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The Modern Workplace

Posts from August 2014.

The National Labor Relations Board continues to focus on employer social media policies and employee discipline for online activity.  In a ruling this week involving Triple Play Sports Bar & Grill, the Board concluded that Triple Play unlawfully fired two employees for their response to a co-worker's Facebook post.  One of these employees had only responded to the post by clicking the Facebook like option on the post.  The Facebook post at issue related to the employer paying taxes, and the Board concluded the exchange about the post, including the like response, was a protected group ...

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Last week we learned in Olson v. Push, Inc. that Minnesota's Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (DATWA) does not apply to a West Virginia employee working for a Wisconsin company. While at first blush this may seem like a no-brainer, there were facts in this case that made it a closer call. The plaintiff, Shawn Olson, applied for employment with Push while he was living in Minnesota. Push arranged for Olson to take a pre-employment drug screen, and for convenience sake, the test was arranged at a testing facility in Minnesota. Olson argued that because DATWA applies to employers ...

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Posted in Leave

When I conduct employment trainings, I often caution executives and managers to think before they email. In my experience, people tend to be more casual and to use poorer judgment when they email than when they write a memo or letter that, by its nature, seems more formal.

Now, it turns out, that you better be careful before you snail mail too. In what some commentators are calling a game changing decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that a former employee could proceed to trial in her lawsuit under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) based on her ...

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Significant electronic data breaches made headlines again this week. Supervalu announced that millions of customer credit card numbers were stolen at various stores. In addition, one of the nations largest hospital chains - Community Health Systems - announced that the personal data of up to 4.5 million patients was taken when hackers bypassed the company's security measures. These latest breaches come at a time when a private research report is indicating that the medical sector has had more data breaches in the last two years than military and banking sectors combined. As we've ...
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I recently read an article about how college football recruiters are using twitter to screen out potential players for their teams. Its becoming a somewhat common practice for recruiters to monitor the twitter accounts of high school players that they are scouting to see whether any red flags are raised. Based on some of the inappropriate tweets, colleges have decided not to pursue particular players and, in at least one instance, have even withdrawn a scholarship offer. Some of these college coaches are encouraging high school coaches to teach players that they need to be careful ...

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As a follow up to our last Week in Review, wage and hour claims are still making headlines this week. Another technology company, SpaceX, has been sued for allegedly failing to provide employees with required breaks or to properly pay employees for off the clock work.  SpaceX also faces a separate lawsuit alleging that it failed to give former employees proper advance notice of their layoffs under California law.  Another big legal headline this week is the announcement that a federal judge has rejected a proposed $325 million settlement agreement between Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel and ...

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The heavily regulated world of companies conducting business as federal government contractors is becoming even more heavily regulated. President Obama recently issued another new executive order setting out additional labor-related requirements for government contractors and subcontractors. The most recent executive order issued by President Obama, on July 31, 2014, includes these additional requirements for companies engaged as contractors or subcontractors for the federal government:   
Paycheck Transparency:  Contractors are now required to provide additional ...
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Its been an interesting week on the wage and hour legal front. One of the big names in social networking, LinkedIn, made headlines this week when the U.S. Department of Labor announced a settlement of allegations that LinkedIn failed to properly record, account for, and pay certain employees for all of their hours worked. You can read the link below for lessons learned from this settlement. In other news, a federal judge ruled that critical federal government employees who worked during last year's government shutdown may be owed additional pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act ...

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Businesses that support the sharing economy continue to grow, as evidenced by this week's news headlines. Airbnb announced it is partnering with Concur, a commonly used expense account management software. This partnership, which will include Airbnb as an expense booking option within Concur's software, is expected to introduce Airbnb to the business traveler market. Airbnb is also making legal headlines, as users of the site expose legal loopholes.  Read the link below to learn how a thirty day Palm Springs condo rental through Airbnb evolved into renters claiming tenant rights ...

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