Friday, November 14, 2008

WIRTW #56


The Employee Free Choice Act remains the hot labor and employment law topic. The stat of the week comes courtesy of the Delaware Employment Law Blog. During the first half of 2008, labor unions won an astounding 66.8% percent of secret ballot elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, as compared to 58.5% during the same period in 2007. At this clip, do unions really need help from the EFCA? It seems like they are doing just fine all on their own.

This rest of this week’s review touches on four themes important in today’s workplace – layoffs, bullying, technology, and discrimination:

1. Layoffs

Downsizing is a popular topic these days. The ABA Journal correctly points out that more layoffs equates to more employment lawsuits. Meanwhile, Bob Sutton plays some word games in trying to find the right nomenclature for a workforce reduction.

2. Bullying

The Laconic Law Blog discusses some possible common law remedies for employees who are bullied at work. George’s Employment Blawg asks if we really need anti-bullying laws at all. Case in Point talks about the workplace dangers of salty language. On Point reports on a real live case of bullying at work – a case in which a jury found that a manager’s staring at a subordinate’s breasts did not constitute sexual harassment. He claimed that he could not help himself because of an eye disorder.

3. Technology

The Connecticut Employment Law Blog opines on the use of social networking sites (such as Facebook) to uncover facts in discovery. If you need a good example of how this might play out, The HR Capitalist gives us an interesting case study on 13 flight attendants fired by Virgin Airways for inappropriate comments on their Facebook pages. Electronic Discovery Law reports on a case in which an employee was found to have no expectation of privacy on a workplace computer, even for personal information stored there.

4. Discrimination

World of Work brings us news of a settlement of case challenging an English-only workplace policy. Workplace Horizons talks about what “passive discrimination” means and why plaintiffs’ lawyers might target some of your workplace policies because of it. BLR’s HR Daily Advisor discusses rules for employee medical exams under the ADA.

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