employers will offer some type of severance package or exit strategy for the employee that’s not going to harm them going forward. It might include things like getting a positive reference or positive recommendation for a future position and a lot of times employers are willing to work with employees in order to have that amicable parting rather than to have a contentious situation that could lead to litigation down the road.

My Boss and I Are Not Agreeing On My Job Duties

p style="text-align: justify;">shutterstock_213985723When employees are faced with a new supervisory structure, there are different rules and protocol that need to be followed and it’s often a situation where change is difficult. Sometimes, it’s a lack of communication between the employee and the supervisor, and sometimes it’s a clash of personalities, it could be the result of some discriminatory motive. When you come to see us at Gould & Berg in White Plains, NY and want to speak with us about your employment situation, we try to get to the root of the problem and then give you advice going forward on how you should handle that and every case is very different, every factual situation or circumstances are very different. For some employees it might mean having to sit down one on one with the supervisor in a way that is structured and organized and we help you walk through whatever talking points you need to raise in order to make the environment better. Sometimes it is the result of discriminatory action, people come to the table often with preset notions and bias that are built in for life and that doesn't change in the work place unfortunately and it could be that the actions that are being taken against you or the difficulty in the relationship is the result of discrimination and unlawful motive. If that is the case then we can always discuss whether or not you are interested in bringing a claim against the company and what needs to be done in order to have that claim successful or viable in a court.

Civil Servant Employee Suspended Without Pay in Westchester

shutterstock_82784341Civil servants in the state of New York or pursuing to civil service law are entitled to receive notice of a suspension and at times that suspension notice will come with an immediate suspension without pay, sometimes employers determine that the seriousness of the alleged misconduct or incompetence warrants removing the employee from the work place immediately. Under civil service law you are going to be suspended without pay for a maximum of 30 days, going forward from there the employer can continue your suspension meaning you are still not able to go to work. However they will have to put you back on payroll and they can leave you out of work indefinitely as long as after that first 30 day period they continue to pay you. There are often exceptions to this and the exceptions can be found in union agreements and collective bargaining agreements as well as in various counties municipalities have independent acts or resolutions that they have passed which can alleviate that 30 day maximum time frame. There are cases where employees who are competitive civil servants and are entitled to have a notice of charges before they are suspended and they can’t be suspended for longer periods of time.

I Don't Get Along With My New Manager

ext-align: justify;">boss executive deskOften times people come to see us at Gould & Berg in White Plains, NY because there has been a change in their supervisor or a change in the management structure of the company for which they work, and typically that’s when problems start to arise. Often times new managers are desirous of doing things a little differently, maybe they have different rules and different structures that they would like to follow and employees are often caught in problematic situations, for example being written up for substandard performance on the job and other things along those lines. What we do is we take a look at the entire situation to determine if there is any kind of action the employee can bring to protect themselves in that situation. Sometimes, it might include making a complaint to the human resources or personnel department but most the time you need legal advice from an attorney before you do that because you don’t know how to properly phrase what’s happening to you in the work place. You also need an objective point of view because what you are going through is subjective and personal to you and you need to have an unbiased perspective from an outside attorney in order to appropriately handle the situation. Nine times out of ten we can help the employee figure out a road map or a strategy going forward to make the work place environment better for them and that’s the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal was to make you happy on the job, have you continue in your employment and not have a break in service because of course income benefits and all of those things are critical to you going forward. However, sometimes that’s not possible, sometimes there are lawsuits that need to be brought in order to vindicate your rights if there has been such a problem on the job.

Female Executive Being Paid Lower Salary Than Male Colleagues

shutterstock_183660635Not withstanding the anti-discrimination laws in this country, and all the cases you read about, we often hear of women who as Hillary Clinton says "have not cracked the glass ceiling" and find out that they are being paid less in terms of actual compensation and benefits than their male colleagues.  The question is, does that person have a claim? To determine this, we ask a number of questions. The first question is whether or not the jobs that those colleagues have are actually the same job the female employee has. If they are not, then we really can’t make a determination of discrimination on the basis of gender. If we can however as certain that the jobs are indeed the same jobs, and that those employees have the same skills and background, then a female employee may be able to commence a lawsuit for the difference in pay. Some people have heard about the ‘Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act’ which was turned into law by President Obama in the last number of years. This was an employee of a government agency who found out after many years that she and other women had been routinely paid less than other employees. The act that President Obama signed into law basically gave employees the right to go back over a number of years and collect that pay.

Company Supervisor Sued For Defamation in Westchester County

Often time employees feel that negative statements, that have been made about them, regarding their job performance or regarding some particular interaction with the client, are so negative that it actually defames their character or their reputation. The concern always, from the part of the employer, is that you do not want to be doing things that are intentionally putting yourself in a position where you are vulnerable to a lawsuit. Defamation can both include slander that is verbally spoken, as well as written statements that could be impugning somebody’s character.

My Child is a College Student Accused of Cheating on a Final Exam. If Found Guilty, They Could Face Expulsion. Can a Lawyer Help?

Sometimes in college settings, when a student is accused of cheating, the student is asked to meet with an official of the school in Westchester County.  For example, the Dean of the School or someone in the personnel department. Each school is different in terms of meets with the accused student and what their procedures are used.  However, typically the student is not permitted to bring in a legal representative or even a family member. The goal of the meeting, from the school's perspective, is to get the students take of what happened.  They want to listen to what the student has to say and they want to make a credibility decision as to whether they believe the student. Of course once the student goes in and gives a statement, those statements are already on record and nothing can be done to retract those.  It is really important before the student goes and meets with the school official that you obtain legal advice from an attorney in White Plains, New York.

Can I Terminate Employees Due to a Restructuring or Re-organization?

"text-align: justify;">boss fired disciplineParticularly now with the status of the economy a lot of companies are going through reorganizations or restructurings and typically the goal of these reorganizations is to save money. Personnel payrolls tend to be one of the biggest expenses, the administrative overhead type expenses for companies and organizations and so often times when you are faced with difficult economical decisions as to what you need to do to curb costs you will look at payroll and personnel and you look at determining who can be cut from the payroll or personnel and yet still allow the company to function. Sometimes companies approach these in mass reductions, you might have a reduction in force that takes form in laying off one third of your work force. For example, tt may be more pin pointed, you may be looking at certain departments that you can do away with or maybe you are looking at doing away with, you know one employee but yet bringing in two part timers to do the position. Prior to taking these kind of re-organizational steps or restructuring steps you should typically take a look at what legal rules will require you to do certain things in terms of notice, in terms of for example if you have any contracts or employee hand book or manuals that require you to give severance pay to certain employees because you want to make sure that you cross your t's and cross your I's prior to taking the steps of a reduction in force so that when you are going through the reduction in force things go smoothly and you can get the job done in a way that’s not going to subject you to further claims down the road from employees who have been terminated seeking, for example some notice that they never received or type of severance pay that they were entitled to that they didn't get or maybe a pay out on vacation time or part of sick time that they feel they were entitled to.

What Is Selective Prosecution and What Are My Rights?

ze-medium wp-image-1596" src="https://www.gouldberglaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/shutterstock_1658757-300x200.jpg" alt="shutterstock_1658757" width="300" height="200" />Selective prosecution is an area of law that has changed dramatically in the last ten years. It used to be that a lot of times employees would be able to bring claims against their employer, again in the public setting in the event that they were treated differently from other employees in Westchester County, for example they were disciplined for an infraction when other employees were not. Now the courts have really restricted those types of claims, a lot of times you will see selective prosecution claims and settings involving disciplinary charges and again its always the comparison of how you are being treated versus how other employees are being treated and whether the infraction that you are being charged with is similar enough to the infraction that you alleged other employees engaged in to warrant that comparison. The courts always say you can’t compare apples to oranges; you always have to have a similarity that is of a close nexus in order to be considered a comparator. The question of selective prosecution also comes in the area of criminal charges being brought and that typically will follow the line of cases involving a malicious prosecution or some type of abusive process claim.

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