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Gregg Kligman Quoted In “Dropped from the drug test”

A new law in New York City will prohibit most employers who operate there from conducting pre-employment drug testing for marijuana.

The law was passed last month and will go into effect May 10, 2020.

Certain positions, such as police officers, construction workers, commercial drivers, and workers caring for children or medical patients, among others, were excluded from the law.

About 2.8 percent of workers and job applicants tested positive for marijuana in 2018, according to Quest Diagnostics statistics.

Supporters of the New York City law said it would knock down a barrier that blocks people from employment based on private behavior and not ability to do the job. They also pointed out that marijuana can remain in the system for extended periods of time.

“If you ingest weed in whatever manner a month ago, I’m not sure how that prevents you from doing a job now,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a Democrat who sponsored the proposal, told the New York City Council.

But not everyone agrees. “Private businesses should have the power to determine their own hiring practices – not just in deciding what skills and experience are relevant to certain positions, but also whether the use of a specific drug could have an adverse impact on a perspective employee’s ability to perform,” Council Republican Leader Steven Matteo said in a statement.

While recreational marijuana use is now legal in many states, it is still illegal in New York. But the city’s employment laws are among the nation’s most protective of workers.

“To say New York City is worker-friendly is an understatement,” said Gregg Kligman, an associate in the employment law practice at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein in Garden City.

With the passage of the new law, companies with operations in New York City that have drug testing policies “need to use this grace period before the law takes effect to change their policy or procedure,” said A. Jonathan Trafimow, partner and chair of the employment law practice group at Moritt Hock & Hamroff in Garden City.

Kligman, however, said he is advising clients with offices in New York City to stop testing for marijuana now, rather than waiting for the deadline to take effect. He said it is also likely that similar laws will pop up elsewhere across the state.

Though recreational marijuana use is illegal in New York, the state has a legal medicinal marijuana program, as do most states. Medical marijuana users in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have won lawsuits in recent years against companies that rescinded job offers or fired workers because of positive tests for pot. A number of businesses around the country have simply stopped testing job applicants for marijuana.

“Over the past few years, a number of laws have been passed that require companies to be more careful about what they ask before offering prospects a job,” said Christine Malafi, senior partner and chair of the corporate department at Ronkonkoma-based Campolo, Middleton & McCormick. For instance, laws limiting the use of criminal background checks and prohibiting companies from asking about salary history have gone into effect in various jurisdictions.

“In this environment where unemployment is pretty low and where marijuana is becoming ever more socially acceptable…employers are either philosophically or practically having to take a long, hard look at whether they’re even going to screen for pot,” said Michael Clarkson, a Boston-based employment lawyer who specializes in drug-testing issues.


By: Bernadette Starzee

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Gregg Kligman Quoted in “Getting on board the training train”

By Oct. 9, employers throughout New York State must provide anti-sexual harassment training to all of their employees. But as the deadline looms, many companies have not started the training yet.

“A lot of companies are putting it off until they have to do it,” said Gregg Kligman, an associate in the employment law practice at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein in Garden City. “And some people still don’t know that this law affects everyone.”

Many small businesses don’t have counsel, and they might not be cognizant of all of their responsibilities as an employer, Kligman said.

“Think of all the mom-and-pop businesses that are just struggling to get by with the increasing costs of rent and the rising minimum wage,” Kligman said. “They might not know this is something they have to do.”

But under New York law, all employers who operate in the state were required to have a sexual harassment prevention policy in place by last October. They were given a year after that to complete the training (though all workers in New York City had to be trained by April 1, 2019). The training must be repeated on an annual basis, and new employees must be trained shortly after they are hired.

Many attorneys with a concentration in employment law, such as Kligman, have been conducting training to help their clients comply with the new requirement.

Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, a law firm based in Ronkonkoma, will offer training sessions for employees of multiple companies in its training room next month.

“A lot of businesses have not complied yet, and there are many companies with just a few employees who don’t want to spend the extra funds to have a private training session,” said Christine Malafi, senior partner and chair of the firm’s corporate department. “This is a more economical way for them to do it.”

New York State also makes online resources available for employers to provide training. But while training can be completed online, in-person training has certain advantages.

“A lot of the time, the best teaching gets done in the question-and-answer segment of live training,” said A. Jonathan Trafimow, partner and chair of the employment law practice group at Moritt Hock & Hamroff in Garden City. The firm has provided anti-harassment training to companies ranging in size from about five to 500 employees, he said.

In these live sessions, he said, managers and employees are able to hone in on the questions that are relevant to them and address concerns that are uppermost in their minds.

“There is not likely to be much variation in the content if you are using the state’s program, but with live training the program can be tailored to be more relevant to the company’s demographics, or whether it’s an office or warehouse or factory environment,” Trafimow said.

Over the last several months, Malafi has been engaged by several chambers of commerce to provide anti-sexual harassment training to groups made up of their member businesses.

At these sessions, several participants recounted incidents that had happened to them in the workplace and asked if they should report them, Malafi said.

“The sessions made people more aware of what constitutes proper behavior and improper behavior in the workplace,” Malafi said. “In most of the complaints, in my opinion, the employee who is doing the offensive conduct is not aware that it is offensive to the other person, because the two individuals don’t take it the same way.”

The sessions provide a lot of back and forth on issues such as physical contact in the workplace.

“Someone might say, ‘What’s the big deal if I put a hand on someone’s shoulder?’” Malafi said. “I say you shouldn’t do it. You have to be cognizant about how the other person feels, and rather than make a mistake about how they would feel about it, it’s better to just not do it.”

With the diverse pool of people in the workforce – who come from a wide range of backgrounds and generations – different actions can be interpreted in many different ways.

“You might have people ranging in age from 19 to 80 in a workplace, and the age difference can make a gigantic difference in how people act,” Malafi said. “They might not realize how what they’re doing is offending people. With these sessions, there is a dialog back and forth. People feel comfortable because I’m not their supervisor or employer, so they feel more comfortable having an open discussion.”

Campolo, Middleton & McCormick offers two types of training sessions – one for managers and supervisors, and one for non-management employees.

The session for management has an extra component. “New York State does not require separate training for managers, but we feel it is extremely important that they receive extra training because the new law places responsibilities on managers and supervisors that did not exist before,” Malafi said.


By: Bernadette Starzee

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A.Thomas Levin Quoted In, “Baxter House Site Plan Approved With Conditions”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission of the Village of Baxter Estates convened on May 16 to approve, with conditions, the site plan presented on April 11 of the proposed new single-family home at 15 Shore Rd., the site where the Baxter House once stood. Similarly, the commission approved the structure of the home pursuant to the commission’s authority under Village Code 118-6 with respect to new construction in historic sites.

“There are two actions we have to take,” said Chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission Peter Salins at the start of the meeting. “We have to decide on the landmark site proposal and act on the site plan connected to that. We’re pretty much at the end of the time we could make a decision on this particular proposal, so we really have a trinary choice: We can deny the proposed construction, we can approve it without any conditions and we can approve it with some conditions.”

Applicant Sabrina Wu’s attorney, A. Thomas Levin, apologized to the board for Wu’s absence and said she had personal matters to attend to.

Because the board had asked to see additional materials that were proposed at the last meeting, N2 Design + Architecture, PC,’s Principal Architect Frank Genese (also a commissioner on the Town of North Hempstead Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and trustee in the Village of Flower Hill) presented a mock up of an Anderson Woodwright Series simulated divided light window constructed of Versatex, a PVC material that mimics wood—a window he explained has been used in a number of historic restorations and is accepted by the National Parks Service. Salins asked if there would be mullions on the upper and lower portions of the windows.

“There’s two ways we can go with this: we can go with a six over six, or we can go with six over one,” said Genese. “After the meeting last time, the client had expressed interest in not having divisions on the lower window to take advantage of the views.”

Salins expressed the board would prefer six over six because he said the original structure had the mullions divisions in the upper and lower sections of the windows.

Genese also presented the plank siding and shingles that were proposed for the roof. Landscape architect Damon Scott presented the changes made to the landscape plan, which included the addition of two plants to the plant list, addition of plants to the northwest corner of the home, addition of three fountain grass along the garage, elimination of a small section of privet, addition of one evergreen, the walkway was narrowed to 3 feet and the location of the steps were changed.

The commission’s attorney, Christopher Prior, asked what was being done, if anything, regarding the concerns resident Steven Stulbaum raised at the last meeting about the air conditioner and generator units placed on the side of the house adjacent to Stulbaum’s property. Prior confirmed that there would be sound attenuation panels around the units and evergreen screening.

“As an attorney, I recognize one problem with that suggestion from the neighbor, which is the selected location is the only one that can be done without variances,” said Prior.

“There’s equipment that’s quieter than some,” said Scott. “We have a fence on the inside around it, we have evergreens around that and then we also have another solid fence around [the yard], so it’s got three layers of sound buffering. Other than getting a lower decibel air conditioning unit, there’s not much more we can do.”

After the presentation and multiple questions from the commission, Salins asked if any community members would like to comment.

“Again, this does not look like the Baxter House,” said Kathy Coley. “I’m disappointed. I appreciate the concerns you have for our neighbors’ closeness to the new house. I didn’t hear anything about the trees that might be cut down. I’m feeling a little disheartened.” Jill Berg, a third-generation Port resident, held similar sentiments and said, “Aesthetically, the house looks beautiful, but it doesn’t close enough represent the Baxter House to me. The siding that was shown doesn’t represent it enough. The second-floor deck wasn’t even existent on the old house. There are too many variations on it.”

“It seems to me relatively minor modifications of the design to get the different setback in the front and not to have this patio going across the second floor might not be a major modification, so a gentle question, would the client consider the concerns of me and the residents,” asked commission member Michael Marmor.

“I think I can speak to the gentle question, but the answer is no,” responded Levin. “The goal here is to have a decision on whether this is an appropriate design, not whether it’s the most appropriate or the one you like the best. It’s the owner’s choice. What I’m hearing from everybody is it’s appropriate, but they would like something better. You’re not entitled to that.”

“I understand, but on the other hand, I do want the other members on the committee to exercise their judgment in terms of their interpretation of our jurisdiction,” said Salins.
The commission recessed to executive session for about 40 minutes. Once they returned, the board unanimously voted to approve both decisions with conditions.

Conditions included an amendment to the landscape plan to switch out a type of grass for a non-invasive type of grass; the addition of juniper planting to the area where there are no windows; condition that the driveway be no more than 12 feet wide and the turnaround no more than 20 feet wide; a condition that the windows have six over six mullions; any trees in the village right of way shall not be removed unless the village board of trustees approves; and the air conditioning and compressor shall meet a noise level of 59 decibels or less.

To address the possibility of the site containing Native American remains or artifacts, a condition states that if any such type of artifact or remain is found, the construction stops, the entities that have jurisdiction over that are notified and the superintendent of buildings resolves the issue. In order to address the possibility of soil contaminants, including lead, prior to the issuance of any building permit, the owner of the premises shall present to the village and superintendent of buildings evidence, including soil samples.

Click here for the original article at Port Washington News.

By:  Christina Claus

Paul F. Millus Appointed as a Delegate of the EDNY’s “Litigation Efficiency Roundtable”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 – Paul F. Millus was selected as one of two delegates by the Chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association to participate in the Eastern District of New York’s “Litigation Efficiency Roundtable” with Judge Vitaliano, Magistrate Judge Gold, and Magistrate Judge Levy, which was held at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn.

The Roundtable provides an opportunity for members of the bar to talk to the judiciary about what practices are working and should be more widespread to yield a quick and efficient resolution of actions while ensuring that justice is done.

Matthew A. Marcucci Joins Meyer Suozzi’s Litigation Practice

May 22, 2019 (Garden City, N.Y.) – Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. is pleased to announce that Matthew A. Marcucci has joined the firm as an Associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department in the firm’s Garden City office.

Mr. Marcucci litigates and arbitrates complex commercial disputes.  He has prosecuted and defended actions alleging business torts, fraud, breach of contract, professional malpractice, and intellectual property violations. Before joining Meyer Suozzi, Mr. Marcucci worked at two boutique Manhattan-based law firms where he represented a diverse array of high-profile clients in advertising, arts and entertainment, real estate, manufacturing, finance, aviation, and hospitality.

Kevin Schlosser, Chair of Meyer, Suozzi’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, said he was pleased that the firm was able to continue to grow the department with such talented additions:  “We welcome Matthew Marcucci to our experienced and skilled Litigation practice. He will undoubtedly provide excellent support and strengthen our ability to serve our clients in a first-rate manner.”

Mr. Marcucci received his J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law in 2014, where he was the Senior Writing & Research Editor of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.  While in law school, Mr. Marcucci served as a judicial intern at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009.

In addition to practicing law, Mr. Marcucci, a resident of New York, N.Y., has sung professionally, including a performance at Carnegie Hall.  He also has proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.

Meyer Suozzi Awards Scholarship to Six Veterans Attending Nassau Community College

May 9, 2019 – Meyer Suozzi is proud to announce that it has awarded scholarships to six veterans now enrolled at Nassau Community College (NCC). The NCC scholarship program, which was initiated by our firm in 2011, recognizes local veterans who are continuing their education after returning from military service.

The Meyer Suozzi scholarship committee is chaired by A. Thomas Levin, Chair of the firm’s Local Government, Land Use and Environmental Compliance and Professional Responsibility practices, and previously served as President of both the New York State Bar and Nassau County Bar Associations.

The scholarship awards ceremony had taken place on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at NCC.

“Our firm has had the honor of awarding scholarships to over 55 veterans, who excelled academically, over the past eight years,” said Meyer Suozzi Managing Attorney, Patricia Galteri. “We deeply appreciate those who serve in our military and their commitment to our country. We wish them great success in their future endeavors.”

About the scholarship recipients:

Erik Rodriquez, a resident of Westbury, proudly served five years in the United States Army. Mr. Rodriquez’s experience in Afghanistan helped instill better academic values. While stationed there Mr. Rodriquez became very interested in reading. He is a very hard working individual, working three jobs while being enrolled as a full-time student.

James Cornetta is a resident of Westbury. He was stationed in Afghanistan for about a year. Mr. Cornetta has been able to pursue his love of education, teaching, and molding the young minds of America as a future educator. Mr. Cornetta also plans to provide guidance to Veterans who have lost their way.

Joseph Kohout, a resident of Greenlawn, served in the United States Navy.  He is currently pursuing a degree in Engineering Science in hopes to use this degree to get a B.S. in civil engineering. Mr. Kohout has a background as a submarine nuclear water chemist which can help him solve the high nitrogen content in Long Island’s water. Currently, Mr. Kohout is an officer in the NCC Student Veterans of America chapter.

Ou Qiang, a resident of Mineola, served in the United States Navy.  Mr. Qiang has wanted to become an electrical engineer since High School and obtained his first electrical related work when joining the Navy.  After being honorably discharged, Mr. Qiang began pursuing his dream of getting an Associate’s degree in Engineering Science at NCC and he hopes to one day receive a Master’s Degree in the field.  As a full-time student, husband, and father, Mr. Quiang has a very busy life and his main source of income is doing funeral honor duty for N.O.S.C Long Island.

Patrick Connell, a resident of New Hyde Park, served in the United States Military. He is currently a National Guardsman. Mr. Connell is a husband and father and is new to the Long Island region. He has pursued a non-traditional career that involves properties that need rehabilitation. His goal is to eventually become a General Contractor.

Patrick Martins, a resident of Freeport, served in the Marines. He studies Electrical Engineering Technology at NCC and hopes to acquire a vast skill set in that field to use within his community. He would eventually like to open his own electronics business.


James Garbus Receives the Executive Circle Award

On May 16th, James D. Garbus will be awarded Long Island Business News’ Executive Circle Award.

The Executive Circle Awards celebrates c-suites, directors and other senior level executives who consistently demonstrate remarkable leadership skills, integrity, values, vision, commitment to excellence, company performance, community service, and diversity.

Richard Eisenberg Honored at Touro Law Center’s With Liberty & Justice For All Dinner

On May 16th, Richard Eisenberg was honored with the Paul S. Miller Award at Touro Law Center’s With Liberty & Justice For All Dinner.

Since 1995, Touro Law Center has honored distinguished members of our community and alumni at our annual “With Liberty & Justice for All” Dinner Celebration. Each year, we recognize their outstanding achievements and commitments to the community with an induction into the Builders Society. The Builders Society was created to recognize and celebrate those individuals who played a role in the establishment and in the creation of a solid foundation for the Law Center.

Hon. Randall Eng Honored at Queens County Bar Association

On May 2, 2019, Hon. Randall T. Eng was honored with the Charles W. Froessel Award at the Queens County Bar Association’s 142nd Annual Dinner and Installation of Officers and Managers.

The Queens County Bar Association hosted its annual installation dinner where over 300 professionals were in attendance, including many Judges of the trial courts and Appellate Divisions. Their special honorees this year were the soon to be retiring Queens County Civil Term Administrative Judge, the Honorable Jeremy Weinstein and Queens County District Attorney, the Honorable Richard Brown. They presented the Charles W. Froessel Award to the Honorable Randall T. Eng.

A. Thomas Levin Quoted in, “Residents raise issues with proposed Baxter house”

A site plan for the proposed replacement of the historic Baxter House was brought before the Village of Baxter Estates Landmarks Preservation Commission on Thursday.

Sabrina Wu, the owner of the property, demolished the home in October 2017 after a fire severely damaged it several months earlier.

Many of the residents who attended the public hearing at Village Hall said that the proposed replacement for the home that stood at 15 Shore Road for over 300 years was not the replica they were expecting.

A. Thomas Levin, Wu’s attorney, said that he and his client hold the position that the village cannot force them to build a replica of the home.

Wu purchased the Baxter House in 2003, and in 2005 the home’s exterior was landmarked in a decision that she opposed.

Shortly before the blaze, Wu of Flushing, Queens, submitted an application to demolish the home and rebuild a replica on the property.

The house, built in 1692, has historic roots dating back to the Revolutionary War, when it housed Hessian soldiers, and it was home to renowned architect Addison Mizner in the early 20th century.

Wu contracted with N2 Design + Architecture, based in Baxter Estates, to design the proposed home.

Frank Genese, the principal of the architectural firm and a trustee in Flower Hill, billed the proposed structure as a modern house with historic characteristics.

He said the proposed development follows current building codes and would not require any variances from the village Building Department.

Genese said he and his team did a lot of research to come up with a plan that would respect the character of the home without creating a replica of it.

Creating a replica would be almost impossible, he said, given the client’s program as well as zoning, setback and building code requirements.

He said the proposed design is governed by current codes, such as stormwater management and the state energy code.

“So even though we are trying to create a sympathetic design,” Genese said, “we have to meet those requirements by using modern materials.”

Genese said his firm incorporated elements from the former house such as the dormers, roof lines, brackets along the gable roof section, the hardware that attaches shutters and some of the profiles of the railings and banisters.

He said the original house was added onto over time which made it a conglomerate of several additions and not one cohesive structure.

The proposed structure is 44 feet wide and Genese said it is very close in square footage to the original house.

Historic gray was selected for the exterior of the home with solid white trim and a dark charcoal gray for the shutters.

The architects proposed building the exterior of the home out of a material called Hardie planks, a flame-resistant material used in lieu of wood.

Peter Salins, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, mentioned that the original home was shingled and said it would be helpful for the board to see an actual plank to review.

Genese said that he and his team did not believe a shingled look would be consistent with the style of the proposed home.

He said for the columns of the home, designers chose a 12-inch tapered column, which he said is a very good replica of the former home.

Genese said that the proposed house will not include a habitable attic and he expects the flooring of the home’s porches will be constructed with wood.

Resident Michael Scotto said he does not think the house is consistent with the site.

“While the commission may approve the construction of a structure with a similar architectural style, as [village Attorney Chris Prior] mentioned, I don’t believe that the proposed structure is in the best interest of the site or frankly appropriate,” Scotto said.

Scotto reminded the board that almost two years ago, the commission found that Wu allowed the house to deteriorate to a point where it was in disrepair and needed to be demolished.

He implored the commission to reject the proposal and require Wu to rebuild a house more consistent with plans of the architect Norman Nemec, which he believes are more uniform with the original home.

Steve Stalbaum, a resident whose home is adjacent to the property, raised concerns over lead in the soil.

He said that the lead on the exterior of the house was 183 times the allowable amount and when the house was demolished there was lead consistently in the air. He said he was advised by medical personnel to keep the windows and doors closed.

He suggested that the owner commission a lead test on the soil outside of the home.

Bob Barbach, the village’s superintendent of buildings, said he thinks it would be prudent to get a test or to see certification that there is no contamination in the soil, not only for lead but also for any other possible contaminants.

Third-generation Port Washington resident Jill Morrison, who is not a resident of Baxter Estates, said she wants to know what this proposed home has to do with the original structure.

“We were expecting a replica, and that’s not a replica, it’s an imitation,” she said.

Kathy Coley, a resident of Baxter Estates, said she doesn’t hate the proposed home but it was not the replica she was expecting.

“I hope we will have a new beautiful replica of our house, our Baxter House,” she said.

Levin said, “We have been working very hard to try to find something that’s suitable for the village and satisfactory in the village.”

He said he thinks the proposed design is appropriate under the required code sections and is compatible with the neighborhood and the nature of the property.

Barbach said in a statement that the design as currently proposed “is fully compliant with all zoning code requirements.”

Salins said in a statement that “the commission has jurisdiction to ensure that the project is in harmony with the historic nature of the site.” He said the board’s decision will be based on the design characteristics of the structure and the site plan and technical review by the village’s Building Department.

The board closed the public hearing at the meeting but did not make a decision on the site plan. The board postponed the decision for another meeting that is expected to occur within the next few weeks.