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The Modern Workplace

Posts from May 2011.
Do you believe in the saying that bad things come in threes?  Well, at least for employers, that saying rings true this week given the announcement that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a third labor law complaint related to adverse employment actions allegedly based on Facebook postings by employees.  The increasing frequency with which the NLRB is seeking to enforce its stance on Facebook postings is further reason for employers to consider adopting carefully drafted social media and technology policies, related policies on solicitation and distribution in the ...
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The New York Times ran an article this week that discusses the U.S. Army's increased use of social media to reach out to recruits. In short, the U.S. Army has launched a mobile application and is increasing efforts to reach out to new recruits via social media, including a Facebook page and a mobile blogging web page. Although I wrote about this development in a previous post, this week's article stood out to me in light of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.

While change in recruiting tactics is nothing new for the U.S. Army, this story provides an interesting reminder to employers ...

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This week, the National Labor Relations Board once again waded into the controversial waters of social media. Earlier this week, the Regional Director in Buffalo, New York issued a complaint against a nonprofit employer for its discharge of five employees based on statements made by the employees on Facebook. According to the NLRB's press release:
The case involves an employee who, in advance of a meeting with management about working conditions, posted to her Facebook page a coworkers allegation that employees did not do enough to help the organizations clients. The initial post ...
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Last week, I provided some training to a clients HR team on conducting investigations.  As we were working through some hypothetical situations, the discussion turned to accessing employees emails.  The group knew that their company's policy addressed accessing the emails of current employees, clearly warning company email is not private and that it could be accessed or monitored by the company.  That being said, one individual raised concerns about accessing a recently departed employees emails.  She was concerned about who should have access to the email, and for what purpose and ...
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As Megan Anderson wrote in her post "Does Your Company Have a "Workyard" Bully?," proposed anti-workplace bullying legislation is on the rise across the country.  Earlier this month, the trend made its way to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as Minnesota became the 21st state to introduce workplace bullying legislation
The legislation, introduced as S.F. No. 1352, has been referred to the Minnesota Senate's Jobs and Economic Growth Committee.  A companion version, H.F. 1701, was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives and referred to the House Commerce and Regulatory ...
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This Week in Review highlights the divide between on-duty and off-duty conduct of employees. Several articles from the last week involve stories about employee use of work computers to check Facebook and personal email, look at pornography, and access confidential medical information. This weeks round-up also features articles addressing the uncertainty faced by employers who attempt to regulate the off-duty conduct of employees. Although a recent NLRB Advice Memorandum upheld discipline of an employee for controversial statements on Twitter, another article asks whether ...

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The U.S. Department of Labor has an app for that. On Monday, the DOL announced the launch of its DOL - Timesheet App, for iPhones (click here to download the app on iTunes). The application provides employees with an easy way to keep track of their working time. It also allows employees to add notes about time entries and easily export the entries. There's even a glossary with links to the DOL website, meant to educate employees about their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Here's what the DOL says about the use of the DOL - Timesheet App:

This new technology is significant because ...
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The worlds of technology and labor and employment law are always on a collision course, but this last week these areas seemed to intersect even more than usual. (Maybe I just have David Foley's "Worlds Colliding" post on the brain.) This week witnessed a host of news about technology-related employment and labor litigation, including settlement of the NLRB's threatened complaint against Thomson for the news organization's social media policy. Stories about the theft of customer payment information from Sony have also dominated the technology news, coming in the wake of the recent ...
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In a consumer products case that will likely have a significant impact on employers and employees who enter into arbitration agreements, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last Wednesday, April 27, 2011, that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts states from prohibiting enforcement of arbitration agreements that bar arbitration of class action disputes (AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, Docket No. 09-893, April 27, 2011). In a divided decision, the Court reversed a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that a class action arbitration waiver in AT&Ts wireless service agreement was ...

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