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Employers served with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subpoena requesting private employee information – regardless of its arguable relevance – may nevertheless be compelled to respond, according to a decision from late last year by one of the country’s most influential appellate courts. In the decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit permitted the EEOC to largely define its own need for employee data based on an expansive view of…
The United States Department of Labor issued a groundbreaking rule change last week, granting couples in legal, same-sex marriages the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA, which was enacted in 1993, allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, such as caring for a spouse suffering from a serious medical condition, with the continuation of the employee’s group…
In recent years, more and more employers are considering requiring employees to bring any claims arising out of the employment relationship in a private forum such as an arbitration. The American Arbitration Association provides a helpful guideline for drafting mandatory dispute resolution provisions. Some of the benefits of arbitration are well known: among other things, arbitration proceedings are confidential, efficient, and tend to be less expensive. Arbitrations also do not include a jury, potentially eliminating…
Employers concerned about their organizations’ FCPA compliance have a new, free resource available to them. Recently, the DOJ  and the SEC published a long-awaited FCPA guidance for employers. The comprehensive guidance consists of cases, hypotheticals, interpretations, and explanations, and is designed to guide employers in designing and testing their FCPA compliance programs. The DOJ and SEC also issued a fact sheet in connection with the guidance, providing a brief overview of the types of…
On September 7, 2012, in a decision that is likely to have wide-ranging implications for companies’ social media policies, the NLRB issued a decision finding that Costco’s policy prohibiting defamatory statements about the company violates Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) (Costco Wholesale Corp. and United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 371).…
Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has renewed its scrutiny of retaliatory activity by employers based upon employees’ usage of social media. On January 24, 2012, the Associate General Counsel of the NLRB issued a second report on social media cases, which discusses common features of companies’ social media policies that, in the NLRB’s view, are overbroad under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). According to the NLRB, improper social media policies include, among others,…
Celebrity Ashton Kutcher recently got into hot water with the FTC while serving as a guest editor of an online-only version of Details magazine. The magazine issue in question profiled several Internet companies in which Mr. Kutcher invests, without disclosing those investments. In an interview with The New York Times, the FTC’s assistant director of advertising practices, Richard Cleland, indicated that Mr. Kutcher’s conduct “could be investigated” by the FTC for potentially running afoul…
Increasingly, employers are wrestling with how best to monitor and limit employees’ use of the Internet to conduct non-work-related activities. The issue may become more pressing in an FLSA overtime case, when an employer suspects (or an employee admits) that he or she spent a considerable amount of time during the work day using the Internet to conduct non-work-related activities. In such instances, the employer must decide how best to obtain proof of the…