By: Marion B. Cooper
On September 21, 2012, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 2647 (A-2647) into law, supplementing the New Jersey Equal Pay Act which will take effect on November 19, 2012, and applies to all New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees. A-2647 imposes several new obligations on employers, who must conspicuously post the notification in an accessible and conspicuous place in English, Spanish and any other language spoken by 10% of the workforce within 30 days of the time the Commissioner first issues the form notice.
The notice must detail employees’ rights to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms and conditions of employment. In addition, the notice must be given to new employees upon hire and to any employee upon request. Employers must redistribute the notice annually … Read More »
Social Media’s Impact on the Workplace – How to Handle Issues from Employee Productivity to Trade Secret Protection
Mark Terman, partner in the Los Angeles office, authored an article for Inside Counsel, Social media’s impact on the workplace – How to handle issues from employee productivity to trade secret protection. Mark’s article takes a look at several of the issues that face employers through their employees use of social media. To read the complete article click here.
By: Jerrold J. Wohlgemuth
The Acting General Counsel of the NLRB is apparently rummaging through handbooks and policy statements to charge nonunion employers with unfair labor practices for enacting seemingly innocuous rules that could conceivably be read as interfering with the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activity. And as can be seen from the Board’s recent opinion in Karl Knauz Motors, Inc., 358 NLRB No. 164 (2012), the current Board majority has apparently bought into that misguided theory.
Under existing Board law, employers violate Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by maintaining work rules or policies that “would reasonably” be construed by employees as prohibiting or chilling their right to discuss or object to the terms and conditions of their employment. In this case, the car dealership had a seemingly innocuous and facially neutral “Courtesy” Rule in … Read More »
Who Owns a Social Media Account? Court Rules that Employer Did Not Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by Taking Over a LinkedIn Account
By: Lawrence J. Del Rossi
A recent summary judgment ruling issued out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Eagle v. Morgan, et al., CIV-No. 11-4303, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143614 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 4, 2012), highlights the need for employers to have clear policies regarding social media accounts established and used on the employer’s behalf. While plaintiff Dr. Eagle was president of defendant Edcomm, a banking education company, she created a LinkedIn account and used that account to promote Edcomm’s banking education services, foster her reputation as a businesswoman, reconnect with family, friends, and colleagues, and build social and professional relationships. Edcomm contended that it had an unwritten informal policy of “owning” the LinkedIn accounts of its former employees after they left the company. Dr. Eagle was terminated and subsequently denied access to her LinkedIn account by … Read More »
By: Gregory W. Homer and Marion B. Cooper
Methodically navigating the arcane maze of regulations surrounding the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Court in Kirchoff v. Wipro, Inc., W.D. Wash., No. 2:11-cv-00568, 10/2/12, held that a technology consulting company (“Wipro”) did not violate the FLSA or Washington law by using the “Pay Period” – rather than the “Work Week” – method to calculate a fired senior manager’s salary for the first and last weeks of his employment.
Wipro provides consulting services to technology companies such as Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems, Inc. and AT&T, Inc. Wipro employed Kirchoff as a Senior Manager at an annual salary of $140,000 from July 26, 2010 to January 27, 2011, when Wipro terminated his employment. Kirchoff then sued Wipro, claiming that he and other employees had been underpaid … Read More »
By: William R. Horwitz
A recent Seventh Circuit decision may require employers to select minimally qualified employees over far more qualified employees when filling vacant positions. In EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., 2012 WL 3871503 (7th Cir. 2012), the Court held last month that, absent undue hardship, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (“ADA”), requires an employer to transfer a disabled employee to a vacant position ahead of more qualified non-disabled employees.
This case involved guidelines that United Airlines issued in 2003 for accommodating “employees who, because of disability, can no longer do the essential functions of their current jobs even with reasonable accommodation.” Under the guidelines, these disabled employees were eligible for placement in a vacant position and even received priority over otherwise equally qualified co-workers, but did … Read More »
By: Joshua D. Rinschler
In a development that could have far reaching implications for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case, Vance v. Ball State University, in which the central issue is the definition of “supervisor” for purposes of determining an employer’s liability for harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”). Under Title VII, if the alleged harasser is a supervisor, liability is generally imputed to the employer (unless the employer can show they it had an effective anti-harassment policy that the plaintiff unreasonably failed to utilize). On the other hand, if a hostile work environment is created by co-workers, not supervisors, the employer is liable only if the plaintiff proves that the employer failed to take reasonable measures … Read More »
By: Laurie A. Holmes
These are real headlines from the last four days:
Holiday Inn at LA Airport Hit with Wage Class Action
Bath & Body Works Will Pay $1.3M to End Managers’ Wage Suit
Texas Sales Managers Hit Gold’s Gym with Overtime Suit
FedEx to Pay $10M to Settle OT, Meal Break Suit
Kraft Paying $1.75M to Settle Sales Workers’ OT Suits
ZipRealty Pays $5M to Settle California Agents’ Wage Claims
Similar headlines from the last two weeks would fill this screen. And these headlines do not reflect a new trend – rather, they are just examples of the many similar headlines featured almost daily in Labor and Employment publications. In fact, a record number of wage and hour lawsuits have been filed in the last 18 months. And there’s no sign that they will be dwindling any time soon.
Why are these suits here to stay? For … Read More »
By: Jerrold J. Wohlgemuth
Last month in Echostar Technologies, L.L.C., 2012 NLRB LEXIS 627 (2012), an NLRB Administrative Law Judge adopted the Acting General Counsel’s rules regarding social media policies by finding that a social media policy interfered with Section 7 rights by prohibiting employees from posting “disparaging or defamatory comments” about the employer and from engaging in social media activities “on Company time.” The Law Judge noted that the employer’s policy did not include a disclaimer to assure employees that the policy was not intended to interfere with their right to engage in protected concerted activity, and that in the absence of such a disclaimer the prohibition of “disparaging” postings could have a chilling effect on the right of employees to engage in robust discussions about their terms and conditions of employment, citing to the Board’s recent social media policy decision … Read More »
Seventh Circuit Joins Ranks of Courts Holding that Internal Grievances about Employer Fiduciary Duty Breaches is Actionable Under ERISA Section 510
By: Mark E. Furlane
In Victor George v. Junior Achievement of Central Indiana Inc., decided September 24, 2012, the Seventh Circuit joined the Fifth and Ninth Circuits in holding that Section 510 of ERISA applies to unsolicited, informal grievances to employers. The courts of appeals have disagreed about the scope of §510, and the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits have permitted Section 510 retaliation claims only where the person’s activities were made a part of formal proceedings or in response to an inquiry from employers (i.e., §510’s language does not protect employees who make “unsolicited complaints that are not made in the context of an inquiry or a formal proceeding.”). Concluding that the language of Section 510 of ERISA was “ambiguous” and “a mess of unpunctuated conjunctions and prepositions,” the Seventh Circuit concluded that, “an employee’s grievance is within §510’s scope … Read More »