Category Archives: Investigating and Monitoring Employee Conduct

Subscribe to Investigating and Monitoring Employee Conduct RSS Feed

Pornography in the Workplace – One Employer’s Response that You Don’t Want to Follow

One employment law topic that never seems to go away is pornography in the workplace. When the issue invariably arises, I remember my first attorney job out of law school. I began working at a medium-sized law firm. One partner I frequently worked with was a brilliant, chain-smoking, gruff, old white-collar defense and First Amendment … Continue Reading

Lawsuits and Superheros – A Little More Fantasy Could Improve the Legal System

I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a comic book geek. And while Spider Man was not my favorite superhero, a favorite quote of mine is associated with him: “With great power comes great responsibility.”  While making the leap from superhero to lawyer probably requires some superhuman power, no extraordinary effort is needed in making … Continue Reading

Helping Employers Against Employees Who Help Themselves to Company Information to Build a Discrimination Claim

A well written article by Connie Bertram, asks the question “Is Self-Help Discovery by Employees Protected Activity?” The title of the article refers to situations where an employee attempts to gather factual support or to otherwise pursue an employment discrimination claim or a related employment-based lawsuit against the employer by accessing employer files and databases to … Continue Reading

Michigan Legislation Introduced to Further Limit Medical Marijuana Use – This Time in Worker’s Compensation

In the fall of 2008, 63% of Michigan residents voted in favor of legalizing medical marihuana. Despite this majority, Michigan legislators continue to whittle away at that law. The latest such effort involves Michigan’s Worker’s Compensation statute. Specifically, under a provision of the Worker’s Disability Act, an employer must furnish or cause to be furnished, reasonable … Continue Reading

Monitoring and Accessing Employee Private Email Results in Lawsuit

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was sued by six on-staff doctors and scientists after discovering the FDA accessed their personal email accounts (Gmail).  The Washington Post reported that government documents showed that the secret surveillance took place over a two-year period after the staffers complained to lawmakers in Congress that the FDA was approving … Continue Reading

Holiday and Year-End Bonuses Often Mark the Beginning of Litigation Festivus

Festivus – as introduced by Seinfeld – is a holiday celebration that included the “Airing of Grievances,” i.e., public criticism and pronouncements as to how a particular person has been a disappointment in the past year.  The timing of holiday and year-end bonuses also often mark the beginning of a similar airing of grievances in … Continue Reading

Would You Like Fries with that Identify Theft? Thoughts on Limiting Liability for Employee Misconduct

The Detroit Free Press (by Tresa Baldas) reported that a former McDonald’s employee was recently caught stealing customers’ credit card information while working the drive through. According to the criminal complaint filed in the Michigan Eastern District Court (PDF) the former employee, Teresa Pulliam, is charged with access device fraud after she was caught on video surveillance using a … Continue Reading

When Employee Misconduct Becomes Criminal – Understanding The Fifth Amendment in Parallel Proceedings

U.S. federal and state civil laws frequently overlap with criminal laws. This creates the opportunity for what is often referred to as parallel proceedings, e.g., simultaneous or successive civil and criminal proceedings. As explained below, companies are often in a legal bear trap when caught in parallel proceedings because of the assertion of Fifth Amendment rights … Continue Reading

Recommendations for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Violence

The preliminary results of the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2010 showed mixed results as to workplace violence. Specifically, workplace homicides declined 7% in 2010 to the lowest total ever recorded by the fatality census. But workplace homicides involving women increased by 13%.  Historically, 11,613 workplace homicide victims were reported between … Continue Reading

What’s the Harm in a Little Workplace Porn? For Starters, Unemployment Benefits.

A recent denial of unemployment benefits in Berglund v Industrial Technology Institute (7/21/2011) offers important insight for both employers and employees when it comes to accessing Internet pornography in the workplace and technology use policies.    Overview of Michigan Unemployment Benefits Under Michigan law, an employee is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if he or she is … Continue Reading

Departing Employees More Disgruntled than Ever and the Risk to Employers

The Wall Street Journal (by Joe Light) recently reported that departing employees are more disgruntled than ever. The article notes that based on exit interviews of more than 4,300 employees from 80 companies: More than three-quarters of departing employees say they wouldn’t recommend their employer to others, the worst percentage in at least five years … Continue Reading

Michigan Lawmakers Continue to Address Medical Marijuana Law Questions

The Detroit Free Press (by Dawson Bell) reported that Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, and a coalition of lawmakers and prosecutors are calling Michigan’s medical marijuana law so poorly drafted as to be unworkable. The focus of this criticism in large part is on the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries, the definition of a “locked facility,” … Continue Reading

Protecting Company Information Using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

A 2011 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, underscores the importance of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act plays in combating disgruntled employees who steal company data. This case also highlights important steps employers should take in protecting company IT infrastructure and digital information from internal threats. In that case, the former employer worked in the IT … Continue Reading

What Should An Employer Do if Child Pornography is Discovered in the Workplace?

Possession of child pornography often involves a computer and is a serious crime. But what happens when that crime takes place on an employer’s network or company computer? The thirteenth-century Spanish King Alfonso X said, “Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for better ordering of the universe.” … Continue Reading

Are Your Employees Going to Pot? According to the Numbers, Probably

The Detroit Free Press reported on April 21, 2011 (by Dawson Bell and John Wisely) that approximately 63,735 Michigan residents had registered to use marihuana for medical purposes under Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Law (Michigan spells marihuana with an “h”, rather than a “j”). There is also over a five-month backlog in issuing registration cards.  Based on the … Continue Reading

A Short Checklist to Avoid a Disgruntled Former Employee Costing Your Company $200,000

A disgruntled former Gucci employee is reported to have caused in excess of $200,000 in damages to his former employer (as reported by Computer World) and now faces criminal charges. Specifically, the New York District Attorney’s indictment alleges that Sam Chihlung Yin fraudulently obtained IT access after he was fired. From there, the indictment alleges that Mr. … Continue Reading
LexBlog