Friday, October 20, 2017

WIRTW #481 (the “proof of concept” edition)

When a commenter starts his thoughts with “Hey faggot,” you know you have one for the internet-troll hall of fame.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post entitled, When You Discover That You Employ a Nazi. This post generated the above-referenced comment on (which cross-posts my blog daily).

The rest of this winning comment?

Thank you, Mr. Bryson, for proving my point. Let me also suggest (if you can stomach it) that you check out his account on, which exposes his views on a range of topics, including LGBTQ people, the Jews, and school shootings as false flags. For the record, he is con, con, and WTF?!

Here’s what else I read this week:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

When is a break not a break under the FLSA?

The FLSA draws a pretty clear line as to when breaks must be paid, and when they can be unpaid.

If a break 20 minutes or less in duration, it must be paid. Any longer, and an employer can make it an unpaid break.

What if, however, instead of providing employees paid breaks, an employer installs a system of flex time—the employer only pays employees for the time they are logged onto its system, which maximizes employees’ ability to take breaks from work at any time, for any reason, and for any duration.

Does this “flex time” system of unlimited unpaid breaks pass muster under the FLSA?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

No, you do not need a workplace emoji policy

I read a blog yesterday that asked the following question? “Do you need a workplace emoji policy?

They say yes, I say an unequivocal no.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Weinstein case highlights problem of “ostriching” harassment

It’s been a busy few days in employment-law land, with the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment case dominating the headlines.

What have we learned?
  • Weinstein is an (alleged) (do I really need to add this qualifier?) serial harasser, maybe one of the worst in history.
  • His misconduct was the worst kept secret in Hollywood, with even Courtney Love discussing it all the way back in 2005.
  • The Weinstein Company, and the members of its board of director, are in deep, deep trouble for ignoring Harvey’s (alleged) wandering eyes, hands, etc.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There is no *good* reason to be anti-LGBTQ rights

Last week I presented a webinar entitled, “The Top 10 Employee Handbook Mistakes.”

I discussed, among other policies, missing at-will disclaimers, salary discussion bans, failing to define the FMLA leave-year, inflexible leave of absence policies, and omitted or ineffective harassment policies.

I also discussed anti-discrimination policies that ignore LGBTQ employment rights.

During the LGBTQ section of the webinar, I provided the legal background on the issue (Title VII is silent, some states and municipalities have acted, and the EEOC and federal courts have stepped up to otherwise fill in Title VII’s gap).

I then issued this challenge to the attendees—
“Be on the right side of history.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

WIRTW #480 (the “another Fake ID” edition)

Indulge me, as this morning I once again take off my employment-law blogger hat, and replace it with my proud dad / music blogger hat.

Fake ID had quite the successful opening weekend of music. They started last Saturday night rocking The Pond Ice Rink’s annual clambake (encore included), and finished Sunday afternoon as the talk of the Hiram House Camp Pumpkin Festival.

It was an absolute joy to watch this band perform (and not just because one of them happens to be mine). These kids rock hard, work harder, and love what they are doing.

As one fan described his “favorite cover band in town” — “Book them now for your holiday party before they get their driver’s licenses!”

Follow these kids on YouTube for more videos from this past weekend, like them on Facebook for information on future gigs, and follow them on Instagram for more videos and other photos.

Here’s what I read this week.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Do you know what to do when an employee dies on the job?

It’s news an employer never wants to deliver.

“I’m sorry, but your spouse (or partner, child, or other family member) had an accident at work and unfortunately passed away.”

But it happens. In fact, according to OSHA it’s happened 357 times already this year.

Indeed, it happened just yesterday, at Cleveland State University. A piece of sheet metal fell and killed a construction worker.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jemele Hill story underscores employees lack of understanding about personal social media and work

Social media has irreparably torn down the wall that has historically separated one’s work life from one’s personal life.

Earlier this week, ESPN personality Jemele Hill learned this lesson the hard way.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It’s coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE: 12 steps for your employees to become cyber-aware

Do you remember the movie When a Stranger Calls?

The movie opens with a babysitter receiving a telephone call from a man who asks, “Have you checked the children?” She dismisses the call as a practical joke, but as they continue, and become more frequent and threatening, she becomes frightened and calls the police. Ultimately, she receives a return call from the police, telling her that the calls are coming from inside the house.

(Cue ominous music)

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And, according to one recent study, employee negligence or other error is the cause of 41 percent of all data breaches. Your data breaches are coming from inside your house. The question is what are you going to do about it.

Monday, October 9, 2017

What to do when your Harvey Weinstein harasses your employees

By now you’ve likely heard about the decades of harassment allegations levied against storied Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Over the weekend, his company, the Weinstein Company, fired him.

Will your board have the courage to do the same if your CEO / President / founder engages in the type of misconduct alleged against Harvey Weinstein?