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As the year draws to a close, let’s take a look back at the most popular posts at The Employer Handbook in 2011, based on number of hits:

5. Social media and the workplace. School teacher Natalie Munroe made several appearances on the blog this year. Remember her? She was the blogging school teacher who wrote that her students were “utterly loathsome in all imaginable ways.” Although, Ms. Munroe eventually returned to work, her experience is a sound reminder to always think twice before hitting “send.” You can read the fifth-most-popular post, “Yes, you CAN discipline employees who abuse social mediahere.

4. I’m a poet and I don’t even know it. I’m not sure what inspired the fourth-most-popular post. It must have been a slow news day. How else do I come up with the idea to Haiku — verbing a noun, sorry — about recent employment-law decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court?

Documentation and paying attentionLast week, a federal appellate court (here) allowed a white assistant manager to pursue claims of reverse race discrimination against a bank because the reasons that the bank offered to the court for firing the plaintiff did not jibe with the documentation in its own file. Oh, wait a minute, there was zero documentation in the file.

I smell some trouble for the employer and some good lessons for my business readers, after the jump, of course…

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2910430696_fa78d71d8f_mThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of a disability. What is a disability, you ask? A disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

If your employee suffers from severe migraines that prohibit the employee from working, does the employee have a disability? Good question. It just depends on what “working” means. Click through and I have a good answer from a recent federal court decision…

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I need to come clean with y’all. TMZ.com is one of my guilty pleasures. Don’t hate!

Historia-249And you should have seen the beaming smile on my face on Monday when when I got some blogging gold as TMZ ran a story about a former college professor at NYU who claims that the school discriminated against him by firing him for, among other things, giving actor James Franco a “D”.

The monkey’s out of the bottle now! More after the jump…

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A NJ court recently held that a business can force an employee to arbitrate FMLA claims — even if the arbitration agreement that the employee signs does not contain a specific FMLA waiver.

How does this all work?

Well, according to the NJ Superior Court in Flores-Galan v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., N.A., “an agreement to arbitrate statutory anti-discrimination claims must be specific enough to put the employee on notice of the claims encompassed.” However, “an arbitration clause need not specify every conceivable statute that it covers.”

And, then, there are those that allegedly do. It is on those occasions that this blog can practically write itself.

Take, for example, AutoNation. According to a complaint recently filed in California state court — well, let’s just say that AutoNation better have some good lawyers.

A copy of the complaint and some crazazy unlawful harassment — allegedly, of course — follows after the jump. Along with a few employer tips on same-sex harassment.

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“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”