Passengers Along for the Ride-Lawyer as Employer - Duty to Comply with Wage and Hour Laws.
By LAURIE BERKE-WEISS, reprinted from NYSBA-GPS Tracker | Vol. 3 No. 1. Spring 2013.
New York law firms must comply with wage and hour obligations to their employees under the New York State Labor Law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Solos and small firms can avoid costly pitfalls by following these tips...
Trade Secrets and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
By LAURIE BERKE-WEISS, reprinted from New York Law Journal, June 15, 2010.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA" or the "Act"), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, has emerged as a vehicle for trade secret misappropriation claims where a computer transmission is involved in the transfer or destruction of corporate data from a computer whose use in some way affects interstate commerce. When enacted in 1986, the CFAA was solely...
Law Relating to Alcoholics, Convicts, Drug Addicts in the Workplace
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, May 19, 2009.
Any time employers make decisions about whom to hire or retain, they expose themselves to potential liability. Certainly, this would make any employer cautious about hiring or retaining alcoholics, drug addicts or convicts. There are, however, public policy concerns...
New Rights for New York Nursing Mothers at Work
By LAURIE BERKE-WEISS, reprinted from New York Women's Bar Association Newsletter, March 2009.
In August 2007, New York State advanced the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace with passage of New York Labor Law § 206-c, the Right of Nursing Mothers to Express Breast Milk (the "Nursing Mother's Law"). The statute states in its entirely...
Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, December 15, 2005.
It is generally recognized that employers are free to set reasonable dress codes and grooming standards that are business justified and applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. In the case of individuals with tattoos and piercings, there is no federal or state law that affords them explicit protection from employment discrimination on the basis of their appearance...
The Employer Strikes Back
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, June 25, 2002.
A common question for a company on the receiving end of an employment lawsuit is whether litigation with employees has to be a one way street. In general, the visceral desire of a company to countersue, recover its costs and attorneys' fees, or otherwise equalize the pain of litigation, is left unfulfilled....
By LAURIE BERKE-WEISS, reprinted from New York Law Journal, May 8, 2001.
In the wake of layoffs in various sectors of the economy, terminated employees, who are generally "at-will" and without recourse against their employers, are increasingly looking at statements made to them at the time of their hire to determine whether they have been the victim of fraud. In general...
The Language of Harassment
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, August 10, 2000.
Words alone can create an unlawful hostile work environment under the discrimination laws. Given the complexities of work relationships and the richness of the English language, however, the determination of when words create an unlawful environment often seems like a Sisyphean task...
Review of A Woman's Guide to Law School by Linda Hirshman
By LAURIE BERKE-WEISS, reprinted from New York Law Journal, December 7, 1999.
As women have gained strength in numbers in the law, there has been an increasingly open discussion about women's status in the profession. The focus is on the questions of why the status of women not equal to that of male lawyers, and what can be done to create equal status...
Workplace Abuse: Unlawful or Simply Unfair?
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, August 3, 1999.
Benjamin Franklin once observed that "when men are employed they are best contented." One has to wonder what wisdom Franklin would have derived from the fact that almost 80,000 charges of employment discrimination were filed...
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, May 6, 1998.
In the recent movie "Jackie Brown," an ex-con played by Robert De Niro asks, "who's that?" about a corpse in a car trunk. His boss replies, "that's Beaumont." The Robert De Niro character wonders out loud "who's Beaumont?"...
By LAURIE BERKE-WEISS, reprinted from New York Law Journal, March 6, 1998.
The $5 million judgment recently awarded by a Los Angeles jury to actress Hunter Tylo against the producers of "Melrose Place" put the spotlight on pregnancy discrimination. Needless to say, Ms. Tylo's claim that she was entitled to play a husband-stealing vixen...
Balancing Customer Preference with Employee Rights
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, August 22, 1997.
Laws prohibiting employment discrimination seek to change societal prejudices and stereotypes regarding sex, race, religion and other protected categories. On occasion these laudable goals may conflict with the business objective of satisfying the preferences...
Appearance Based Discrimination
By LOUIS PECHMAN, reprinted from New York Law Journal, September 25, 1996.
There are no federal or state laws which per se ban employment discrimination based on "appearance." Over the last several years, however, a patchwork of legal doctrines have emerged which make clear that employers do not maintain unfettered discretion...