May 2011 Archives

May 31, 2011

Coming soon to a non-union business near you: The RAT!

Menacing Ratphoto © 2010 Cameron Adams | more info (via: Wylio)Many of you have seen the rat on the right. Well, maybe not that particular rat, but a large inflatable rat, nonetheless. Usually, a union will position the large rodent in front of a business or job site as part of a protest effort.  

But, just because a union uses it as a protest symbol doesn't make it legal. Does it?

Is the rat even legal?

Find out after the jump.

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May 27, 2011

Addressing teacher use of social media -- on and off the clock

Teachers, do you know what to do if a student or parent sends you a Facebook "friend" request? If you answered, "accept it," then you should keep reading after the jump.
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May 26, 2011

Court dismisses the age bias claims of a pistol-packin' old cripple

A 51-year-old auto-parts specialist with lupus, fibromyalgia, diabetes and arthritis, claimed that his 29-year-old co-worker called him an "old cripple" and an "old man," labeled him "too old to be trained," and threatened to beat him with a baseball bat.

The 51-year-old responded by telling his manager that he would kick the 29-year-old's ass and then came to work with a handgun in his car.

Wha Wha Whaaaaaat?!?!

Did the older employee overreact? Maybe. But was he the victim of a hostile work environment?

Find out after the jump.

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Continue reading "Court dismisses the age bias claims of a pistol-packin' old cripple" »

May 25, 2011

A new HELLA GOOD social-media-discovery ruling for employers

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Last week, I reported that a Pennsylvania state court had ruled that a plaintiff did not have to provide access to her Facebook page during discovery by accepting a "friend" request from defense counsel. That same week, another Pennsylvania state court was asked to resolve whether a plaintiff's "privacy rights" would trump a defendant's request to access the plaintiff's Facebook and MySpace accounts to discover facts relating to the plaintiff's claim for damages.

Pennsylvania has become a hotbed of social-media-discovery litigation. Who knew?

I break down the latest decision, which I predict will be a "go-to" for defendants and courts alike, after the jump.

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Continue reading "A new HELLA GOOD social-media-discovery ruling for employers" »

May 24, 2011

Labor board issues its 2nd social-media-related complaint in 2 weeks

As I previously reported, on May 9, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board issued a Complaint, in which it alleges that a NY non-profit company fired five employees for complaining on Facebook about working conditions. Now, Law 360 reports that the NLRB has issued a second complaint against a Chicago-area luxury car dealership alleging the company ran afoul of federal labor laws by firing a sales employee over a message he posted on Facebook.

Molly DiBianca at The Delaware Employment Law Blog brought this second complaint to my attention and you can read her write-up on it here.

May 24, 2011

New NJ public employees must move to NJ

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Last week, Governor Christie signed the "New Jersey First Act," a bill that will require all NJ public employees hired after September 1, 2011 to live in New Jersey. Current public workers will not be affected. New hires will have up to a year to move.

***I would have reported this last week. But, then there was that masturbating Brazilian accountant thing. C'est la vie.***

May 23, 2011

Before taking medical leave in Cancun, read this...

crayon.jpgCan a company create and enforce a policy that requires employees on paid sick leave to remain close to their homes, unless they obtain the company's permission?

Would that policy infringe on an employee's FMLA rights?

Good questions.

The answers are after the jump.

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Continue reading "Before taking medical leave in Cancun, read this..." »

May 20, 2011

Labor board continues its war on social-media-related firings

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As some of you may know, word has surfaced about a Complaint that the National Labor Relations Board filed last week against a NY non-profit. The NLRB alleges that company fired five employees for complaining on Facebook about working conditions.

The NLRB has issued a press release and much has already been written about this Complaint by some great employment-law bloggers. So be sure to check out the links below:

Have a great weekend.

Photo credit: moremashup.com

May 19, 2011

Female accountant wins right to legally masturbate at work

Yep.

More on this amazing story after the jump.

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Continue reading "Female accountant wins right to legally masturbate at work" »

May 18, 2011

Court bars Facebook "friending" in discovery

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If, in a pending civil action, the defendant requests to Facebook "friend" the plaintiff in order to learn more about the plaintiff's claims, must the plaintiff accept the friend request?

This is precisely the issue that a PA Court of Common Pleas recently faced.

So, what happened? Find out after the jump.

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May 17, 2011

Did you know? A prevailing defendant may recover e-discovery costs

hammer.jpgEarlier this month, a Pennsylvania federal court held that plaintiffs in a contractual-dispute matter must reimburse the defendants, who prevailed on summary judgment, for all costs that the defendants incurred in the production of e-discovery.

Now that's a hammer!

More on this decision and how it might apply in an employee lawsuit against an employer, after the jump.

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Continue reading "Did you know? A prevailing defendant may recover e-discovery costs" »

May 16, 2011

Can you reject an applicant BECAUSE he just completed drug rehab?

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect employees or applicants who use illegal drugs, it does protect those who are "participating in a supervised rehabilitation program, have successfully such a program, or who have otherwise been rehabilitated successfully."

Does that mean that an employer cannot refuse to hire someone who, on the day after he completes a drug rehab program, applies for work?

Find out, after the jump.

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Continue reading "Can you reject an applicant BECAUSE he just completed drug rehab?" »

May 13, 2011

Give me a D-I-S-C-R-I-M-I....(you get the point)

malori1.jpgI had trouble sleeping last night.

If you read yesterday's post, you know that when deciding between a post about an NFL cheerleader who was fired for risque pictures mailed to the Indianapolis Colts versus labor law and Twitter, I chose labor law and Twitter.

***stupid Twitter!***

I won't make the same mistake twice. So, without further ado, I have the pictures federal-court complaint of the fired cheerleader and a brief rundown of her chances of success.

***Oh, Twitter. I can't stay mad at you. I'll give you a foot rub -- right after I finish this can of Four Loko.***

Don't judge me. Just skip past the jump. TGIF, yo.

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Continue reading "Give me a D-I-S-C-R-I-M-I....(you get the point)" »

May 12, 2011

PROOF that a Twitter firing can withstand NLRB scrutiny. Read on...

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I was considering three topics for today's post:


    1. A teacher who was fired for watching 67 seconds of pornography;
    2. This smokin-hot cheerleader, fired for the NSFW-version of the photo on the right, who has filed a national-origin discrimination claim against the Indianapolis Colts; or
    3. A National Labor Relations Board Advice Memorandum on employee use of Twitter in the workplace.


I went with No. 3. I stand by my decision. 

Now, how do I erase my browser history?

While I figure that out, you hit jump for more on why the National Labor Relations Board found no unfair labor practice when: (a) a unionized newspaper company, (b) with no social media policy, (c) which encouraged its employees to use Twitter, fired a reporter based on a few tweets.

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Continue reading "PROOF that a Twitter firing can withstand NLRB scrutiny. Read on..." »

May 11, 2011

Wage and hour claims made easier, thanks to an iPhone app

dolapp.pngThe U.S. Department of Labor has created apps to allow non-exempt employees to record their time on their iPhones and iPads.

For more on this app and how it may impact companies with hourly employees, read on past the jump.

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May 10, 2011

How long does an employee get to review a severance agreement?

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If you guessed 15 minutes, you would be right, according to a recent decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

And you don't need to point a gun at the employee's head? A rusty fork in the doo-dads "knowing and intelligent" waiver based on a "totality of the circumstances" will suffice.

What are those circumstances? Find out after the jump.


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May 9, 2011

Baseball wants off-the-field conduct on the table in labor negotiations

Steroids are so 2010.

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With high profile baseball players like Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo getting arrested this year for DUI, Major League Baseball aims to crack down on certain off-the-field conduct that could give the sport a black eye.

More on how this could factor into the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations, after the jump.


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May 6, 2011

A rare, but important, employer NLRB victory

polling boothphoto © 2005 Amanda Wood | more info (via: Wylio)
On April 29, a unanimous three-member panel (including Member Hayes) agreed to set aside the results of an election that the Service Employees International Union lost by a 131-82 vote.

How is that good news for employers? Find out, after the jump.

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Continue reading "A rare, but important, employer NLRB victory" »

May 5, 2011

Survey says: More people are going online to find work

More than a quarter of people surveyed from around the world are going online in their hunt for work, but many are growing nervous about the potential career fallout from personal content on social networking sites, according to a recent survey.

Highlights of this report after the jump...

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Continue reading "Survey says: More people are going online to find work" »

May 4, 2011

What's up, Doc? Fired for posting patient pics on Facebook

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Earlier this week, I wrote about a nurse who was fired and denied unemployment compensation benefits because, instead of medicating a patient, she was busy posting Facebook updates about a colleague who had soiled herself. 

Oy!

But that's nothing compared to the New England emergency room doctor who was fired for posting pictures of a patient on her Facebook page.

When will people every learn? More about the Facebooking doc and some tips for employers to avoid messes like these after the jump...

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Continue reading "What's up, Doc? Fired for posting patient pics on Facebook" »

May 3, 2011

Can DE employees access their personnel files upon request?

personnel.pngIn keeping with The Employer Handbook tradition (and so as not to reverse any good black and gold mojo), once again, I will follow a Bruins OT playoff win... 

(cue the music...)


...with a look at an employee's right to review his/her personnel file. Last week, we explored whether Pennsylvania businesses must cede to an employee request to review his/her personnel file.

After the jump, same question, different state: Delaware.

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Continue reading "Can DE employees access their personnel files upon request?" »

May 2, 2011

No unemployment benefits for woman fired for Facebooking at work

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If you read this blog (or just about any other labor and employment law blog), you know that social media policies have fallen under recent heightened scrutiny because of the chilling effect they could have on employees discussing terms and conditions of employment (e.g., wages, hours, etc.) with each other online. Where there is no controversy, however, is that companies may discipline employees who shirk their job responsibilities and goof of online -- especially while on the clock. 

After the jump, it's a decision from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania denying unemployment compensation benefits to a nurse who was fired for using Facebook at work while she should have been medicating patients.

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Continue reading "No unemployment benefits for woman fired for Facebooking at work" »