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The Modern Workplace

Posts from May 2014.

How did you commute to work this morning?  Google's self-driving car prototype unveiled this week may soon change your answer.  Google is hoping that, within the next decade, these cars may alleviate the most miserable part of the day for many Americans - their drive to and from work.  Not only must Google win over American drivers, however, it also must woo the regulators in all 50 states. With only three states having laws on the books that permit some version of autonomous vehicles on their roadways, these cars are likely to require legal changes in addition to changes to the rules of the ...

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While union membership has declined precipitously over the last few decades, union activity is now popping up in many new sectors.  From 1983 to 2013, according to the Department of Labor, union membership dropped from over 20% of the U.S. workforce to a little more than 11%. The public sector, particularly in the areas of education and protective services, still has the highest unionization rate.  In the private sector, the areas of utilities, transportation, and telecommunications represent the highest rates of unionization.

In recent years and months, however, we've seen a growth ...

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Posted in Discrimination

If Minnesota employers recently detected vague but ominous tremors beneath their feet, it may have resulted from very recent activity coming out of the Minnesota state capitol. With one very short amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (the "MHRA") that was signed into law by Governor Dayton on May 13, the legal exposure landscape for employment discrimination claims may have shifted radically. Specifically, the MHRA was amended to now grant a right to a jury trial for violations of that law.

As most employers are aware, the MHRA is the Minnesota statute that prohibits ...
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It seems that society may be overdosing on public sharing through social media platforms.  According to this week's headlines, the use of social login services has peaked, the controversial, anonymous app Secret is gaining users, and functional fashion that can disable your gadgets is expanding.  Speaking of oversharing, we are approaching the long Memorial holiday weekend which means lots of time spent with family and friends.  Whether you choose to share in person, through social media, or anonymously, have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!

Technology and the Workplace
Too ...

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Large internet companies dominated the legal news this week. In a case against Google, the European Union's top court ruled that citizens may compel search-engine owners to remove certain types of personal information included in search results of the citizens name. While this ruling currently has no direct impact on privacy laws in the United States, the practical implications of the ruling for Internet companies are interesting and the ruling could potentially be used by practitioners outside the European Union to try to influence courts in other jurisdictions. Closer to ...

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This week, the Minnesota Governor signed the Women's Economic Security Act (WESA) into law. The WESA makes a sweeping variety of changes and additions to Minnesota law aimed at protecting women's economic security. These changes include, among others, modifications to the length of Minnesota parental leave, a new required handbook notice regarding employees freedom to discuss wages and benefits, and the addition of a new protected class under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  Some of WESAs provisions are effective immediately and others are effective later this year ...
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Personal wearable technology is all the rage, but can wearable technology also increase employee productivity? A study out this week found that wearable technology in the workplace increases both employee productivity and job satisfaction.  Click the link below to read about how wearable technology may benefit and change your workplace.


Also, in our tracking of There's an App for That, we feature a refrigerator that lets you know when you are out of milk, sunglasses that text you when you leave them behind, and a robotic lawn mower.  If you're late with your Mother's Day gift, these would ...

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Employers see social media as a new and different form of communication by their employees, requiring careful consideration and special policies. But according to a recent decision from a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge, online communications are analogous to a form of communication that has been in workplaces for decades  water-cooler talk.  In The Kroger Company of Michigan, the judge ruled that employers may run afoul of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") by placing certain limitations and burdens on their employees' online ...
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The assault on internet security continues to fill news headlines this week. On the heels of the Heartbleed bug, Microsoft announced this week that a security vulnerability exists in all versions of Internet Explorer, with no known fix. This vulnerability is especially concerning for employers, who often do not control the browser choices of employees. Also, you can read below to discover the various ways that security breaches can affect our everyday lives, including jamming up traffic and "war driving" at your favorite free wi-fi spot.
 
Recent Week in Review topics are also back ...

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