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In these uncertain times, New Yorkers are struggling to find reassurance wherever possible. In the context of employment, employees have been facing questions about job security, income security, and how to balance stay-at-home instructions coming from the government and employers’ attempts to keep their businesses running.

On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State would be enacting laws to provide for leave and paid sick leave for coronavirus related work absences.  Today’s Long Island employment law blog discusses the law’s provisions.

Governor Cuomo issued a press release detailing the specifics of the new leave law.  Basically, the law provides for either paid leave or unpaid leave with job security, depending on factors such as employer size and revenue, and the reason for the employee’s leave.  The specifics are detailed below:

Long Island litigation attorney Peter Famighetti obtained a monumental victory for his client, a small business owner.  Famighetti defeated a plaintiff’s attempts to restrict the way the business owner operated his business and received profits from the business. Today’s blog discusses the dispute, Famighetti’s work to obtain a favorable result for his client, and the court’s decision.

As part of the firm’s general litigation portfolio of cases, Peter Famighetti represents the owner of a social media brand and who is a defendant in a lawsuit.  In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that he is a 50% owner of the social media brand and that Famighetti’s client terminated and excluded the plaintiff from the partnership.

Upon filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff also sought an immediate court order enjoining the defendant from posting certain content on behalf of the brand which the plaintiff alleges could violate the social media platform’s policies. In the same application, the plaintiff sought a court order appointing a temporary receiver to receive all future assets of the brand. Famighetti appeared in court to argue against the application and submitted opposition papers.

Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are Long Island employment lawyers. We receive many calls each week from potential clients and we hear a wide variety of questions from them. One question we hear a lot is “I thought I can’t sue my employer?” Why do employees ask this question and what’s the answer? Today’s Long Island employment law blog explores this issue.

Personal injury law applies when employees are hurt or injured in the workplace. In New York and on Long Island, workers compensation law covers situations where employees are hurt at work.  Under workers compensation, employees generally cannot sue their employers for workplace injuries.  Because many people are familiar with the concept of workers compensation, they believe that the rule prohibiting lawsuits based on workplace injuries applies to all workplace matters.

But, workers compensation does not act as a prohibition against all lawsuits relating to the workplace.  Even in the world of personal injury, sometimes employees can still pursue lawsuits based on injuries incurred in the workplace.  For example, employees injured from construction site accidents may be able to sue the property owner or a general contractor. Further, employees injured in a car accident may be able to sue the other driver.  Similarly, if a worker is injured on property which does not belong to the employer, the worker may be able to sue the property owner.  Also, New York’s scaffolding law protects employees working with ladders, or otherwise working at heights.  Before concluding that you cannot recover for your workplace injuries in court, it’s best to consult with an experience employment lawyer or a personal injury lawyer.

How much is an employment discrimination lawsuit worth? As Long Island employment lawyers, this is a frequent question we hear from victims of unlawful workplace discrimination in New York.  Victims of discrimination may be able to recover several categories of damages which comprise the total amount that an employment discrimination lawsuit may be worth. Today’s Long Island employment law blog discusses the damages available to discrimination victims.

Before even getting to the question of damages, plaintiffs must always first prove liability. This means that an employment discrimination plaintiff must first prove that the employer in fact engaged in unlawful discrimination or retaliation. We often describe this step by analogizing it to baking. In a lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove certain elements. Elements are like ingredients. If, for example, we were baking a cake, we need, for simplicity purposes, four ingredients: (1) flour, (2) sugar, (3) butter, and (4) eggs.  If we did not have one of these ingredients, we may make something resembling a cake, but it would not be a cake.

Similarly, in the world of employment discrimination, a plaintiff must prove four “elements” or “ingredients” to win the liability part of his or her lawsuit.  In short, those elements are: (1) membership in a protected class (such as race, religion, disability, etc.), (2) being qualified for the job; (3) an adverse action (meaning something legally “bad” happened such as being fired); and (4) causation – a showing  that the bad thing happened because the employee belongs to a protected class. If the plaintiff does not prove one of these elements, then the “cake” won’t reason, i.e. the plaintiff cannot prove the case and will not be entitled to any damages whatsoever.

Employers in New York cannot willfully turn their backs to the state’s minimum wage and overtime laws and expect to get away with it. Courts or the Department of Labor are likely to impose hefty fines or penalties. Today’s employment law blog discusses the penalties employers on Long Island and in the rest of the state can face for willfully violating the law. Continue reading

Unpaid wage and overtime lawsuits are often brought as class actions or collective actions. This way, many employees can band together and use the power of numbers to take on powerful corporations. But, on May 21, 2018, The U.S. Supreme Court practically slammed its doors directly in employees’ faces while providing an easy escape route for employer’s to violate workers’ rights. Continue reading

Retaliation in the workplace is illegal. The law protects employees who speak up when they believe the employer discriminated against them because of a protected characteristic such as race, gender, age, disability, religion, or national origin. Employers cannot try to “get back” at the employee by negatively affecting his or her job such as by demoting, firing, or reducing the employee’s hours or pay. Continue reading

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects, among other rights, the freedom of speech.  An unsettled area of employment law in New York has been the question of how much protection does the First Amendment provide to public sector employees like police officers.  Today’s Long Island employment law blog discusses a recent case involving a police officer’s union activity and First Amendment retaliation.  Continue reading

For the fourth consecutive year, Long Island employment lawyer Matt Weinick has been asked to return to Hofstra Law School to teach the Foundational Lawyering Skills class.  Weinick will be designated as a Special Instructor to teach second year law students, commonly referred to as “2L’s.”

According to Hofstra Law School’s website, the Foundational Lawyering Skills class is a required course for all second year students.  It teaches “core lawyering skills” such as litigation and transactional lawyering.  Instructors assess the students’ competency in those skills.  The class is comprised of a lecture and “break-out classes.”  Weinick will be instructing one section of the break-out class on Tuesday afternoons.

The fall 2018 semester will be the fourth year in a row Weinick has participated as an instructor in the Foundational Lawyering Skills class program.  Last year Weinick’s students commented that he was “pleasant,” “professional,” gave “thoughtful feedback,” “He was good, seemed effective,” and he was “Great, informative, knew the material, gave effective comments.”

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