Earlier this year, I shared the most unique late-to-work excuses. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time” did not make the list. However, according to the Associated Press, a New Jersey teacher used that excuse to explain away the 111 times he was late to work.
In these Summer months, it’s easy to relax a bit. For example, last weekend I spent Sunday morning sleeping off a fun Saturday night in the shade of a tree on my front lawn while my four kids played slip-and-slide
in traffic on the front lawn too. Although, I did catch my youngest two cooling off in drinking out of puddles on the sidewalk.
Can a person whose job is to ensure that the company follows a particular standard of care; i.e., a watchdog employee, bring an action against the company under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the state’s whistleblower law?
In case you missed it, earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court answered this question (here) with a resounding yes! The logic is that CEPA is a very broad, remedial statute, and there is nothing in the letter of the law that carves away protections for watchdog employees. Therefore, when an employee “blows the whistle” on an unlawful (or what he/she reasonably believes is an unlawful) employer activity, that employee may have a claim under CEPA — even if the whistleblower is employed as, well, a whistleblower.
Image Credit: By Metal_whistle.jpg: Markus Schweissderivative work: MichaelFrey (Metal_whistle.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Back when I first started this blog, when I believed that my blogging success would translate into Aston Martins and beach homes, rather than “Can you please email me a copy of your FMLA PowerPoint?”, I had a series of “Third Circuit Employment Law 101” posts. Well, I don’t think I’ve done a “101” post for nearly 5 years. Time to break that streak.
Oh, hold on a sec, I need to respond to another PowerPoint-request email…
Happy Monday, everyone.
Glad to see I didn’t break some of your content filters on Friday with my filthy NLRB post. But, hey, just another day in the interesting life of an employment lawyer / HR professional, amirite?
Today, I bring you a very simple lesson, courtesy of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, from right here in my backyard. That lesson is this:
When you terminate an employee, do not write “Health Reasons” on the employee’s termination form. Continue reading
This “invasion of privacy” question is the lynchpin of a new lawsuit from two former employees of one of the largest beer companies in the world. The complaint (available here), which began in state court, has been removed to federal court in New Jersey.
David Gialanella, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal (full article here), summarizes the facts of the case:
A year ago, five company employees, including Nascimento and Yule, exchanged a series of text messages, apparently disparaging fellow employee Alex Davis. The messages were transmitted using their personal mobile phones, and on their own time, but Nascimento’s personal phone was linked to his company iPad through the iMessaging application, causing the messages to be stored on the iPad, according to the complaint.
Afterward, Nascimento was issued a new iPad, while the old one—with his text messages and credit card information still stored on it—was loaned to Davis. Davis discovered the text messages and complained, after which Nascimento, Yule and the others were questioned by investigators hired by Anheuser-Busch, according to the complaint.
Nascimento, Yule and a third employee involved in the messaging were terminated last September for “‘violation of corporate policy regarding use of company equipment,’” while a fourth was reprimanded, according to the complaint.
My new blogging platform and email newsletter have their advantages, especially the newsletter.
For example, when a daily post goes out to my blog email subscribers (and, if you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that here), one of the analytics I can track is the most-clicked hyperlinks. Welp, in last week’s “Heil Hitler” post, the most popular links were the two that were marked NSFW. That means NOT SAFE FOR WORK. To put this into better perspective, there were three times as many clicks on the NSFW links as there were to the link to the Fifth Circuit opinion I address. Although my analytics don’t literally say it, I will: you guys are hella-twisted.
But, hella-twisted or not, you’re still the best readers on the planet.
Hey, maybe we can just blame those clicks on the plaintiffs’ lawyers who read this blog. (Don’t worry. I love you too. Just not nearly as much). But, I’ll tell you what. One of ’em came through big time by forwarding me a copy of this opinion, which is a great juxtaposition *** Googles “juxtaposition” — nailed it! *** to what I wrote last week about how no reasonable person would construe a single “Heil Hitler” comment from a manager as creating a hostile work environment. Continue reading
The New Joisy Supreme Court just fashioned a test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of resolving a wage-payment or wage-and-hour claim. And, shockingly, it doesn’t involve jughandles, diners, or Taylor Ham.
(I live in NJ now, so I can say that stuff and get away with it).
I’ve got all the details after the jump…
A bill that would have made it illegal for New Jersey companies to refuse to hire a job candidate because of his/her employment status is dead for now. Find out why after the jump…
Come January 1, most NJ employers will no longer be able to ask about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.
Ban the box will be b-b-b-b-banned in the Garden State!
More on the new law after the jump…