President Obama Appoints Three New NLRB Members

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
01/05/2012
On January 4, 2012, President Obama announced that he would make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"). The three new appointees, who will be eligible to serve until December 2014, will bring the Board to its five member capacity. The new appointees are Sharon Block, who is presently Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (and former labor counsel to the late Senator...
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Stay Off Your Employees’ Private Twitter and Facebook Accounts

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/22/2011
A case current pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois demonstrates the continuously evolving nature of social media in the workplace, and presents a warning to keep your employee’s social media accounts separate from the company’s.  In Maremont v. Susan Fredman Design Group, LTD., 1:10-cv-07811, the Director of Marketing, Public Relations and E-Commerce for an interior design company created a blog...
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Timecards Not Sufficient To Put Employer On Notice of Employee Clocking In Early To Work

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/16/2011
In an interesting decision this week from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the court held that an Indiana manufacturer was not required to pay an employee for pre-shift overtime work done before the start of her shift, even though she was clocking in early on her timecards.  The appellate court held that the employer “neither knew nor should have known” that the employee was performing overtime work for the company despite recording her...
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Employee Fired Before Her First Day OK

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
12/01/2011
A woman was hired to work as a nurse, but before she could start, a doctor the surgery center wanted to hire found out that she was going to work there.  Without saying why, the doctor said he would not work in the same office with her.  The center, wanting the doctor badly, fired the nurse before she could start. The nurse, apparently, had testified against the doctor in a sexual harassment case at another facility.  She alleged that this...
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Fear Of Being Robbed Is Not A Disability

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/10/2011
The Sonic drive-in restaurant in Winter Haven, Florida, was robbed four times during the course of a year.  On at least two occasions, a robber showed up at closing time, with a handgun, and ordered employees to open the safe or suffer the consequences.  Despite the threats, no employee was hurt. The Sonic employees working the late shift, naturally, were rattled by these events.  Several employees submitted a letter to Sonic management...
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It’s All In The Family – Court Dismisses Brothers’ Matching FMLA Claims

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/09/2011
The Poindexter brothers – Edward and Bobby – work as journeymen linemen for the Electric Department of the City of Sallisaw, Oklahoma.  In March 2010, the brothers both requested paid leave to care for their mother who was scheduled for hip surgery.  Pursuant to City policy, the brothers each were entitled to up to 10 days of paid sick leave for the care of an immediate family member.  The paid leave runs concurrently with unpaid FMLA leave,...
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EEOC Ordered to Pay Company's Legal Fees

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
11/03/2011
It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes courts find that the EEOC has overreached so greatly in its prosecution of a claim that a win for the employer is not enough - the EEOC is required to pay the company's legal fees too.  This just happened in EEOC v. TriCore Reference Labs., No. 09-CV-956 (D. New Mexico Oct. 26, 2011), where the court found that the EEOC's decision to continue pursuing an ADA reasonable accommodation case was  "frivolous,...
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Fourth Circuit Holds Gang Members = Employees

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
11/01/2011
In United States v. Weaver, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 21485 (4th Cir. Oct. 24 2011), the Fourth Circuit held that the Federal law prohibiting a person "employed for" a convicted felon from carrying a firearm applies to gang members.  Floyd Moore was the national vice president of the Pagans Motorcycle Club (PMC) and a convicted felon.  Weaver and others were PMC members and took orders from Moore.  As a convicted felon, Moore was prohibited from carrying a...
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No FMLA Claim for "Exacerbation" of Condition

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
11/01/2011
Last month the Seventh Circuit - the most active appellate court interpreting the FMLA - dismissed a claim by an employee who claimed that his supervisor's conduct exacerbated his pre-existing serious health condition.  Breneisen v. Motorola Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 18301 (7th Cir. Sept. 2, 2011).  This was a case of first impression for the court, but it followed the Sixth Circuit's reasoning in Edgar v. JAC Prods. Inc., 443 F.3d 501 (6th Cir....
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Supreme Court to Decide If Civil Service Reform Act Is Exclusive Remedy for Federal Employees’ Constitutional Claims

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
10/18/2011
On October 17, 2011, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the Civil Service Reform Act (“CSRA”) is the exclusive remedy for a former federal employee contending that his constitutionally rights were violated.  (Elgin v. Dep't of the Treasury, U.S., No. 11-45, cert. granted 10/17/11).  Four former federal employees, who were employed by the Treasury Department, FDIC and Department of Interior, filed a suit for...
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