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This Week in Review comes to you from the ABA Symposium on Technology in Labor & Employment Law. The presentations have been diverse and interesting, exploring the cutting edge of technology in labor and employment law. The presentations have run the gamut, from issues with trade secrets to social media in the global workplace to a survey on the latest electronic invaders in the workplace. (You can read my paper on robotic technology in the workplace here.)

I'll report back in future weeks on some of the topics we've discussed at the symposium. In the meantime, enjoy this Week in ...
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The news last week about iPads and iPhones regularly recording geographic locations in a hidden file raises yet another challenge for employers. Consider the possibilities:
An employee complains that a supervisor who has her iPhone number in order to reach her for work reasons has been calling her repeatedly asking her out on dates and he is showing up where she goes after work with her friends. She suspects he may be tracking her every move using her number.

A line supervisor reports to HR that an employee has been lying about illness as the reason for frequent absences and shares that he ...
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Privacy and secrecy in the workplace. It's kind of a touchy topic, isn't it? On the one hand, both employers and employees expect that information that they consider to be private will remain private. But on the other hand, both employers and employees often wonder about the secrets that the other is keeping from them.

This week's stories showcase the huge impact of modern technology on privacy and secrets in the workplace. From the iPhone location-tracking data scandal to employee recordings of workplace conversations to digital warning signs of an imminent employee departure, the ...
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We all knew schoolyard bullies, and, if we were lucky, they left us alone.  The less fortunate, however, sometimes suffered devastating and long-term effects from bullying.  Society has increased its focus on school bullying over the years.  New challenges have also arisen, however, as bullying has moved into cyberspace with widespread impact.  We continue to strive, however, to provide children with safe, healthy environments in which they can flourish and meet their full potential.

 
But what about our workplaces?  Does your company's environment allow employees to thrive and ...
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The news this week is another reminder that, although technology may appear to change everything, the same basic laws apply.  If you screen applicants via Facebook, the same background check and discrimination laws will apply.  If an employee engages in protected activity on social media, then protected activity laws still apply.  And if an employee sues you, you can seek discovery of social media evidence on the same basis of as other evidence.  These stories, and more, are discussed below.


As Apple's recent ad for the new iPad says, "technology alone is not enough."  Employers must ...
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Posted in Hiring & Firing
I recently finished teaching Employment Law to a group of students at Bethel University.  The class was comprised of students who are going back to school to finish their four-year degrees, with most students majoring in Human Resource Management.   Each class period involved a lot of discussion, with students contributing stories from their current or former employment experiences. 
During our discussion on background checks, one student shared a story about what her company discovered when it did a quick Google search before offering a candidate a position.  The company was hiring a ...
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The worlds of technology and data privacy collided this last week.  On Friday, Epsilon issued a press release disclosing that the names and email addresses of the marketing company's customer data were compromised.  Although Epsilon claimed that only a small subset of clients were affected, I received notices throughout the week from financial companies, travel companies, and other service providers letting me know that my email address and name may have been compromised.


The Epsilon story highlights a growing concern for employers about the security of confidential ...

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Posted in Discrimination
For many years now, employers with more than 15 employees have had a legal duty to make "reasonable accommodations" that allow qualified workers with disabilities to successfully perform their jobs. Such accommodations - everything from ramping stairs to TTYs to adjusted work hours - are meant to level the playing field. There are limits to this mandate, of course: employers may not be asked to suffer "undue hardship" in order to provide accommodations. Courts and commentators have written millions of pages about what's reasonable and what's an undue hardship, but in the end it's ...
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This week's round-up seems to focus on the small world of the tech industry.
Facebook is in the news for privacy concerns, and is said to be hiring former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Google is introducing a new social tool, +1, just on the heels of its settlement of a privacy charge brought by the FTC. And, finally, the Wisconsin Labor & Employment Law Blog reports on the small world of skilled technology employees: the FTC has filed high-profile antitrust complaints against companies like Lucasfilm and Adobe Systems for allegedly anti-competitive employment ...
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