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Mineola Legal Blog

What you need to know before refinancing your mortgage

Lower interest rates this spring have many people thinking about buying a new home – or refinancing their current mortgage. When rates dropped at the end of March, many people rushed to refinance while rates were so low. But before you hurry to refinance, stop to consider the pros and cons.

In addition to current interest rates, borrowers looking to refinance should consider external costs as well as the amount of time they plan to stay in their current home.

Long Island real estate market may soon tip in favor of buyers

With median home prices between $380,000 and $515,000, home sellers in Suffolk and Nassau Counties have seen the benefits of rising home prices over the last few years. But, it seems the market is headed toward a plateau that will eventually lead to a drop in prices.

For anyone watching the Long Island real estate market, here’s what you need to know:

Trump administration proposes overtime rule, but is it enough?

In accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, salaried employees earning less than $23,600 per year are eligible for overtime. This means if you have a managerial position or are otherwise paid a salary, and if you make $455 per week or less, you should receive time-and-a-half for every hour over 40 that you work, under the FLSA. That’s under the current rules.

However, for many years, there have been efforts to increase that salary threshold to cover more employees and better align with inflation. Four years ago, the Obama administration attempted to double the threshold to more than $40,000 for salaried employees, but a federal judge invalidated the rule. Now, the Trump administration is proposing a new rule.

Report: 10 percent of adults in New York report experiencing quid pro sexual harassment

"Quid pro quo" means "this for that" -- and it's unfortunately a common form of sexual harassment in New York workplaces.

In fact, a poll conducted by the ILR School at Cornell University found that 10.9 percent of adult respondents in New York had experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment at work.

Wrongful termination is unlawful. But managers often get away with it.

New York is an "at-will" state when it comes to employment. That means an employer can fire you for nearly any reason -- as long as the reason doesn't violate anti-discrimination laws on the city, state or federal levels.

But if you ask around, many people will tell you they've been fired for frivolous or made-up reasons.

Not all overtime disputes wind up in court

When people think of wage disputes or violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they often imagine that such cases will go to trial where a judge will decide the case.

The thought of a courtroom trial may appeal to people looking for a dramatic sense of justice. Or, it could intimidate people to such an extent that they shy away from calling out potentially unlawful actions. In either case, it is important to understand that many of these cases do not ultimately go to trial.

Should I be receiving overtime?

It's not always easy for people to know if they should be receiving more money than they are getting at work. This is particularly true if you work irregular hours, are unsure of your status as a worker or if the timekeeping records at your job are unreliable.

However, you may be eligible for overtime you are not receiving. In order to get a better idea of whether this may be the case, you should be able to answer a few crucial questions.

DOL: Women, minorities lost $400 million in wage discrimination

Discrimination is a pervasive, troubling issue in every state and industry. And while it is something that workers have experienced for many years, discrimination is a subject that is particularly visible right now.

Recently, for instance, the Department of Labor investigated hiring and compensation practices at Oracle. The case has made national headlines, as the DOL has accused Oracle of discriminatory actions costing female and minority workers about $400 million in wages.

What to know about partition actions

Owning a home in New York can be a lucrative investment. And because property ownership can be at such a premium, not every person who owns real estate in New York is the sole owner of the property.

There are many people who purchase property with a friend or partner, or they -- along with others -- inherit it after someone passes away. In situations like these involving co-owners, problems can arise when one or more owners wish to terminate the arrangement. This can happen through a partition action.

Sexual harassment in the halls of power: New York staffers speak out

It's disturbing, to say the least, any time sexual harassment happens at work or anywhere else. But it's especially pernicious when bosses and other people in positions of power try to wield their power in a sexual way. Do they think they're being subtle? Powerful and intelligent people may think their sexually offensive behavior is somehow permissible, but they're wrong.

These matters will in part be the subject of hearings scheduled for the New York state legislature on Feb. 13. The topic: sexual harassment in state government -- specifically, sexual harassment by state lawmakers.

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