February 2011 Archives

February 28, 2011

Unemployed applicant + no job offer = discrimination?!?

unemployment.jpgIn a public meeting last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) examined the impact of employers considering only those currently employed for job vacancies.

Do those employers who won't consider unemployed individuals for vacant positions engage in unlawful discrimination?

Find out, after the jump (or just watch my baby son dunk like Blake Griffin -- slow to load, but worth the wait)...

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February 24, 2011

Can an employer legally refuse to hire a smoker?

621px-Full_Ashtray.jpgKeeping with this week's smoking theme, I see that the The New York Times recently ran a story discussing how some employers are refusing to hire smokers. The article warns, ""Smokers now face another risk from their habit: it could cost them a shot at a job."

But is this legal? Can an employer really refuse to hire someone who smokes?

To learn the answer, check out a recent post I did at The Legal Intelligencer.

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February 22, 2011

Can an employee be fired for using medicinal marijuana?

"I know you don't smoke weed, I know this; but I'm gonna get you high today, 'cause it's Friday; you ain't got no job... and you ain't got sh*t to do." - Smokey from Friday (1995).


Back in 1995, when Smokey was trying to convince his buddy Craig to get high, California had yet to decriminalize marijuana for medical use. Now, a number of states have legalized medical marijuana.

But what happens when medical marijuana use results in a positive drug test at work? Is the company allowed to fire that employee?

Find out, after the jump.

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February 16, 2011

Teacher suspended for blogging about her students...still blogging!

Natalie Munroe, a Philadelphia-area teacher, was suspended last week after her school learned that Munroe had blogged that she wished she could tell students, among other things, that they were "rude, beligerent, argumentative, and utterly loathsome in all imaginative ways."

Ms. Munroe has since lawyered up, still blogs, and is now gaining national headlines. More on this developing story and the impact it could have on her employer, after the jump.

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February 15, 2011

What do social media, genetics and the NFL have in common?

Nothing really. But I needed to combine three topics into one quick blog post.

On Genetics
I will be presenting a webinar tomorrow (2/16) at 1:30 PM EST on how the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act will affect your company. If you had to click on the hyperlink, then you probably should sign up for the webinar. You can learn more about the webinar here.

On Social Media
PA and NJ attorneys should clear their calendars on the afternoon of February 23, 2011, and get to Mount Holly for a presentation that I am giving with Dilworth Paxson's James Landgraf and Duane Morris's James Ferelli on Social Media Litigation: Claims, Defenses, Use & Ethical Misuse. You can learn more about this program here.

On the NFL
Yesterday, the National Football League filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NFL Players Association. Seth Borden at Labor Relations Today has some good insight into the effect this filing may have on a potential NFL lockout.

February 14, 2011

Exciting News! I just made PARTNER at Dilworth Paxson LLP

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! XOXO -- The Employer Handbook

Happy Valentine's Day!



                                 - The Employer Handbook

Image Credit: ClockworkGrue

February 11, 2011

Yes, you CAN discipline employees who abuse social media


Earlier this week, the internet was all a buzz with the news that an employer had settled with a former employee it fired for criticizing a supervisor on Facebook.

If you think that this settlement signals that employers are powerless to discipline employees who criticize their employers online, think again. Just ask a Philadelphia-area teacher who got tagged for criticizing her students on her personal blog.

More on this story and what it means for employers, after the jump.

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Continue reading "Yes, you CAN discipline employees who abuse social media" »

February 8, 2011

How the Facebook firing settlement affects YOUR company

A company accused of violating federal law for firing an employee for comments she made on Facebook about her supervisor has settled.

How does this settlement affect how your company can control employee engagement in social networking activities? The answer, after the jump.

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Continue reading "How the Facebook firing settlement affects YOUR company" »

February 7, 2011

What to do when a disabled employee requests an accommodation at work

Recently, my friend Sharlyn Lauby, owner and sole proprietor of the HR Bartender Blog invited me to weigh in on a reader question about accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The reader, who is completely deaf, began developing neck pain at work because, the way her desk was positioned, she would constantly have to turn her head to hear anything people would say to her. Although she voiced her concerns to her boss, he just ignored her.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation. What should employees and employers do in this situation? Check out this post from the HR Bartender to find out.

Other helpful resources:

February 4, 2011

Make sure to visit the Carnival of HR


What is this Carnival of HR of which I speak? Originally started way back in February 2007 by Suzanne Lucas aka the Evil HR Lady, the Carnival of HR is dedicated to bringing together the best posts from the HR blogging community! Any employer (not just my peeps in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) could learn a lot from the wide variety of articles at the HR Carnival.

This week, Suzanne Lucas is back hosting the Carnival of HR. And I am pleased that she has incorporated one of my recent posts about how employers should, every once in while, cut their employees some slack.

You can find the latest edition of the Carnival of HR here.

Have a nice weekend!

February 3, 2011

Your employees are using more FMLA

fmla.jpegAccording to FMLASource, employee requests for Family and Medical Leave Act leave rose over 10% in 2010. The top reasons for FMLA absences:

1. personal illness/injury,

    2. caring for a child, and
    3. caring for an elderly relative

With a rise in claims coupled with recent amendments to the FMLA, now is a good time to make sure that your business has a strong, written FMLA policy and is otherwise prepared to address employee requests for FMLA leave in 2011.

Image: hr.wayne.edu