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The Modern Workplace

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This week, everyone seemed to have an opinion about Apples new iOS 7 software for iPhones whether they loved its new features or were frustrated that it took too long for data to download. While many people were absorbed in their phones, social media also reached another milestone. For the first time, research displayed on the Tumblr website was cited in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. Elsewhere, an investigation by the New York Attorney General revealed that many of the reviews on websites such as Yelp are fake. Nineteen companies that have been found responsible for arranging ...

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Last week, this blog featured posts about the growth and reported benefits of workplace surveillance, as well as some of the legal risks that can arise from surveillance. Workplace surveillance can run the gamut from conducting targeted email searches to investigate potential misconduct by a particular employee to using complex software programs designed to detect theft, cyberloafing, or inappropriate internet usage by anyone in the workforce. As discussed in our previous posts, surveillance may create opportunities to decrease employee dishonesty and improve ...

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It is so easy to press that like button on a Facebook post by your best friend, your coworker, or your favorite company. In that quick second, it is unlikely that a person could contemplate all the potential legal and Constitutional issues that may be wrapped up in such an action. This week, however, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that liking a Facebook post is Constitutionally-protected Free Speech. In the case, six employees were fired after they supported a candidate for sheriff by liking him on Facebook. The Court found that liking him was equivalent to showing political ...

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Earlier this week we blogged about employee surveillance and its potential to change employee behavior. As noted there, employee surveillance is a powerful tool that raises significant legal issues, including those discussed below. 
Discrimination Laws.  State and federal discrimination laws prohibit employers from obtaining information related to the protected class status of applicants or employees, such as information about national origin, religion or genetic or family medical history. Employers must take care not to search for such protected information, whether ...
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A couple of recent articles in the New York Times and The Atlantic magazine caught my attention. Although the articles are from very different perspectives, both articles made me think about dishonest employees and how employers deal with them. 

Lets start with the basic principle addressed in TheAtlantic article. The author points out that most of us lie. Apparently, Americans lie about 1.65 times per day. Nonetheless, lying is the most disliked among the 555 personality traits ranked in a recent survey.   
In the modern workplace, employers need to keep employees honest hasnt ...
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 Health Exchange Notice Due to Employees by October 1

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Obama Administration announced that the employer mandate under health care reform would be postponed until 2015.  (Although we cant help reminding employers that they need to be working toward compliance even now) Lately weve been hearing from employers wondering if they still have to provide exchange notices. Yes! The notice is still required, despite the delay in the employer mandate. Heres a refresher on what that entails.

What is the exchange notice?

The purpose of the notice ...
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This week, people around the world remembered the anniversary of 9/11, and President Obama continued to contemplate actions against Syria. Even passive users who may not read the newspaper experienced these events through technology and through hashtags like #neverforget or #syria. Also this week, in the midst of somber news and remembrance, a distraction emerged in the form of two new iPhones featuring new colors and fingerprint identification technology. For every new form of technology, however, there is also a spate of new lawsuits. This week, for example, a U.S. district ...

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 While making a presentation to clients yesterday, I was reminded of the practical and logistical problems many employers face when trying to complete the I-9 process for remote employees. One of my presentation hypotheticals involved a scenario in which a Minnesota company hired a California employee and wanted to complete Section 2 of the I-9 by having the new hire send scanned copies of her identification and employment authorization documents by email. Sounds like a logical and modern approach to I-9 completion, right? Unfortunately, it doesnt comply with I-9 ...

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This week, Labor Day and National Payroll Week served as good reminders that our post-recession economy is different and the way people work within it is also different. Although the number of jobs has grown, part-time work is becoming the new normal, and virtual work meant that some labored even in the midst of their Labor Day barbecues. National Payroll Week celebrated wage earners and payroll professionals, while polls show that the payroll-to-population employment rate fell in August, and the number of households with union members continues to drop.
This changing nature of the ...
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The Labor Day holiday is intended to celebrate the contributions of Americas working class. That turns out to be most of us, given the relative few who are independently wealthy and the decreasing percentage of Americans who are currently unemployed. Perhaps this Labor Day week is also an appropriate time to reflect on what makes workers feel valued, given that those who feel valued are likely to be more productive and to stay in their jobs longer. As noted in the Harvard Business Review Management Tip of the Day for August 9, 2013, When employees feel valued, they are more satisfied ...

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