What Does the New Sexual Harassment Training Require?
By now, hopefully many employers in New York have become aware of the new sexual harassment training laws that went into effect on October 9, 2018. Under the new law, all New York employers, no matter how many employees you have, are required under State law to establish a sexual harassment training policy.
New York State has published a tool kit that explains the guidelines employers must follow. Some employers already had established sexual harassment policies prior to the new law. Others may not have any sexual harassment policy in place. In either case, you must comply with the government’s new requirements.
If you’re uncertain about whether your policy is compliant or not, it is wise to consult with an experienced employment defense attorney. The probability is high that most employers are missing parts of the new law in their policies.
Sexual Harassment Training Tool Kit Guidelines
A checklist for sexual harassment training must meet (or it can exceed) the following minimum training standards. Training must:
“Be Interactive (see the model training guidance document for specific recommendations);
Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights;
Include examples of unlawful sexual harassment;
Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual
harassment and remedies available to targets of sexual harassment;
Include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints; and
Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and additional responsibilities for supervisors.”
It is common have questions about the new guidelines and how to apply them. The specific details of what some of the minimum training standards require are not clear to many employers.
Stephen Hans & Associates can answer your questions and help you understand exactly what is required and how to even exceed the minimum standards. We offer seasoned legal guidance based on decades of employment law defense experience.
Thousands of Employees Worldwide Protest Google’s Handling of Sexual Harassment
The Google Walkout on November 1, 2018 in protest of sexual harassment was a worldwide event. The largest gathering of protesters, numbering in the thousands, occurred in Silicon Valley, California where Google Headquarters is located.
In addition, The New York Times reported that workers protested internationally in Singapore, Hyderabad, Berlin, Zurich, London, Chicago and Seattle, to name a few locations. New York also had a large number of protesters. An estimated 3,000 people gathered to protest in a city park.
Since the #Metoo movement began a year ago, sexual harassment has topped the list in anti-discrimination movements. A number of states have passed stricter laws to prohibit sexual harassment, and New York has passed the most stringent sexual harassment training laws in the nation.
What Was the Main Protest Focus in the Google Walkout?
The New York Times published an article on Oct 25, 2018 about the resignation of the creator of Android software, Andy Rubin in 2014. At that time, he left Google with a $90 million exit package and no public disclosure of sexual misconduct.
Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and Larry Page, co-founder of Google and the chief executive of the parent company, Alphabet issued apologies. According to a Wall Street Journal article on the walkout, Pichai stated that Google no longer makes payouts to employees who are dismissed due to sexual harassment. He also stated, “Moments like this show we didn’t always get it right. We are listening to employees, which is why today is important.”
Another point of contention among the protesters was Google’s mandatory arbitration requirement in employee contracts. Employees who were protesting submitted a letter to the company that stated they wanted Google to remove mandatory arbitration and allow sexual harassment lawsuits, the way the Microsoft Co. and Uber had done during the past year.
A letter to the CEO also requested that the board of directors include an employee representative and that Google’s Chief Diversity Officer report directly to the CEO.
Google has been known for its open relationship with employees where debate is encouraged and employees enjoy many perks that come with their jobs.
Do You Have Questions about Employment Law?
Having anti-sexual harassment policies in place has become vitally important for employers in many different industries and countries around the world.
In 2018, both New York State and New York City have enacted the strictest harassment training laws in the Nation as a clear outgrowth of the #MeToo movement that swept the country following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. All Employers must begin compliance with the New York State Law commencing on October 1, 2019, and the New York City Law on April 1, 2019.
I. 2018 New York State Budget Sexual Harassment Training Provisions Contained within Part KK of S7507-C
On April 12, 2018 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law several bills that were included in the 2018-2019 New York State budget. The bills address workplace sexual harassment. Part KK of S7507-C 0g the new law requires New York employers to adopt and distribute a sexual harassment policy and training program. The new requirements take effect October 9, 2018.
A. Content Requirements of the New York State Sexual Harassment Policy:
More specifically, the new law requires employers adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy which:
1) prohibits sexual harassment and provides examples of prohibited conduct;
2) includes information concerning federal and state sexual harassment lawsand mentions there may be applicable local laws;
3) includes a standard complaint form;
4) includes a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation ofcomplaints including due process for all parties;
5) informs employees of their rights of redress and available forums foradjudicating claims administratively and judicially;
6) clearly states sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory management who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
7) clearly states retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceedings is unlawful.
This sexual harassment policy must then be provided to all of your employees in writing. It would be advisable to include this policy in your orientation package. You should should informally and formally routinely remind employees of this policy. Read More
Under the New York workers’ compensation laws, there are two requirements to recover workers’ compensation benefits—you must prove that you were injured and that the injury was work-related (sustained while you were in the course of your employment). Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked about pertaining to whether an accident was work-related.
Q: Can I recover workers’ compensation benefits if I was injured while on a break at work?
A: Under state and federal labor laws, you are entitled to periodic breaks, including meal breaks, based on the number of hours you work. As a general rule, if you are on a meal break or regularly scheduled break, and you remain on company property (in the cafeteria, break room or other location), you will still be eligible for workers’ compensation for any injuries suffered. However, if you leave company premises to go on a meal break, you won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered on the break, unless you went at the request of your employer or were on a work-related errand.
Q: Does the injury have to occur on company premises?
A: Not necessarily. If your employer requires that you travel for work, whether it’s part of your daily regimen or you are attending a conference, workshop or meeting, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits, provided you weren’t involved in a personal endeavor at the time of the injury. As a general rule, there’s no coverage for injuries sustained on your commute to or from work, unless you deviated from your normal route to perform a work-related task.
Q: What if I am hurt at the company golf outing?
A: As a general rule, if you are injured at any type of company-sponsored event, whether it’s a business meeting, a team-building exercise, or pure entertainment, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for your losses. There are exceptions, though. For example, if you engage in horseplay or consume too much alcohol, you may not be covered. However, if the company provided or encouraged the use of alcohol, there may still be liability.
Q: Can I recover workers’ compensation if I was partially responsible for my injuries?
A: That depends. The workers’ compensation laws are based on the legal concept of “no fault,” meaning that there’s no requirement to show that your employer was negligent in order to recover benefits. Because of that principle, it rarely matters whether you were careless—you will still be entitled to benefits. However, if your actions were in clear violation of company policies, or if it can be shown that your injuries were intentionally self-inflicted, your claim may be denied.
Effective Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Queens, New York
At Pyrros & Serres, we bring more than 50 years of combined workers’ compensation experience to clients throughout Queens and across the greater New York City area. We place a premium on personal service and attention, taking the time to learn the specific details of your case, so that we can tailor our efforts to get the outcome you seek. Because of our longstanding record of hard work and success, we receive many of our new cases as referrals from doctors, lawyers and satisfied clients.
We take all types of work-related injury claims, including cases involving:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | Fractures | Burns | Paralysis | Spinal Cord Injury | Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement | Amputation or Loss of Limb | Hip, Leg, Foot and Toe Injury | Hearing or Vision Loss | Back and Neck Injury | Shoulder, Arm, Hand and Finger Injury | Accidental or Wrongful Death | Occupational Disease or Illness
Symptoms of Birth Hypoxia or Asphyxia that Parents Should Be Aware of
Birth hypoxia and asphyxia both refer to lack of oxygen to the brain in a fetus. This can occur right before, during or immediately after birth.
Seattle Children’s Research Foundation explains that a baby’s cells do not function properly when deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Oxygen deprivation can result in waste products building up in the cells, which causes damage.
What Factors Determine the Degree of Harm?
Factors that determine the extent of harm include:
The length of time the baby was deprived of oxygen
How low the baby’s oxygen level is
The speed with which the baby receives proper treatment
When hypoxia or asphyxia is mild, babies can fully recover. When it is severe, a baby may suffer from permanent injury, affecting the baby’s brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels or other organs.
What Can Cause Asphyxia or Hypoxia?
The following can result in these medical conditions:
Airways blocked in the baby
Baby’s airway is not properly formed
Too little oxygen in the mother’s blood prior to delivery
Difficulties with the placenta prematurely separating from the womb
A long or difficult delivery
Umbilical cord problems during delivery
High or low blood pressure in the mother
Anemia in the baby where the baby’s blood cells do not carry enough oxygen
What You Should Look for
When suffering from asphyxia or hypoxia, a baby could be manifesting the following symptoms:
Not breathing or very weak breathing
Poor blood circulation
Lack of energy (lethargy)
Low blood pressure
Blood clotting abnormalities
Skin color is bluish, gray or lighter than normal
Low heart rate
Poor muscle tone
Too much acid in the baby’s blood (acidosis)
The baby’s first stool shows evidence of amniotic fluid stain
If you suspect that medical malpractice might have been a factor in your child’s care, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP , we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.
Warmer weather and extra daylight hours make summer the perfect time for outdoor sports like boating and personal watercraft recreation. New York State has thousands of freshwater lakes and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. These statistics do not include access to the Great Lakes or Atlantic Ocean. You are not hard pressed to find a favorite spot in New York for boating or riding your JetSki or WaveRunner.
However, along with this great opportunity for summer fun, comes an equal need to be responsible and act safely. Every year, people in New York die from drowning and water collision accidents.
Statistics Tell the Story
BoatUS reports that people using personal watercrafts (PWCs) experience a higher collision rate than those using any other type of watercraft. PWC collisions are 30 percent of reported boating accidents. PWC collisions also result in more injuries and deaths than any other type of PWC accident. Which is the greater risk for dying in a PWC accident — drowning or blunt force trauma? Blunt force trauma the greater risk.
Why Do PWC Operators Have Higher Accident Rates?
The main reason is inexperience. Most riders involved in PWC accidents lacked instruction or safety education training prior to operating the craft. An estimated 84 percent of PWC accidents involved operators with no training, and 73 percent had ridden for less than an hour when the accident took place.
The age group that is most involved PWC accidents is the 11-20 year old age group. While a parent would never hand the car keys to their 11 year old, nor let them near a car without supervision and a learner’s permit, even when they reached 16, this was not the case with a PWC. In fact, PWC owners were not the ones most involved in accidents. Only 18 percent of PWC owners were in accidents. Owners’ siblings (29 percent) and friends (53 percent) were the most frequent riders involved in PWC accidents.
Inexperience leads to poor judgment and loss of control.
Safety Tips: What to Avoid When Boating or Riding a PWC
Here are some guidelines to avoid when boating or operating a PWC:
Avoid wake jumping and sudden turns
Do not loan your PWC to someone who lacks experience and basic boating skills — ensure they’ve taken a safety course first
Keep beginning PWC operators away from boating traffic
Do not mix alcohol or drugs with operating a PWC or boat
Avoid boating without a personal floatation device
Do not ride or go boating in bad weather (stormy, high winds, or sudden temperature drops)
If you cannot swim, do not ride a PWC or go out on a boat
When Should You Seek Legal Help for a Boating Accident?
When your injuries are serious and you believe another party was at fault, consult with a lawyer and find out about your legal rights.
In the wake of a work-related injury, you want an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer to help you pursue all the benefits available to you under the law. At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we will aggressively help you seek payment of all medical expenses, as well as compensation for lost wages and any permanent disabilities.
Under the New York workers’ compensation laws, your employer is required to provide coverage for any work-related injuries you suffer. In most instances, your employer will purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover that liability. As a practical matter, therefore, we are customarily working with insurance companies to recover the benefits to which you are entitled.
It’s important to understand how insurance companies make a profit. An insurer will charge you a premium, based on their assessment of the amount of risk you pose. The greater the risk, the higher the premium. The money collected from premiums is then used to pay any claims that are filed. The fewer claims the insurer pays, the greater their profit. It’s no surprise, then, that the workers’ compensation insurance company has a vested interest in paying as little as possible to resolve your claim.
So what does that mean for you? It means that the workers’ compensation insurer will typically scrutinize your claim, and may engage in any variety of tactics to delay, diminish or deny your claim:
You will likely be required to submit to a medical exam conducted by a doctor chosen by the insurance company. That doctor will typically be looking for any basis to deny your claim.
The insurance company may argue that your injuries do not prevent you from working, or that they were not work-related
The insurance company may try to cut its losses by offering you a cash settlement that’s worth far less than your actual losses
The takeaway? Don’t ever try to handle your workers’ compensation claim on your own. Your case may seem like a slam dunk, but your employer and the insurance company can make it a nightmare.
At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.
How Extensively Has Age Discrimination Changed in the Past 50 Years?
Most employers are aware of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) passed in 1967. The law has been in existence for decades. What many employers may not be aware of is the fact that age discrimination continues to be an issue, and in some cases a growing issue. How likely are you to be sued for age discrimination? Are the statistics on your side or against you?
Consider the following facts reported this year by the EEOC in a statement about the state of age discrimination and older U.S. workers.
Age Discrimination Statistics Today
More than 60 percent of workers surveyed in 2017 who were age 45 and older indicated they either noticed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Of the individuals in this group, 90 percent stated age discrimination was common. African Americans (77 percent) reported higher rates of age discrimination, followed by Hispanics (61 percent) and Whites (59 percent). More women than men said that older workers face age discrimination.
Older workers in the technology sector indicated that 70 percent of those on IT staffs had observed or experienced age discrimination. More than 40 percent of older workers in the technology fields feared losing their jobs due to age.
In a Forbes magazine article, the author commented about the EEOC’s report entitled “State of Age Discrimination Statement 50 Years After the ADEA.” The article said that since the 2009 Supreme Court ruling on the Case Gross vs. FB Financial Services, age discrimination has been much more difficult to prove in court.
Types of reforms employers might expect to see regarding age discrimination include unexpected hiring audits along with financial penalties for incidents of malfeasance.
New York City | Queens | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
In the first blog in this two-part series, we discussed what workers’ compensation, who pays for it and how you qualify to receive benefits. But the more important question, at least for you, is “what should I do when I have been hurt on the job?”
Protecting Your Rights—What to Do When You Suffer a Workplace Injury
The first thing you should always do—no questions asked—get the medical attention you need. If you are unable to move under your own power, don’t try to do so. This will often only make things worse. This is not the time to be brave or to shake it off—for the sake of your health and to protect your legal rights, you need to accept that you’ve been hurt and defer to the medical experts to tell you the extent of your injuries. Read More
At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.
Everyone has heard about defensive driving, but what does it mean to drive defensively? It certainly behooves drivers to find out because knowing and following defensive driving guidelines can be a lifesaver when on the road. With warmer weather and summer approaching, an increasing number of cars are on New York’s thoroughfares. Schools are taking field trips and soon families will be taking vacations, packing up their vehicles and driving to near and far destinations. Freeways as well as side roads will become more congested with traffic.
Tips for Defensive Driving
With safety in mind, the following are some defensive driving tips provided by drive-safely.net:
When driving, how far ahead do you look?
If you don’t look beyond the car in front of you, you’re not looking far enough ahead when you drive. Many people stay narrowly focused, but you should be able to see for miles. One way to avoid accidents is to develop situational awareness. You can notice how long a traffic light in front of you has been green or see that children down the street are playing with a ball. When you drive, practice looking as far ahead as you can.
Do you see the big picture?
When your eyes fixate on one other car or a building, you miss what else is going on. You should be aware of what is going on in the perimeter around you and notice vehicles that are at least three car lengths away. Are cars further down the road braking? Has traffic ahead of you come to a stand still? If your attention becomes glued on an accident at the side of the road, you might not notice that the car in front of you has slowed and rear end it. When driving, continually scan the whole view and be aware of everything around you.
In the event of hazards, do you have an escape plan?
If the car in front of you or the car a few vehicles ahead of you blows a tire and its driver loses control, where would you go? Had you noticed whether a shoulder existed on the side of the road or how the road was banked? If you left ample room between your car and other cars, you could see that quickly changing lanes would not be dangerous. The best way to maintain an escape plan begins with staying alert and always keeping a buffer of space between your car and other cars.