Tag Archives: Jason shinn

What is Your Company’s Mindset in Conducting Employee Investigations?

I recently watched an excellent TED Talk by Julia Galef, that should be a “must read” for every HR professional who is tasked with the responsibility of conducting employee investigations. As explained below, applying the points made by Ms. Galef can improve your company’s response to allegations of discrimination or workplace misconduct, as well as … Continue Reading

Buying or Selling a Business? Don’t Forget to Consider Employment and Non-compete Agreements.

The decision to sell a company involves many considerations. One important – but often overlooked – consideration is the value that should be derived from having enforceable employee and non-compete agreements. However, all too often, due diligence fails to critically assess the enforceability or transferability of non-compete restrictions. As discussed below, the value of the … Continue Reading

Using Co-worker’s Computer Password Ends with Federal Computer Hacking Conviction

A federal appeals court on July 5, 2016, affirmed the conviction of a former executive, David Nosal in a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) case that we’ve extensively covered. In sum, Mr. Nosal was charged in 2012 and amended charges were filed in 2013 for violating the CFAA by using a shared password to steal headhunting … Continue Reading

Trade Secret Computer Inspections Should Require More than Knee Jerk Reactions

A lawsuit involving trade secret misappropriation recently brought to mind the definition of a “knee-jerk reaction;” an “automatic and unthinking” response. Specifically, our law firm filed a lawsuit for breach of contract involving unpaid commissions and other claims on behalf of a former executive. In response, the former employer manufactured filed a counter-claim for trade secret misappropriation … Continue Reading

New Guidance for Employers on When Leave is an ADA Accommodation

In non-North Carolina bathroom news, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued this past week a resource document concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More specifically, this document addresses the use of employer-provided leave as an accommodation under the ADA. The intent of the EEOC’s resource document is to provide general information to employers and employees … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Employer’s Workplace Rules Violated Federal Labor Law

Another day and another National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision about the legality of employer rules. Once again the NLRB issued an opinion about workplace rules that could be (maybe, possibly, sort of, etc.) construed as interfering with workers exercising their federal labor law rights. As explained below, these type of decisions can transform a weak … Continue Reading

Can an Employer’s Religious Belief Defeat a Discriminatory Firing?

Can an employer’s religious beliefs defeat an otherwise discriminatory termination? Employers in Michigan may soon have much-needed guidance on this issue based on an employment discrimination case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Federal District Court in Michigan. Specifically, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. … Continue Reading

NLRB Agenda Continues to Focus on Non-Union Employee Rights

A recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board provides employers with a reason to carefully evaluate disciplining employees who make negative comments about their company’s products. Specifically, on 3/25/2016, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed an NLRB decision that a Jimmy John’s franchisee violated the employee rights of six employees when it fired them. The illegal terminations arose … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Fact Sheet to Help Small Businesses Comply with Federal Employment Laws

To help small businesses comply with their employment law obligations, the Small Business Task Force, established by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), recently issued a new simplified, one-page fact sheet. The fact sheet is focused on assisting small business owners to understand their responsibilities under federal anti-discrimination employment laws. The EEOC’s fact sheet, “Preventing … Continue Reading

Michigan Supreme Court Rejects Expansion of Whistleblower Protection of Employees

Remember the movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise? The premise of that movie was that in the future a special police task force (the “pre-crime division”) could identify wrongdoers who would go on to commit crimes and charge them before those unlawful acts actually occurred. A similar science fiction plot recently made its way to … Continue Reading

Job Applicant’s Lawsuit under Fair Credit Reporting Act Barred by Statute of Limitations

Employers in Michigan and surrounding states conducting background reports on job applicants received a favorable decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals when it comes to limiting liability for claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The decision was issued on February 18, 2016, in the case Rocheleau v. Elder Living Constr., LLC … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Protection – Not So Much if You Ignore the Time for Filing the Claim

Procrastination can be an employer’s best friend when it comes to employment discrimination lawsuits. This is especially true for claims under Michigan’s Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). This is because Michigan’s WPA has one of the shortest statutes of limitations (i.e., the time in which a lawsuit must be filed) under any employment-related law. That limitation … Continue Reading

Noncompetition Agreements – Impediment to Employee Mobility and Innovation?

The Wall Street Journal, by Aruna Viswanatha, recently asked whether Noncompete Agreements Hobble Junior Employees. Spoiler alert — they do. According to the Journal: Noncompete agreements—common in computing and engineering jobs, where proprietary technology can be at stake—are spreading to other industries and stretching further down the corporate ladder. Labor-law experts say some employers appear … Continue Reading

Religious Accommodations in the Workplace and Chinese New Year

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival. Traditionally and especially in China, this celebration last 15 days. This festival is also a celebration that involves both cultural and religious elements. For this reason, it is an excellent backdrop for discussing an employer’s obligations on accommodating religious … Continue Reading

Courts Continue to Narrow Application of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Against Former Employees

While it is far from settled, the trend under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act continues towards narrowing the application of the CFAA in the context of the employer/employee relationship. Specifically, a federal district court in Colorado concluded that the federal computer fraud statute was not violated by departing employees and contractors who, during … Continue Reading

“Reasonable Accommodations” and “Undue Hardship” Defenses – It Comes Down to Money

A recent case involving the Americans with Disabilities Act offers employers an opportunity to consider two frequent issues under this statute: What is a reasonable accommodation and what must an employer show to establish an “undue hardship” defense to providing such an accommodation. The case, Searls v. Johns Hopkins Hosp. (1-21-16), resulted in the U.S. … Continue Reading

New Guidance On “Joint Employment Status” Likely Means More Liability for Companies

President Ronald Reagan famously noted that the “most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Well, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced on 1/20/2015 that they were here to help clarify when a joint employment relationship exist under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the … Continue Reading

Should Employers Reconsider Using Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Employment Agreements?

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an editorial titled, “Why the Trial Bar and Its Friends Detest Arbitration” by James R. Copland. Mr. Copland’s editorial highlighted some high-profile lawsuits to conclude that the court system often fails companies. Business owners frequently share the same belief and assume their businesses will fare better in arbitration rather … Continue Reading

CEO’s “Reckless Texting” Wrecks Lawsuit to Enforce Noncompete Agreement

Texting as a reckless activity is well-documented when it comes to driving. It is also noted as an increasing health hazard for “petextrians” (pedestrians who are texting, clever huh?) according to Ben Zimmer of the Wall Street Journal in his article “What Do You Call a Reckless Texter?” But can it be “reckless” for your company’s non-compete agreements? … Continue Reading

Dissecting an Injunction Hearing for Enforcing a Non-compete Agreement

In noncompete lawsuits, whether a preliminary injunction should be issued is a critical battle that in large part determines the direction of the lawsuit. For this reason, a recent decision denying a former employer’s motion for injunctive relief in a non-compete enforcement action provides critical insight for companies and individuals. Court Denies Preliminary Injunction in … Continue Reading

Key to Successfully Assessing ADA Accommodations Starts with Individualized Inquiry

An area under the Americans with Disabilities Act that can be problematic for employers and employees alike concerns conducting the individualized inquiry that is required to determine if an employee’s disability or another condition disqualifies the employee from a particular position. This issue recently played out in a federal district court case of (Siewertsen v Worthington … Continue Reading
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