Tag Archives: investigating employee misconduct

Improperly Investigating Employee Misconduct Could Land You in Court

Investigating employee misconduct is, unfortunately, a common occurrence companies and their HR professionals experience. But if the investigation is not properly handled, it could expose the employer to liability, including being sued for defamation. Consider for example a recent lawsuit in which an employee sued her employer and its supervisors because of the manner in … Continue Reading

An Uber Example of Getting Caught with Your Hand In Your Employer’s Cookie Jar

Uber and Lyft are both internet and mobile application based technology companies offering a peer-to-peer ridesharing platform. Or for less tech-speak, they are involved in what is generally described as the “sharing economy.” However, a recent lawsuit makes clear that sharing has its limits. Specifically, Lyft is suing a former executive (Lyft v Uber (PDF)), … Continue Reading

Drilling Home the Difference Between an Independent Contractor and Employee

A common question that business owners raise involves the use of employees versus independent contractors. The use and classification of an individual as an employee or independent contractor is one of the more complicated employment law issues that business owners will deal with and resolving such issues will depend upon circumstances. Consider one test, the economic … Continue Reading

Employer’s Social Media Policy Found Not To Violate Employees’ Rights

A recent social media case involving the NLRB should be cause for celebration for employers. Specifically, in Landry’s Inc., Case No. 32-CA-118213 (June 26, 2014), an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) had found a social media policy concerning its subsidiary, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc., did not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Initially, … Continue Reading

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

Former Employee Sentenced to Prison for Trade Secret Misappropriation and Computer Fraud Related Misconduct

One of the more noteworthy employer/employee trade-secret misappropriation and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act  (CFAA) cases came to an end earlier this week. Specifically, Mr. David Nosal wa sentenced on January 8, 2014 to one year and one day in prison. He was convicted for misappropriating his former employer’s trade secrets and improperly accessing the … 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

An Employer’s Playbook for Responding to an Allegation of Sexual Harassment

A meaningful analogy can be made between the this year’s eventual Super Bowl winner and a company successfully responding to an allegation of sexual harassment. Consider for example that according to research (WSJ subscription required) the most defining and critical plays of a professional football game come down to success on first down. More specifically, the … 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

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

Avoiding Whistleblower Claims – It’s All in the Employer’s Response

The alleged (mis)handling of an employee’s complaints of wrong-doing by her former employer offers insight on how to avoid a subsequent whistleblower claim or, at least, be in a better position to defend against such claims.  Specifically, a Metro Detroit Employment Law firm was recently sued for violating (ironically) various employment laws. The law firm and … Continue Reading

Targeting “Excessive” Social Media Use as Violation of Computer Fraud & Abuse Act Misses the Mark

A Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claim (CFAA) against a former employee based on “excessive Internet usage,” including visiting Facebook was recently dismissed by a Federal District Court in Florida.  Specifically, in Lee v. PMSI, Inc., the former employer claimed Wendi Lee, engaged in “excessive Internet usage” and visited “personal websites such as Facebook” and sent and … 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
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