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

Know the Facts Before Making a Decision

I recently coached a law student working at Vinson & Elkins for the summer that when she writes a legal memorandum, she should always start with a statement of the facts of the matter as she knows them. The reason for doing this is that if she makes a conclusion on the facts, but does not tell the reader what she believes the facts to be, there could be a misunderstanding. Sometimes associates are not provided all of the facts needed for their memorandum. We will catch that if the associate repeats back the facts in their memorandum. This is also good advice for a young lawyer when they first start writing opinions for clients, because clients may forget some important facts.

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  • 18
  • July
  • 2019

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To "Blue Pencil" a Non-Compete — What Does That Mean?

Some people worry about the drafting of non-competes more than others. One reason for this is probably that the people who are more relaxed about how the provisions are drafted are in jurisdictions that have the safety net of local courts that will reform or “blue pencil” provisions that are found to be overly broad. If that’s the case, you might be tempted to ask for a little more protection than you need. But if you are a business that has employees in multiple jurisdictions (whether different U.S. states or different countries), you need to pay closer attention because the way the courts deal with this issue can be very different and could result in an all-or-nothing decision on restrictive covenants that your business is relying on.

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  • 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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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