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Sounds like a bad batch of Pennyroyal Tea. Just another Tuesday here at the ole Handbook.

<div style=”text-align: right;”>The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting here that Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain’s widow, is reuniting the band ** thank you for sparing our ear holes ** being sued by a former assistant seeking, among other things, unpaid overtime. The plaintiff also claims that Love asked her to perform voodoo rituals ** not yet, next paragraph ** unethical duties such as hiring a hacker and forging legal correspondence. The San Francisco Employment Lawyer Blog has more on this case here.

From Hole to holes in a doll pin-cushion, with a hat-tip to @ChaimBook, the Madison St. Clair Record reports here that a Wisconsin woman is suing her former employer for sexual harassment and retaliation. The plaintiff claims that she was forced to look at nude female magazines, calendars and sexually explicit language used by her co-workers and direct supervisor. Fairly standard sexual-harassment fare. What makes this case blogworthy is that, after she complained, the plaintiff allegedly suffered retaliation in the form of two voodoo dolls in her desk, one of which had a black pin stuck into her chest.

From the state that just loves our sloppy seconds — out-of-work wide receiver who cries about a fumbling quarterback say, “What. It’s unfair. That’s my quarterback.” — comes this case about a Facebooking emergency medical technician from Texas.

To protect the innocent — in the event that you’ve yet to click on the case link — we’ll call the employee-plaintiff “Misguided.” Misguided the EMT was fired after posting on his co-worker’s Facebook wall about how he wanted to boot a ultimate fighter patient in the head.

Instead of just swallowing the bitter pill, Misguided sued his former employer for — get this — intrusion upon seclusion. (basically, an invasion of privacy).

Invasion of privacy on a co-worker’s Facebook page. And people wonder how I get material for this blog.

Feel me flow on this steaming pile after the jump…

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knowwhatyouaredoing.pngA website called, which describes itself as a “social networking privacy experiment,” has begun compiling publicly available Facebook status updates from your employees, which fall into one of four categories:

  1. “Who wants to get fired?”
  2. “Who’s hungover”
  3. “Who’s taking drugs”
  4. “Who’s got a new phone number?”

Although the content may be crude, the site’s mission is noble — to educate social networkers about Facebook privacy controls:

everify.jpgLast week, Governor Tom Corbett (R) signed the Public Works Employment Verification Act. The Act goes into effect on January 1, 2013, and will require contractors and subcontractors on PA public-works projects to confirm the employment eligibility of newly hired workers using the federal E-Verify program. E-Verify is a free Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine where employees may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization.

A first offense will result in a warning. A second offense will result in 30-day debarment from public work and a small fine. All subsequent violations will get you a public-work bar of between 180 and 365 days. Any willful violation may result in a 3-year public work ban.

Moreover, the Department of General Services of the Commonwealth will be conducting both complaint-based and random audits of covered employers to determine compliance with the Act.

Sleep at workI was reading this Third Circuit decision yesterday about an employee who got demoted for sleeping on the job, and all I could think of was Homer Simpson. For not unlike Homer J., a nuclear safety technician, this employee was responsible for monitoring his plant’s equipment to prevent malfunctions that could result in explosions, property damage, injuries, and fatalities. Except, unlike Homer, the former employee was allegedly found sleeping on the floor of his office, with a pillow, blankets, and an alarm clock nearby. Now that’s what I call an all-out Costanza! All that’s missing here are the empty calories and male curiosity, eh Georgie?

Instead, we are left with a baseless age-discrimination lawsuit from a employee, claiming that when he was demoted, it wasn’t for sleeping on the job. Rather, it was because of his age and an unwritten policy “to get rid of older employees,” premised upon a single stray remark and slipshod investigation into the sleeping incident.

Smell that? Yeah, me too… (And it’s not what The Rock is cookin’)

To prove age discrimination, an employee must demonstrate, at a minimum, that the employment action taken occurred under circumstances that give rise to an inference of discrimination. One stray remark and a poor investigation — even if true — do not indicate that age was the motivating reason behind an employment decision, which is the burden that a plaintiff must meet to prove age discrimination.

What’s the lesson to be learned here? If you are going to sleep at work, don’t get caught, of course. Or maybe do your sleeping at home…in a bed.

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D`ohIn my years of practicing employment law, I’ve drafted several employee handbooks and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policies for employers. The policies I draft are thorough. But just the other week, it occurred to me that I should probably add some language to the effect that supervisors should refrain from recommending the book No More Hysterectomies to any female employee who requests FMLA leave, especially to have a hysterectomy.

That recommendation would be stupider than stupid stupid. And, wouldn’t you know it, a company in Ohio appears to have managed to screw that up.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. Well, except for the part about the policy revision. That’s pure BS. But the screw-up is not. Details after the jump…

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FMLA Employee GuideLate last year, the US Department of Labor issued this fact sheet, which provides general information concerning the Family and Medical Leave Act’s (FMLA) prohibition of retaliating against an individual for exercising his or her rights or participating in matters protected under the FMLA.

Last month, the DOL followed up with the “Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide,” a copy of which you can download here. A related webinar, which the DOL held on June 27, includes a list of frequently asked questions. You can view it here.

Although geared towards employees, these are both nonetheless good reads for HR professionals looking to hone their FMLA chops.

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