Archives: Employment Policies

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West-Side! Washington Continues to Follow (And Pass) California On Allowing for Wage and Hour Class Action Litigation

For years, Washington’s employment laws were to California’s like Macklemore was to Dr. Dre – yes, they had a west coast flavor, but they weren’t as scary as California[1].  Washington laws provided for meal and rest breaks, but there wasn’t much class action litigation.  They allowed non-competes, and averaging of wages to determine if someone was … Continue Reading

Paid Parental Leave: Equal Time Off For Moms And Dads?

Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare.  – Ed Asner There is one issue in which women often receive more favorable treatment than men: parental leave. Women (whether because of their employers’ leave policies or individual choices) receive an average of 41 days of parental leave while men receive an average of 22 … Continue Reading

Social Media Ownership Considerations in the Employment Context

At home, social media dilemmas include being 62 weeks deep in a social media account, and accidentally dropping a dreaded double-tap, “liking” a photo and releasing a notification that reveals your not-so-secret surveillance. It gets worse. What if you were perusing the account of an ex’s new flame? At work, social media can present even … Continue Reading

Challenges for Employers in a Post #MeToo World

Today, “[t]here is a temptation to simplify matters by viewing all harassers and their offenses as equally awful . . . .”  (NY Times: How Should We Respond to Sexual Harassment?)  This reflex treats all alleged harassment as equally problematic and warranting equal repercussions.  This is evident in the press of the prominent parading regularly through the … Continue Reading

Unlimited Paid Time Off: Can Ferris Bueller’s Dream Go Global?

Thirty years ago, Ferris Bueller taught us how important a day off is. Fast forward, the recent rise of unlimited paid time off (PTO) policies sounds like Ferris’ heaven. Ferris would definitely take advantage.  So what is causing this recent trend in the U.S. and how can it be managed in a global workplace? Pros … Continue Reading

Hashtag — Zero Tolerance Policy?

Jules: Hash is legal there in Amsterdam, right? Vincent: Yeah, it’s legal, but it ain’t a hundred percent legal. I mean, you can’t just walk into a restaurant, roll a joint and start puffing away. You’re only supposed to smoke in your home or certain designated places. Jules: And those are hashbars? Vincent: Yeah. It breaks down like this: … Continue Reading

Shakespeare Sheds Light on Liability for Abetting Discrimination

Over 500 years after his death, Shakespeare’s works continue to be a touchstone for legal analysis and critique. A fool’s errand it would be to attempt to catalog the legal issues in each of his 37 plays.  Indeed, so popular is the Bard’s legal acumen that he is the most-quoted literary author in Supreme Court decisions. Once … Continue Reading

Do you have what it takes to be a great lawyer?

Today’s authors are summer college interns from DLA Piper’s Chicago office.   Being good at anything is no easy feat. Becoming great is even harder. But, as we submit applications to law schools, we wanted to know what it would take to become truly great lawyers and thus interviewed a cross-section of DLA Piper’s employment law … Continue Reading

Unconventional Tactics

Malcolm Gladwell in his essay “How David Beats Goliath” extolled the use of the full-court press in basketball: “In the world of basketball, there is one story after another … about legendary games where David used the full-court press to beat Goliath.” Is there an equivalent in litigation with ex-employees? Under the Computer Fraud and … Continue Reading

And the Oscar Goes to. . .the Stored Communications Act?

Film reels abound with examples of employees-turned-detectives using documents taken from their employer’s files to bring wrongdoing to light. You may have your own favorites but here are mine (with titles hidden in footnotes so as not to spoil your fun): An up-and-coming agent uses a flash drive hidden in her coffee mug to smuggle … Continue Reading

Employee Turnover: Can Employers Recoup Investments In Their Employees?

New employees need to be trained. Some need to be moved. And, in many business sectors, employers continue to invest in their employees via continued education and training courses. All of these are investments. Their pay off, however, depends on whether the employee stays with the company. Millennials job-hop like it’s their… well, job. Over … Continue Reading

Suggested New Year’s Resolution

Everything in employment devolves to motivation.  Terminations result from a failure to motivate; so too strikes, turnover, and virtually every other issue facing employment lawyers and HR managers.  Theories abound in the business literature on employee motivation including classics like McGregor’s “theory X” and “theory Y” or Ouchi’s “theory Z”. With behavioral economics, there is … Continue Reading

Walk-Backs: Learning to manage employees by watching America’s political leaders?

Managers often confront workplaces rife with a history of unenforced policies and mistakenly believe that the solution is merely to enforce those long-ignored rules.  Legally, the results of such efforts can be disastrous. In Curry v. Menard, Inc., 270 F.3d 473 (7th Cir. 2001), a new manager tried to more strictly enforce the company’s cash … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Safety “Nudge” to Employers: No Reportable Injuries Is Not Time for a Pizza Party

Think 180 days without an OSHA recordable injury is cause for celebration? Think again. New OSHA rules are potential game-changers to the status quo on safety.  Those rules require notice must be provided to employees explaining their right to report any injury or illness without fear of retaliation for making the report.  That is easy … Continue Reading

#SocialActivism in the Workplace

Hashtags are ubiquitous. The 10 most influential hashtags on Twitter are: 10. #GivingTuesday 9. #YesAllWomen 8. #PrayforJapan 7. #BringBackOurGirls 6. #IceBucketChallenge 5. #Sandy 4. #IndyRef 3. #BlackLivesMatter 2. #LoveWins 1. #Ferguson (Washington Post, “These 10 Twitter hashtags changed the way we talk about social issues,” March 21, 2016) Fan, athletes, entertainers, political candidates, and just … Continue Reading

Wellness Program Wars

This should be easy.  Like motherhood and apple pie, everybody should be in favor of encouraging more wellness.  But, in 21st century America, nothing is ever easy; mothers baking apple pies beware. There are two fronts in the wellness program wars. The first has been playing in court for several years.  The second arises from … Continue Reading

The Globalization of Labor Disputes

My colleagues saw a line item in the advance sheets and said “this must be wrong, Joe; some reporter has obviously misunderstood.”  The report was simple: a local labor dispute at the El Super grocery stores in several southern California locations is now an international legal issue.  Worse, it was totally true. El Super, a small … Continue Reading

A Movie Review And A Legal Critique: Two Days, One Night

Today’s authors are summer college interns from DLA’s Chicago office.  Two Days, One Night is an award winning film set in Belgium that revolves around an employment dilemma. Here’s the premise: Sandra is scheduled to return from sick leave on Monday but discovers on the preceding Friday that she is being terminated from her position with … Continue Reading
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