Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Amendments to employment law can affect employers and employees

There are times in New York when changes to laws will be made. These can affect both business owners and employees. When amendments are made to various laws, it is important that everyone involved understands the changes and how it might be necessary to make certain changes to how business is conducted, what protections are implemented, and how to handle a particular case. Shortly after the start of 2016, three amendments to employment law will take effect.

The changes involve workplace gender equality, sexual harassment, and attorney's fees in the event there is a legal filing. All must be fully understood moving forward. Workplace gender equality will change by prohibiting employers from exercising discrimination against a prospective employee or current employee due to family status. This will also include requirements that an employer must make when accommodating an employee who has certain medical issues linked to a pregnancy.

With sexual harassment, the law once had certain rules for businesses that had a minimum of four employees. Now the rules are the same for smaller businesses as they are for larger businesses. If a business employs any number of workers, then it is possible for an employee to file a claim for sexual harassment. If there is a claim of sexual discrimination and the plaintiff is able to prove the case, then the employer might have to pay the attorney's fees of the plaintiff.

The changes made to these existing laws are not small and should be carefully considered by both employers and employees when there is the possibility of a case being filed. Employers need to protect from lawsuits for the good of the business. Employees need to be fully cognizant of the details of employment litigation and what they are allowed to do. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in coming at cases from both sides whether it is employee or employer representation is imperative when there is the possibility of filing for or defending against a claim.

Source: bizjournals.com, "New laws you should know about heading into 2016," Marie J. French, Dec. 29, 2015

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