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The Modern Workplace

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Fewer employers are choosing the brand of smartphones that their employees use for work. According to recent surveys, an increasing number of companies offer reimbursement based on a "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) policy.  Not surprisingly, this has undermined sales at Research in Motion (RIM), the largest provider of enterprise smartphones selected by employers.  RIM, maker of Blackberry smartphones, has seen its prospects dim as more employees choose iPhones and Android-based smartphones and ask their company to support work use.

Though warning signs have been noted ...

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If you're a non-union employer, you may be under the impression that the machinations of the National Labor Relations Board are not relevant to you and your business. You may be wrong. For one thing, employees have rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act whether the workforce is unionized or not. The Board has made it clear that it will pursue charges against non-union employers for violating these rights, specifically for policies that interfere with employees right to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of . . . mutual aid or protection. What that means is ...
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From Merriam Webster: Luddite -one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest; broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change.

Why do I start with a definition of the word Luddite? Quite simply, I'm probably at least in part a Luddite. I use technology every day; yet, I am reluctant to embrace much of the new technology. That may sound strange coming from a person who is writing on a blog about technology, but alas, it is true. Interestingly, every time I have been forced to use a new technology I have eventually embraced ...
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Last week, Apple announced that it would begin offering volume purchasing for iOS apps. A week later, the App Store Volume Purchase Program is now open for enrollment. The Volume Purchase Program (VPP) allows businesses to make bulk purchases of apps, although Apple currently does not offer discounts for buying in bulk (insert joke about how expensive Apple products are here).  However, the VPP allows businesses to purchase, customize, and distribute iOS apps throughout the enterprise.

So what does this development mean for employers? On the one hand, the VPP gives employers more ...

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As I personally lament Netflix's unbundling of its online services and its price hikes, it occurs to me that the price increase could be good news for employers at least those with employees who find it appropriate to watch TV shows and full length films on the job. A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive and Qumu revealed that 17% of those surveyed watch videos at work, consisting of, in order of the most viewed videos: news clips (25%), viral videos (15%), videos on social networking sites (12%), sports clips (11%), TV shows (9%), full length films (4%), and porn (3%).

The June 2011

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Over the last year, Regional Directors of the National Labor Relations Board have initiated several high-profile complaints against employers for policies and conduct related to social media.  (See Megan Anderson's article about this trend here.)  In these complaints, the NLRB has alleged that employers violated Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining overly broad social media policies or by disciplining employees for protected concerted activity (or both).  However, many of the cases have settled, and none have advanced to trial, leaving a trail of ...

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This weekend, Harry Potter fans everywhere are celebrating the last film in the series based on J.K. Rowling's novels about a magical world of witches and wizards. No matter your opinion of the books, none can deny that the world of Harry Potter has become a popular culture phenomenon. When the film debuted on Thursday, it broke the box office record for a midnight showing.

As a fan of the series, I have to admit that I was tempted to attend the midnight showing of the series finale. However, I know myself well enough to know that I would not be able to function at work well the following day, so I ...

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Photo by Joseph Holmes (via Bits)
As always, the world of technology never seems to slow down.  This Week in Review includes articles about a Presidential Town Hall on Twitter, hackers galore, and the online fallout of the Casey Anthony trial.  Among all the news of the week, I was captivated by the New York Times coverage of Joseph Holmes's online series of photographs entitled "Texters."  The series depicts individuals around New York City peering down at their smartphones, completely absorbed in the world of technology and often oblivious of their surroundings.

Besides providing an ...
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Earlier this week, I wrote about the speed of change in the world of technology. The next day, Google announced its latest entry into the social media world: the Google+ project. The Google+ project aims to challenge Facebook with features such as "Circles" for sharing of information with smaller groups, "Huddle" for group messaging, and "Hangouts" for video chatting. Although these features exist in other tools and networks, the combination in one platform could ultimately make Google+ a worthy rival to Facebook.

So what does this development mean for employers?  For the time being ...

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Posted in Immigration
You may have noticed a slight chill in the air a couple of weeks ago when, for the second time this year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency notified 1,000 employers that it plans to inspect their I-9 records.  The Notices of Intent to Audit (NOI) that were issued on June 15, 2011, bring the total number of companies audited by ICE to more than 2,300 for this fiscal year, which already surpasses last years record of 2,196.  According to a statement issued by ICE, the employers affected by this most recent round of audits were selected primarily based on tips and leads, though ...
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