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The Modern Workplace

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Its Halloween, and we employment lawyers would be remiss if we didn't comment on the ways that workplace Halloween costumes can sometimes go wrong. The negative flack that celebrity Julianne Hough is receiving in the news for her blackface Halloween costume highlights the reality that, while Halloween revelry at work can be great fun, it can also come with a risk that an employee crosses over a racial, cultural, political, or other line and offends someone.

As such, it is a good idea to be thoughtful about office festivities and costumes. A little time spent on the front end can ...
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The internet can be an invaluable work tool, providing ready access to information and resources essential to getting a job done. The internet can, however, also be a huge distraction, cutting into productivity both at and away from work. For instance, this week a study showed that [f]or every minute that [we] spend lazing on the computer, Americans spend approximately 16 fewer seconds working, seven fewer seconds sleeping, six fewer seconds traveling, four fewer seconds doing household chores, and three fewer seconds educating themselves. Spending time on the computer also means ...

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Posted in Wage & Hour
A settlement in the lawsuit against Lady Gaga by her former personal assistant, Jennifer Olsen, was announced this week, a month before the case was scheduled for trial. Ms. Olsen sued the pop star claiming that she was not exempt from wage and hour laws and entitled to additional compensation for her overtime work. How much overtime? Ms. Olsen claims she was at Lady Gaga's beck and call 24/7. Her suit alleged that she was often required to sleep in Lady Gaga's bed so that she could immediately respond to any assignments given throughout the night.

The settlement may be good news to Lady Gaga ...

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Ive had succession planning on my mind this week following the release of a research poll that indicates that about half of older Americans are delaying retirement plans to work longer. The poll, which was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, indicates that over eighty percent of older Americans plan to work during their retirement years and almost fifty percent expect to delay retirement. Eleven percent of those surveyed indicated they dont expect to ever retire. These survey results may stem from a number of factors. The recent recession has ...

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New federal and state laws are continuing to impact our relationship with technology and online resources.  This was recently illustrated by the roll out of web-based health insurance exchanges under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The roll out did not go smoothly, and the news was filled with stories of technological glitches and errors that, to some extent, took center stage over the continued partisan split over the substance of the law. At the state level, California passed a law that gives people under the age of eighteen the right to have personal ...

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This week the government shutdown dominated the news. Many people were told not to come to work, national parks, monuments, and recreational areas were closed, and access to some government services was limited or eliminated completely. In the midst of the shutdown, people have expressed their outrage on Twitter, while posts by various members of Congress on Facebook have received thousands of likes and comments. Even NASA took to Twitter to announce that it would no longer be able to tweet and then promptly suspended its account. All this activity on Twitter took place as the company ...

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Lawyers often say that bad facts lead to bad law. Cases with outrageous fact patterns can drive a judge or jury to stretch the law and make outcome-based decisions in order to provide relief to a sympathetic party. Lawyers hate these types of decisions, because they can negatively skew the developing law based on one bad situation without enough consideration being paid to the legal implications for other, future cases.

 I recently read one of those decisions. In my frustration over the avoidable bad facts of the case, I had to draft this post. The decision, Lazette v. Kulmatycki, was ...
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