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Earlier this month, Pepsi Beverage Co. entered into a conciliation agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which the company agreed to pay $3.13 million and offer employment to 300 black applicants who were denied employment because of the companys background investigation policies.  The case has received media attention, but much of it appears to simply be a reminder of the pitfalls of requesting information about an applicants arrest records.  Pepsis policy of inquiring into arrest records was ill advised, but its worth noting that the practice of excluding ...
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This week privacy and technology collide once again.  On Monday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the use of a GPS tracking device placed on a suspect's car constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment.  The FBI indirectly announced plans to monitor social networks when it requested information from contractors who might want to build the monitoring system.  But perhaps the largest privacy concerns this week have come from Facebook's announcement that its Timeline format will soon be mandatory.  So once you finish reading the links below, get a plan ...
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This week was nothing short of historic in the context of technology and the law. Wikipedia, Google, and others blacked out or censored their sites in protest of anti-piracy bills in the House and Senate.  Apple unveiled technology that could change the world of education.  Facebook introduced new apps that help users share even more information about themselves - yes, apparently it is possible. 
Technology and the Law
Internet Blackout Causes 18 Senators to Flee from PIPA (Forbes) (NYTimes) (FastCo)
U.S. Shuts Down MegaUpload, Charges Kim Dotcom, 6 Others with Piracy ...
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Last week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a former employee can pursue her FMLA claims against her former employer even though she failed to meet eligibility requirements under the FMLA at the time she was terminated.  In Pereda v. Brookdale Senior Living Communities, Inc., an employee gave advance notice that she would need FMLA leave because of her pregnancy.  Shortly thereafter, the employee was put on a performance improvement plan and then terminated.  The employee brought suit, claiming that her former employer had interfered with her FMLA rights and retaliated ...
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This week, instead of looking back, we look ahead to the new year. We certainly expect fascinating court decisions about technology and the workplace.  Employers and employees are keeping in line with the New Years theme of self-improvement by using technology to make themselves and their workplace more efficient.  And new technology is helping individuals achieve their 2012 goals, from weight loss to learning a musical instrument.  So click away and be inspired to make 2012 the best yet.

Technology and the Law
Can a Court Make You Give Up Your Password? (ABC News)
New Fight Breaks Out ...

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Employee use of social media tools, such as an actively managed professional profile on LinkedIn, can be quite beneficial to the business interests of an employer.  As with many work-related innovations, however, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.  Social media tools can be vehicles for serious harm to employers.  In particular, the use of social media sites by employees can lead to disclosure of a company's confidential business information, and may also provide significant opportunities for unlawful competition by employees.  These very real threats to an employers ...
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A recent article in the New York Times highlights an interesting lawsuit about a Twitter account. The lawsuit deals with legal and practical issues of interest to employers whose employees engage in social media on the employers behalf.
As reported by the Times, Noah Kravits, an employee of PhoneDog Media L.L.C., and its mobile phone website called, opened a Twitter account and began regularly tweeting under the name Phonedog_Noah.  The company sells phones and related items and also posts articles and commentary.
After the Phonedog_Noah account amassed 17,000 ...
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If the large numbers of crashes by distracted drivers is not enough, companies that employ drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) have one more reason to prohibit the use of cellular telephones by drivers while driving:  The United States Department of Transportation recently announced the issuance of the final rule that prohibits commercial drivers from using hand-held mobile telephones while operating their vehicles. 

The final rule, issued jointly by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety ...

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Posted in Labor & Unions
Among other developments at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as it prepared for another period of inertia brought on by lack of a quorum, the agency announced near the end of last month that it has agreed to postpone the effective date of its employee rights notice-posting rule.  The postponement is at the request of the federal court in Washington, DC, which is hearing a legal challenge regarding the rule. We have previously written about the new NLRB rule requiring employers to post a notice of collective bargaining rights along with their other workplace postings. April ...
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