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New York City employment defense lawyerIn 2020, social media is a regular part of life for most Americans, and some even use it to perform work-related activities. However, social media activity can also often be a source of conflict between employers and employees, and in some cases it can lead to employee discipline or even termination. If you are facing discipline from your employer due to your social media use, an employment defense attorney can help you understand your rights.

Policies and Laws Regarding Employee Social Media Use

Due to the increased prevalence of social media, many employers now have social media and electronic communication policies that address issues including social media use during work hours, content that employees may or may not share on social media, and the monitoring of work email and other activities on work-issued electronic devices. If your employer has such a policy, you may have been asked to agree to it at the time you were hired or when the policy was created. This consent is a crucial component in justifying an employer’s discipline of an employee for any social media activity that may violate the policy.

However, there are some situations in which the legality of disciplining an employee for social media use may be called into question. For example, federal laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Stored Communications Act (SCA) provide protections from the interception of or access to electronic communications without the sender’s consent, such as in cases in which access was acquired surreptitiously or through the use of force. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) also protects employees from discrimination for using social media for the purposes of collective bargaining, and appeals court rulings have held that employee communication with legal counsel may also be protected from employer surveillance.

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New York City employee defense attorneyAccording to the New York Human Rights Law, an employee cannot be discriminated against for a physical or mental disability, and employers have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities whenever possible. That said, what is considered a reasonable accommodation can vary depending on the situation. If you believe you are entitled to an accommodation that your employer is not providing, or if you are facing a medical separation because of a disability, an employment attorney can help you understand your rights and take legal action to secure them.

Who Can Request Reasonable Accommodations in New York?

As long as you are qualified for the position you hold or hope to obtain, and you are capable of performing the essential job responsibilities, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations for a disability so that you can complete your work tasks.

In this context, New York law defines a disability as any physical, mental, or medical impairment that affects bodily functions or can be demonstrated by accepted medical techniques. This can include both temporary and permanent conditions, and it may include alcohol or drug addiction if you are in recovery and not currently using illegal drugs. Since 2016, pregnancy-related conditions can also be a justification for reasonable accommodations.

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