Blog Archive

HR Tip of the Month: Pregnancy Accommodation Requests. . . Are You Responding Properly?July 29, 2016

An increasing number of states and cities have passed laws providing greater rights to pregnant employees than provided under federal law. For example, New Jersey, New York State, New York City and Philadelphia have all passed laws mandating that employers reasonably accommodate pregnant employees. New Jersey’s law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act ("PWFA"), applies to all New Jersey employers regardless of size.  The PWFA (and the New York City and Philadelphia laws) list several potential accommodations that employer’s should consider for pregnant employees. Such accommodations include bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, modified work schedules, and temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work. Employers should review their pregnancy accommodation policies and practices to ensure they are compliant with applicable law.

More information regarding the New York City law can be found at:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/downloads/pdf/publications/Pregnancy_Poster.pdf

More information regarding the Philadelphia law can be found at:
http://www.phila.gov/HumanRelations/PDF/pregnancy_posterenglish.pdf

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New York State and City – New Regulations on Unlawful Harassment and DiscriminationJanuary 2016

On January 20, 2016, new regulations under the New York State Human Rights Law relating to unlawful discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity, transgender status, and gender dysphoria became effective. The new regulations make clear that discrimination or harassment based upon these protected classes is unlawful, in addition to requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for persons who fall into the gender dysphoria class. To read the regulations or the Division on Human Rights’ comments, click here.

So too the New York City Human Rights Commission recently issued guidance to employers on the broad scope of the meaning of “gender” under the New York City Human Rights Law. To read the new guidance click here.

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HR Tip of the Month: Employee Performance Reviews... Are You Doing It Right?September 2015

Many employers still make the mistake of either not conducing periodic performance reviews or conducing reviews but not doing them “right”. To be done “right”, performance reviews should not be a once a year proposition.  Throughout the year supervisors should be clarifying expectations, setting objectives and goals, providing feedback and documenting each of the foregoing.  Employees that are not meeting expectations should be told so in a very direct, but constructive, manner.  Conducting performance reviews right will not only help your employees achieve their fullest potential, but perhaps even more important, it will help limit the company’s risk of litigation.  Conversely, the risk of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims are significantly increased where decisions regarding important terms and conditions of employment are not supportable by documented performance reviews (e.g., decisions regarding promotions, raises, bonuses, work assignments, work accommodations, training opportunities, discipline, layoffs and termination).   

There is no question that the performance review process can require a significant investment of time and energy, but it is an investment worth making.  As your company approaches the year end, it is a good time to evaluate your performance review process and to make any necessary changes to insure it is being done right.

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