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The Modern Workplace

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In an interesting convergence of events, two Minnesota employers recently found themselves on the wrong side of Minnesota's marital status discrimination law just as Minnesota is preparing for same sex marriages to become legal on August 1, 2013. These recent cases serve as an important reminder that Minnesota law prohibits employment discrimination based on marital status, including discrimination based on the situation or identity of an employees spouse. Minnesota employers should also be mindful that, come August, both opposite sex and same sex spouses will be protected by ...

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The pocket dial: it happens to the best of us. Usually it ends in muffled silence, but, as the events of this week show, sometimes it can result in major life changes, like unemployment or prison time. Take, for example, the two Florida men featured below. One, working as a pizza delivery driver, pocket-dialed a recent customer and left an unintended voicemail full of racial epithets. He and the coworker he was talking to both lost their jobs. A second Florida man betrayed by his backside this week pocket-dialed 911 and inadvertently recorded a message about his intention to murder another ...

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Four different kinds of employees are causing employers grief in the modern workplace this week.

The Workaholic: while employees' constant connection to work via smartphones may seem like a great thing, employers need to ensure that they are following wage and hour laws in compensating employees for this time. The California Public Agency Labor and Employment Blog explains how after-hours, work-related smartphone usage can get employers into trouble if they are not careful.

The Troublemaker: in a recent NLRB memo, the Board found that an employer could legally terminate an ...

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There was a little something for everyone in this week's technology developments. Colorado adopted a social media workplace privacy law, joining 13 other states with similar laws that limit employers' access to employees' passwords and other personal data. Privacy doesn't fare so well, however, according to new reports that forensic examiners have increased their ability to recover all kinds of things cell phone users thought were "deleted," including incriminating pictures taken with the Snapchat app. All sorts of workplaces are now able to accept mobile payments, which is a ...

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 Last week the Minnesota House of Representatives passed Ban the Box legislation, which prohibits private employers from asking applicants about their criminal record until after they have been selected for an interview. The bill, Senate File 523, passed easily on a 107-26 vote, with 35 Republican Representatives joining all DFL Representatives voting in support.  Governor Mark Dayton has indicated his support and is expected to sign the bill into law.

With passage of this legislation, Minnesota will be the third state to expand Ban the Box to private employers.  Proponents believe ...

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Posted in Immigration

The newly revised Form I-9 went into full effect  this past week on May 7, 2013.  USCIS rolled out the new form earlier this year, but gave employers a 60-day grace period to transition.  As of last Tuesday, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is no longer accepting the previous version of Form I-9. Employers must use this new form for all new hires and reverifications going forward, but they do not need to complete a new Form I-9 for existing employees with a properly completed form on file.  For more information on the changes to the new Form I-9, please visit the previous blog ...

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Don't text a texter -- at least not one who's driving. A New Jersey court of appeals is currently considering whether a young woman who texted an individual she allegedly knew was driving could be held liable for the damage arising out of that distraction. If this theory succeeds, it could give employers one more thing to worry about, and may affect how employers communicate with traveling employees. While not illegal yet, it's still a good idea to avoid texting employees you know are driving, especially considering the costs to employers of distracted driving. Better yet, have your ...

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 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is now more than 3 years old and, like any 3-year-old, is beginning to assert itself in new and often clumsy ways. While the stated purpose of the PPACA is to broaden the pool of insured individuals, employers in many sectors are seeking ways to keep employees ineligible for health-care coverage. Institutions of higher education are the latest employers in the news for seeking ways to avoid having their adjunct faculty covered by health insurance. 

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the plight of ...
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Another week passes, and another social media password protection law has been enacted. Arkansas is the latest state to ban employers from obtaining workers' social media login information.

 The NLRB has also been busy dealing with social media issues. In a recent decision, an ALJ found that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's social media policy violated Section 7 of the NLRA because it prohibited employees from describing any affiliation they had with their employer in their social media posts. In another case, the Board ruled that Bettie Page Clothing violated Section 8 ...

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