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The Modern Workplace

Posts from April 2012.

What would a Week in Review be without some Facebook controversy? No need to ponder that possibility too long, for this week brings us a whole variety of ways in which Facebook is getting people into trouble. In the working world, a Marine lost his job and benefits because he used Facebook as a forum to criticize his Commander in Chief. In Indiana, three eighth-grade girls got expelled for posting on Facebook which classmates they would like to kill.  In Georgia, two more middle schoolers are being sued for defamation as a result of their Facebook bullying. So remember, whether you are a ...

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The EEOCs recently announced Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 2016 identifies systemic discrimination as a main focus of the next few years. What does this mean for employers? Among other things, employers need to be cautious about policies that, although facially nondiscriminatory, end up adversely impacting legally protected groups.
Given the publicity surrounding the EEOCs recent settlement with Pepsi, the enforcement and litigation priorities  referenced in its new strategic plan are certain to include the elimination of policies that unreasonably hamper the ...
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This week produced more evidence that technology pervades every aspect of our lives, from our work, to our health, to our dreams? That's right, there's an App for that. But don't lose heart just yet, because this week also saw some pushback against the tech-takeover. In the working world, two Nashville men set out to prove that even television shows have to follow the law in hiring cast members. These men are suing ABC for race discrimination, stating that in the 10 years and 23 combined seasons of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" there has never been a person of color in the central ...
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Posted in Labor & Unions
To post or not to post?  Employers now have a temporary answer. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an order blocking implementation by the National Labor Relations Board of its announced rule requiring private employers to post a Notice of Collective Bargaining Rights by April 30. We have previously written (click for The Modern Workplace and Employment Edge) about the Notice posting rule. Now employers will not be required to post the Notice until at least some time later this fall. This does not affect in any way the underlying collective bargaining rights that were the ...
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This week brought some protection for employees in their use of work computers and social media.  The en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that employees who violate an employer's computer use policy do not commit a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  But employees should take note that the circuits are split on this issue.  The Maryland legislature also sided with employees by becoming the first state to pass a bill banning employers from requiring social media passwords.  The bill currently awaits the governor's signature.
Technology and the Workplace
9th Circuit Narrows ...
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I just read an online article which claims that employers are turning to gaming techniques to recruit and screen potential applicants. In fact, I learned another new word: Gamification. Apparently, some companies are finding that gaming techniques help them find better hires when the traditional applicant screening methods are not effective at finding employees with the right mixture of skills. With the expected shortage of skilled workers that will result from the retirement of the baby boomers, finding employees with the right skills and attributes has become even more ...
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All employers have had a request from a potential new employer for a recommendation about a prior employee. I use the term recommendation loosely, because often the potential new employer really wants to find out if there is anything wrong with the candidate they're considering. Providing information about prior employees, or even current employees, may create the risk of claims for defamation or create other types of liability. As a result, many employers try to limit their risk by declining to provide any recommendations for employees or former employees. Other employers modify ...
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As the law attempts to keep up with technology, judges often must draw difficult lines concerning social media and individual rights.  A recent ruling by an NLRB administrative law judge held that a provision in an employer's social medial policy prohibiting any online commenting on work-related legal matters was too broad.  However, the judge upheld another portion of the policy prohibiting unapproved posting of photos showing employees in uniform.  A Washington case asks whether an employer engaged in disability discrimination when it fired an employee after ...
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Posted in Immigration
Last week,  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published proposed revisions to Form I-9 in the Federal Register (go to this link and click on PDF image). The proposed form includes more detailed instructions and greater clarity about what information is required in the various fields. The most notable change is that the proposed form is two pages instead of one. In addition, the draft form includes several modifications and additions worth noting, including:
  • Time of hire is redefined as no later than the first day of work for pay.
  • Clear instructions to employers about how to ...
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