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

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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The Westeros Citizens Participation Act (Yeah, Right)

My disappointment with the Game of Thrones’ finale on Sunday night was greatly alleviated by the news on Monday morning that a bill amending the Texas anti-SLAPP law is on its way to the governor’s office. This amendment to the Texas Citizens Participation Act (the anti-SLAPP law) – should it be signed into law by Gov. Abbott – explicitly says that the TCPA does not apply to a legal action arising from an employer-employee relationship (among other relationships) that seeks to recover for trade secrets misappropriation, or seeks to enforce a non-compete or non-disparagement agreement.

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  • 25
  • April
  • 2019

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The Supreme Court All But Ends Classwide Arbitration, Delivering A Win For Employers

When most employers think about arbitration with their employees, they think about arbitrating the claims of one employee at a time. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this week in Lamp Plus, Inc., et al. v. Varela, deciding that parties cannot be compelled to arbitrate class actions unless the arbitration agreement explicitly calls for class arbitration (something that virtually no arbitration agreement does).

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  • 12
  • March
  • 2019

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DOJ Fans the Flames in Support of Plaintiffs Suing Former Employers in Private Antitrust Fray

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division (the “DOJ”) recently put its thumb on the scale in favor of plaintiffs with respect to the standard to be applied in antitrust litigation involving purported “no-poach” agreements among competing employers. In a rare move, the DOJ filed a statement of interest in the ongoing lawsuit, In re Railway Industry Employee No-Poach Antitrust Litigation – a multi-district class action filed by several former employees against two of the world’s largest rail equipment suppliers.

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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