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New York employment law attorneysThere has been a wave of states that have taken the view that possession of marijuana should not be a criminal offense. Accordingly, many of them have been working diligently to change their laws. New York has recently passed and put into effect a law that decriminalizes possession of marijuana.

Previously, New York was one of 29 states and the District of Columbia that legalized use of marijuana for medical purposes. However, even though medicinal use of marijuana was allowed in New York, the possession and use of marijuana remained illegal under federal law. That still is the case, even with marijunana being decriminalized on the state level.

Given this obvious contradiction between federal and state laws, there are several legal issues still unresolved. These concerns will likely be addressed through the years in the court systems to finally bring some clarity as to what is permitted regarding marijuana under both federal and state laws..

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NYC employment law attorneyThe use of social media has grown so much it has become part of nearly everyone’s life. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who does not use social media on a regular basis. Among those in the working-age group, the use of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are part and parcel of their social and work lives.

For this reason, it is not surprising that lines do get blurred and it becomes difficult to tell when use of social media is strictly for work and when it is for personal use. As a result, an employee may find themselves facing disciplinary action for using social media during work hours, and even in some cases during off work hours as well.

Employers Requesting Access to Employee Social Media Accounts

Employers rightly get concerned about blurred or mixed use of social media. For example, employers may be concerned about:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_medical-marijuana-employment-law-questions.jpgNew York is one of the 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. However, the possession and use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. This obviously contradictory position between federal and state law on the use of marijuana has created serious questions both in New York and across the country, particularly when it comes to workplace rules.

The Compassionate Care Act

The Compassionate Care Act (CCA) was passed in 2014 and went into effect in January 2016. The law allows the manufacture, sale, and use of medical marijuana in the state of New York. The CCA is scheduled to be in effect for seven years, after which it will automatically expire unless it is renewed.

Effects of CCA on Employment Law

A “certified” medical marijuana patient is deemed to be a disabled person and therefore protected from employment discrimination. At least this is the position taken by some civil rights advocates and labor management organizations such as the Society for Resource Management. However, this view has not been tested in any New York court but there is a good chance there are cases percolating up the system and will sooner or later address this question.

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New York civil service job defense attorneysFederal and state governments operate on complex set laws, rules, policies and procedures, some of which go back to even before the country’s birth. One of these laws in New York is the Freedom of Information Law. This law is intended to provide the public with access to information regarding the goings-on in government. In enacting this law, the New York Legislature declared that government is “the public’s business and that the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government” as provided under the law.

Getting Access to Government Information and Exceptions to Freedom of Information Law

Freedom of information laws such as these are designed give the public access to information about what the government has done or is doing through its actors and agents. However, all manner of restrictions and exceptions by the affected agencies can make it almost impossible for the average citizen to know what happened or what is going on. Restrictions may apply for a variety of reasons, including national security and personal privacy concerns.

Civil Law 50-a is a section of the New York Civil Rights Law that puts restrictions on releasing to the public certain information deemed to be “personal records” of police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers. This information is precluded from release to the public on the basis it is confidential and therefore “not subject to inspection or review” without the affected officer’s permission.

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Brooklyn police discipline defense attorney

In New York, state law NYCL CVR Section 50-a prohibits the release of the personnel records of certain occupations, including corrections officers, firefighters, and EMTs. However, police officers are the occupation most commonly associated with this law, and information about certain types of police disciplinary actions is not disclosable to the public or the media. 

By blocking public disclosure of these records, Section 50-a protects police officers from retaliation by criminals and prevents defense attorneys from using a police officer’s disciplinary record to discredit their testimony in a criminal trial. This law also protects police officers from being publicly vilified on the basis of unverified or unsubstantiated accusations or because of disciplinary actions that are unrelated to the cases they are involved in.

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