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Employment Law Articles

Employer can’t stop employees from taking selfies at work

An employer cannot ban all audio and video recording in the workplace, a federal appeals court recently decided. In the case in question, cellular giant T-Mobile included several controversial rules in its employee handbook, including a rule encouraging a “positive work environment,” a rule prohibiting arguing and failing to demonstrate “teamwork,” and a rule prohibiting all photography and audio/video recording without prior permission from management, HR or legal. A communication workers’ union challenged these rules before

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Suit over workplace comments can go forward in part

It’s a popular misconception that “freedom of speech” protections in the Constitution mean that you can say whatever you want in any circumstance and not have to deal with negative fallout. The truth is, your First Amendment rights protect you from being arrested, prosecuted, fined or imprisoned for things you say. But if you’re a worker expressing opinions at work that others find objectionable, don’t count on the law necessarily protecting you from employment consequences. If

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Thin line between ‘social networking’ and solicitation

LinkedIn is probably the most popular social media site for connecting with other professionals. That’s because users provide only work-related information on their pages, such as skills, experience, certifications, and networking groups. As a result, people have felt comfortable connecting with pretty much anyone in order to increase the size of their networks. But a recent Illinois case demonstrates that some employers will try to take action against professionals over whom they connect with on LinkedIn

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Calif. employers can sue workers for online defamation

In recent years, websites like glassdoor.com and vault.com have given workers an online forum to write anonymous reviews of their employers, providing an insider take on salaries, working conditions, management style and anything else a prospective job applicant might want to know. A lot of times an employer might receive negative reviews that it thinks are unfair. But traditionally employers have had little recourse against employees who post nasty comments since the postings are anonymous unless

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What employers need to know now about the new tax bill

The new tax law passed winter of 2018 has been very controversial for a number of reasons. Critics say it’s going to increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion and its benefits are going to flow primarily to huge corporations and the very wealthy. Others say it’ll fuel economic growth with more business investment and hiring. But what hasn’t been talked about as much is how its provisions could impact the workplace and employers’ practices. One

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Use personality tests with caution during hiring process

Personality assessments are a commonly used tool for employers to evaluate applicants during the hiring process. But recent settlements between the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and two large retail chains, CVS and Best Buy, suggest that companies using these tests should tread carefully. That’s because, according to the EEOC, these tests may be racially or culturally biased, creating a pattern of discrimination against racial or ethnic minorities. The EEOC did not accuse either company of

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Basing pay on salary history creates risk of Equal Pay Act violation

It’s very common for employers to ask job applicants for their salary history to determine how to set their pay. But if a recent decision from a federal appeals court is any indication, that’s a dangerous practice, particularly if you’re using it to determine the salary of a female employee. In that case, Aileen Rizo took a job as a math consultant in the Fresno, Calif., public school system. To calculate her pay, the district took

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Common mistakes made in non-compete agreements

An increasing number of employers have been making workers sign “non-compete” agreements. These are agreements where employees pledge not to work for a competitor if they leave the company for any reason. The purpose of these agreements is generally for a company to protect its trade secrets, its confidential information, and its customer/client relationships, and they can be enforced in court through legal action against the worker, the new employer or both. But before rushing to

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Misclassification cases can be costly

It’s very tempting to hire people and label them as independent contractors. You’re saving money because independent contractors aren’t entitled to employee benefits, overtime and wage-and-hour protections. But this is a risky strategy because courts have been cracking down on employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors when they’re really employees. So how do you tell whether you can safely label a worker as an independent contractor? It varies a bit from state to state, but

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Supreme Court class-action waiver decision: What employers should know

There’s an old saying that states: “Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.” Employers ought to keep that in mind when considering their next steps following the U.S. Supreme Court’s blockbuster decision this spring in the case of Epic Systems. Corp. v. Lewis. That case involved the issue of “class action” lawsuits. A class-action suit is a single lawsuit brought on behalf of multiple people claiming the same injury caused by the

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