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nlrb.jpgLadies and gentlemen, the National Labor Relations Board is back in business.

(Well, somebody tell that to the Board, where it’s been business as usual lately. More on that in a moment.)

Yesterday, the Senate voted mainly along party lines to confirm five members — a full slate — to the Board.

NappingThat George Costanza was definitely on to something.

A federal court in Virginia (here) recently denied an employer’s attempt to dismiss the complaint of a former employee who claimed that his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated when his employer failed to accommodate him by waking him when he fell asleep on the job.

The ADA requires that an employer accommodate a disabled employee, if doing so will not cause undue burden to the employer, but will still allow the employee to perform the essential functions of his job.

Just another Monday here at The Employer Handbook. It’s how we roll.

Over the weekend, I read this opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. From the opening paragraph, it had my attention.

After working at A.B. Data for four months, Michael Benes charged the firm with sex discrimination. The EEOC arranged for mediation in which, after an initial joint session, the parties separated and a go-between relayed offers. In a separate-room mediation, each side (including attorneys and assistants) stays in its own room. The intermediary shuffles between rooms. Many mediators believe that this approach prevents tempers from erupting, allows each side to discuss its own position candidly without the adversary’s presence, and facilitates careful deliberation and compromise. But on receiving a settlement proposal that he thought too low, Benes stormed into the room occupied by his employer’s representatives and said loudly: “You can take your proposal and shove it up your ass and fire me and I’ll see you in court.” Benes stalked out, leaving the employer’s representatives shaken. Within an hour A.B. Data accepted Benes’s counterproposal: it fired him. He replied with this suit under 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3(a), the anti-retaliation pro- vision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His claim of sex discrimination has been abandoned.

Thumbnail image for cartoonphoneAccording to a recent survey from MobileIron, more than 4 in 5 employees in the US, UK, and Germany use their personal mobile phone or tablet for work. However, only 30% trust that their employer won’t go snooping into personal information on that device. But nearly the same percentage, 28%, take comfort in their belief that their employer can’t view corporate email sent and received on their personal device.

[In unrelated news, 28% of your workforce is dumber than these two.]

Ultimately, MobileIron concluded that employees consistently underestimate the visibility their employers have into company data, and consistently overestimate the visibility their employers have into personal data.

 

Under federal law, the bar is set higher for proving age discrimination, as opposed to other forms of unlawful discrimination based on protected classes such as race, gender, or disability.

While difficult to prove, a recent article from The New York Times suggests that age discrimination in the workplace may be more common than we realize.

More on this after the jump…

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LunchYou’ve probably heard of this It’s Just Lunch, a Hallandale Beach-based company, even though you may not realize it. I’ll give you a hint. Have you flown recently? Yeah, that’s right. It’s Just Lunch is a matchmaking service that advertises around page 55 of the in-flight magazine of just about every domestic airline.

According to the company’s About IJL page, It’s Just Lunch was founded in 1991 by a resourceful, professional woman. Now go to the home page, scroll down the page to the right and look at the pictures of the It’s Just Lunch “Dating Specialists.” Notice anything in common?

Yeah, the EEOC did too. So, it filed this complaint in federal court.

More litigants are requesting that their adversaries produce social media evidence during litigation. Often this information is reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence at trial.

For example, a Facebook status update about a great day from a plaintiff suing her former employer for discrimination could bear on her claim for emotional distress. Therefore, she would have to produce this status update as part of discovery if requested to do so, because, not only is the information relevant, it is within the plaintiff’s “possession, custody, or control.”

Same holds trues for a plaintiff in a personal injury action claiming that she suffered a debilitating back injury. She may have to produce recent Facebook photos of her riding on a speedboat.

Yesterday, the “New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act,” also known as the “NJ SAFE Act” was passed. I had a long day yesterday. So, rather than summarize the NJ SAFE Act myself, I’m going to lean on Trish Graber of PolitickerNJ to do it for me here:

“NJ SAFE Act” would provide 20 days of unpaid leave time to an employee who is the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault or whose parent, child, spouse, or civil partner was the victim. The leave could be taken within one year of the incident, and used intermittently in intervals of no less than one day. Provided that the employee has not exhausted the allotted 20 days for the 12-month period, each violent incident would constitute a separate incident for which a victim is entitled to unpaid leave.

Only business that employ 25 or more employees need comply with NJ SAFE Act. Those employees who have worked for the same employer for at least one year and have logged 1,000 base hours during the immediately preceding 12-month period are eligible.

theysaid.jpgSo much labor-and-employment-law news this week, I’ll do what I can to cram it into a single post. Here goes…

From Seth Borden at Labor Relations Today comes this news about the Senate agreeing to — gasp — seat a full five-member National Labor Relations Board. How could this happen? Something about a nuclear option and compromising photos..

Staying with the labor theme, Joel Barras at Employment Law Watch reports here about a recent advice memorandum from the NLRB’s General Counsel in which the GC concludes that employers must bargain with their unions before implementing new social media policies. No shock there.

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