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The Modern Workplace

Posts from August 2011.

Okay - technology has done some wonderful things for all of us, including giving us the ability to store lots and lots of information.  But, do you really want to do that?

Many employers are looking at ways to be more efficient by using technology to gather and store information about employees and applicants.  Employers store everything from names to social security numbers to discipline data on electronic systems.


You may say, well that's just being efficient.  I'm all for efficiency, but employers need to be aware that they have to balance their need for information with the employees ...
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Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO this week.  Because of his health issues, this was not shocking news but it is a shock.  Apple without Steve is a bit like Disney without Walt.  The company will continue, of course, and likely thrive, but will not be led by the personal, idiosyncratic vision that created it.

One notable practice that has led to Apple's success is the way in which it releases new products.  Many technology companies begin trumpeting new products long before their release, even before they have created usable prototypes of the products.  Tech enthusiasts have learned ...
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One of the most litigated issues in todays employment arena is the classification of employees under the overtime exemption provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Generally, under the FLSA, employees must be paid overtime for any time worked over forty (40) hours per week. However, the FLSA also classifies certain types of positions as exempt from the overtime requirements. In order to qualify for the exemption, the employee must meet the specific requirements of each exemption. Unfortunately, many employers wrongfully classify employees as exempt when, in fact, the ...
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The General Counsel (GC) for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) plays a major role in deciding which cases the agency will prosecute and which legal theories it will apply in making those prosecutorial decisions.  This means the GCs recent analysis of fourteen separate social media cases (NLRB Press Release and link to the GCs Analysis available here http://www.nlrb.gov/news/acting-general-counsel-releases-report-social-media-cases) is highly instructive for the many employers and their lawyers who have been closely watching the NLRBs enforcement activity in this ...
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Our last post set out some of the key points for employers from the recently-published analysis of social media cases by the General Counsel (GC) for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  (NLRB Press Release and link to the GCs Analysis available here http://www.nlrb.gov/news/acting-general-counsel-releases-report-social-media-cases)  In this post we set out some of the key points about employer policies and employee handbooks gleaned from the GCs analysis. 
Most private employers are covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and need to be mindful of the GCs ...
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The headline news this week is the report from The National Labor Relations Board summarizing recent social media opinions and offering additional guidance.   Analysis from commentators and bloggers is only beginning to appear online, and we will be sure to include the most relevant and incisive articles in future postings.  Our impressions are posted just below.

In the broader world of technology, HP's decision to stop producing Web OS products and sell their TouchPad tablet at the fire sale price of $99 prompted comments from legions of tech bloggers.  The most concise ...

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A recent survey suggests that a great many companies are using social media to screen potential hires.  In many ways this seems like a modern no-brainer.  Social media sites provide easily accessible insights into the personal and professional lives of people we don't know in ways that would have seemed unimaginable only a short time ago.  Of course, as discussed in some of our previous blog posts, there are legal risks in using social media to screen applicants and in making employment decisions.  Are you accessing data that you're prohibited from using in your decision-making ...
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The proliferation of social media has presented businesses with many challenges as well as many opportunities.  To address the challenges, employers have adopted policies aimed at guiding employees on appropriate use of social media.  Due to the slow pace at which cases make their way through our legal system, there is a dearth of published court opinions analyzing the propriety of such policies.  A recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision is one of the first in this state to provide such guidance.  Although the case involved a student disciplinary matter at a public university, the ...
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Many analysts from both sides of the ideological fence believe that the economy as a whole may suffer in the wake of the recent debt ceiling deal.  Few believe that the bill offers much to aid job creation or brighten the immediate prospects of the unemployed.  It is hard to find a single opinion piece, news article or blog post, regardless of political orientation, that does not express profound distaste for the compromise.
So who is (relatively) happy with the bill?  Government technology workers seem to have escaped  the wrath of a measure that seeks to cleave ...
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just released a Survey of Social Media Issues Before the National Labor Relations Board (report available here and reported on here). The report summarizes of NLRB actions involving social media and related issues. According to the Chambers review of more than 129 cases: 
The issues most commonly raised . . . allege that an employer has overbroad policies restricting employee use of social media or that an employer unlawfully discharged or disciplined one or more employees over contents of social media posts.
Technology provides employees and unions with ...
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