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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 16
  • July
  • 2019

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California Outlaws (Some) Hair Discrimination

A couple of months ago, I discussed whether a company could terminate an employee who had dyed her hair pink. My conclusion was that employers could legally — at least for now — prohibit employees from having pink hair although I noted that employers were increasingly reconsidering prohibitions on hair color, tattoos and certain piercings which might have the effect of eliminating talented younger candidates from the applicant pool.

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  • 11
  • July
  • 2019

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How Emojis Can Cause Trouble in the Workplace

As emojis have morphed from a cute novelty into a staple element of business communication, they have begun to pose liability risks to companies. Many of these risks stem from the fact that emojis lack universal definitions, can have multiple — often subjective — meanings, and look different on different messaging platforms. This means that emoji use can easily lead to misunderstandings between sender and recipient, which in a business setting can have consequences ranging from contract claims to allegations of harassment and discrimination. Business litigation in which emojis are key evidence has increased significantly in recent years, and shows no sign of abating.  Employees’ use of emojis to supplement text or provide an emotional valence can also enhance liability risk. This occurred memorably in Apatoff v. Munich Re America Services, where the use of emojis by managers led to denial of a company’s motion for summary judgment against a claim of wrongful termination under the Family Medical Leave Act.  2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106665 (D.N.J. Aug. 1, 2014).

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  • 09
  • July
  • 2019

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Play Ball: MLB’s Gig Economy and Lessons for Other Employers

“The Dodgers are the Uber of baseball,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci in the magazine’s February 11, 2019 issue. He meant that the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have represented the National League in the World Series the last two seasons, have achieved remarkable success by borrowing the idea of short-term contracts from the gig economy.

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Celebrate Freedom, Hug a Lawyer (Previously Posted on July 3, 2018)

“I have gone to jail for what I have said.” That’s what I was recently told by a lawyer from another country when he received a call from a reporter asking him to comment on a recent decision from one of his country’s courts. When I asked him how careful he had to be with what he said, he described his time spent in jail for statements he has made.

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New York Harassment Law Is a Game Changer

Last year, when I wrote about the new laws that had been passed by the New York State Assembly to combat sexual harassment, I was largely complimentary. After all, requiring employers to provide interactive training in harassment training was something that I had been recommending since I became an employment lawyer many years ago. While I was more ambivalent about some of the other provisions (prohibiting certain non-disclosure provisions and arbitration agreements), the basic principles of sexual harassment law remained the same.

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  • 27
  • June
  • 2019

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Celebrating LGBTQ Pride and the Modern Workplace

Tomorrow, June 28, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riot where gay men and lesbians fought back during a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Because this blog is about the workplace, however, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about how far American employers, including my own law firm, have come during my lifetime in protecting the rights of LGBTQ workers, and to talk about one of my heroes of the LGBTQ movement.

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  • 25
  • June
  • 2019

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Does Your Arbitration Agreement Include a Carve-Out for Employee Access to the National Labor Relations Board? It Should.

Most employers mandating arbitration agreements as a condition of employment do not intend to prevent employees from filing unfair labor charges with the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”). But unless their agreements contain a “savings clause” making that clear to employees, they are susceptible to challenge that, at least according to the Board, could invalidate the entire agreement. 

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Why Does My Investor Relations Manager Need to Be in This Meeting?

For public companies, whenever there is a change in leadership for whatever reason, an issue that must be addressed is whether the company needs to make a public filing disclosing the change. The company should evaluate the disclosure both from a regulatory compliance standpoint and an investor relations standpoint, carefully considering both the tone and content of the disclosure.

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  • 13
  • June
  • 2019

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Employment Laws Also Apply to Your Household Caretakers

When you are an employment lawyer who represents management, most of your clients are businesses that have human resources departments. From time to time, however, I am cornered by friends at ball games or cocktail parties who have questions about the individual caretakers who assist them in managing their house, children, and garden, or, for example, the home health aides who might take care of their parents. Do the employment laws that we talk about in this blog apply to them?

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  • 11
  • June
  • 2019

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Time Is of the Essence: U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Failure-To-Exhaust Argument in Employment Discrimination Suits Can Be Waived If Not Timely Made

On June 3, 2019, in Fort Bend County v. Davis, the Supreme Court held that federal courts can hear discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, even if the worker alleging discrimination did not bring those claims first to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or an equivalent state-level workplace discrimination body.

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Watch for Gathering Storms to Protect your Expatriates

We are all concerned when we send an employee to a location where we know that the work circumstances and living conditions may not be the safest. However, we should also be concerned about those expatriates who have been working in locations that were considered safe when they were first given the foreign assignment. My message in this post is that you should have a good view at all times of any gathering storms that may impact those employees.

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  • 30
  • May
  • 2019

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The Return of the “No-Match” Letter

The last time a client of mine received a “No-Match” letter was in 2012, so I was somewhat surprised when multiple clients received letters from the Social Security Administration in only the last few weeks. Apparently, my clients were not alone. According to a New York Times story, over half a million employers received similar letters in the last couple of months.

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  • 28
  • May
  • 2019

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Home Remedies for Diagnosing Trade Secrets Theft

Listen to your gut when an employee who had access to confidential information leaves your company. Were they vague on their next steps? Is there a chance they’re going to work for a competitive venture? Are you concerned about the kind of information they had access to? If so, there are steps you can probably take (in house!) that will either soothe or further upset your gut. You want to know as soon as possible if you have a case of misappropriation of your company’s confidential information on your hands.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner