Friday, August 18, 2017

WIRTW #472 (the “back to school” edition)


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Here’s what I read this week:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The meaning of life (in eight words)


A few months back, while riding in the car (we do a lot of riding in the car, mostly to and from music lessons, rehearsals, and gigs), I fielded a question from the back seat. I don’t recall the context of the conversation, or the genesis of the question that followed.

Norah asked, “What’s the meaning of life?”

Pretty deep for a then 10-year-old.

I paused, thought for a second (or three), and answered.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How much wasted work-time is too much?


According to a recent survey conducted by OfficeTeam, on average, employees spend 8 hours per workweek on non-work activities.

What does this non-work time look like?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Does a LinkedIn request violate a non-solicitation agreement?


In Bankers Life and Casualty Company v. American Senior Benefits (Ill. Ct. App. 8/7/17), Bankers Life sued a former sales manager, Gregory Gelineau, for violating the following non-solicitation agreement after he jumped ship to American Senior Benefits, a competitor:
During the term of this Contract and for 24 months thereafter, within the territory regularly serviced by the Manager’s branch sales office, the Manager shall not, personally or through the efforts of others, induce or attempt to induce: 
(a) any agent, branch sales manager, field vice president, employee, consultant, or other similar representative of the Company to curtail, resign, or sever a relationship with the company; [or]
(b) any agent, branch sales manager, field vice president or employee of the Company to contract with or sell insurance business with any company not affiliated with the company. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

When you discover that you employ a Nazi


In the wake of Friday and Saturday’s horrific, evil events in Charlottesville, the twitter account YesYoureRacist posted many riot photos and identified many of the rioters. And, as a result, some have lost their jobs.


Question: Does one participating in a Nazi rally enjoy any job protections from said participation?

Friday, August 11, 2017

WIRTW #471 (the “free press … sort of” edition)



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Apparently the labor rights of strikers trump the non-harassment rights of employees


There exists only one workplace environment in which a white employee can keep his job after yelling the following at a group of African-American employees.
  • “Hey, did you bring enough KFC for everyone?” 
  • “Go back to Africa, you bunch of f***ing losers.”
  • “Hey anybody smell that? I smell fried chicken and watermelon.”
A gold star for you if you answered a picket line, when the comments are made by striking workers and are directed at a group of replacements crossing said picket line. Or at least this is the majority finding of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. v. NLRB [pdf].

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Diversity is not an ideology


By now, you’ve likely heard about the male Google employee (James Damore) who circulated within the company a 10-page memo entitled, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” In this memo, he critiqued Google’s efforts at maintaining gender diversity within the ranks of its employees, arguing that women are underrepresented in tech not because of workplaces biases and discrimination, but because of inherent psychological differences between the sexes.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Avoid “FLSA roshambo” to win off-the-clock overtime claims


Defending claims for off-the-clock work is one of the most difficult tasks employers face under the Fair Labor Standards Act. An employee (or worse, group of employees) says, “I (we) worked, without compensation, before our shift, after our shift, or during our lunch; pay me (us).” Often, these employees have their own personal, detailed logs supporting their claims. And the employer has bupkis. It then must prove a negative (“You weren’t really working when you say you were”), which places the employer in a difficult and often unwinnable position. It’s a wage-and-hour game of rock-paper-scissors, where paper always beats air.

When we last examined Allen v. City of Chicago—a case in which a class of Chicago police officers claimed their employer owed them unpaid overtime for their time spent reading emails off-duty on their smartphones—an Illinois federal court had dismissed the claims, holding that most of the emails were incidental and non-essential to the officers’ work, and, regardless, the employer lacked specific knowledge of non-compensated off-duty work.

Last week—in what is believed to be the first, and only, federal appellate court decision on whether an employer owes non-exempt employees overtime for time spent off-duty reading emails on a smartphone—the 7th Circuit affirmed [pdf].

Monday, August 7, 2017

Listen to me on the Talent10x podcast discuss the current state of LGBTQ discrimination


I have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Workforce Magazine. I’ve been blogging at workforce.com for the past five-plus years. I write a monthly column for the magzine. And, I serve on its editorial advisory board. Now, you can also add “podcaster” to my Workforce CV.

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