I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the 1990s. Maybe it’s the fact that they were my formative years in college and law school. Maybe it’s the three-night series I just watched on National Geographic Channel. Maybe it’s the rebirth (and re-cancellation) of Arsenio Hall. Maybe it’s how my daughter is learning Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the Chili Peppers for her next gig. Or, Maybe it’s just because I’ve been listening to a bit too much Lithium on my satellite radio trying to recapture my youth. Whatever the case, I’m dedicating this, my annual turn at the wheel of the Employment Law Blog Carnival, to the 90s.
So put on your flannel shirts (or blue dresses), bust out your Bill-Clinton sax, and enjoy this grungy Child of the 90s edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival, as I present the best of the Employment Law Blawgosphere as seen through the lens of ten of the best songs to come out of The Last Great Decade.
Four Leaf Clover — Old 97’s (1997, as covered in 2014)
The Old 97’s recorded this song twice, a countrified version on their debut album, Hitchhike to Rhome, and this rock version for their 1997 breakthrough album, Too Far to Care, which Rhett Miller turned into a duet with Exene Cervenka, singer from the punk band X. Do you feel lucky? Read these 4 Steps to Combat Workplace Discrimination, from Ari Rosenstein’s Small Biz HR Blog, and you might.
Daughter — Pearl Jam (1993)
Eddie Vedder can be a bit hard to understand when he sings. Did you know that this song is about a girl with a learning disability, abused by her family and friends because they did not understand what was wrong with her? Perhaps they needed a lesson in accommodation. Next term, the Supreme Court is going to provide us one on pregnancy discrimination, as Phil Miles reports on his Lawffice Space blog, in SCOTUS Grants Cert. in Pregnancy Workplace Accommodation Case.
About a Girl — Nirvana (1994)
Nirvana originally recorded About a Girl in 1988, but it did not become a hit until Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance years later. The Beatles inspired Kurt Cobain to write the song. The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision was about a girl who could not buy certain birth control under her employer’s medical insurance, as Heather Bussing, at HR Examiner, explains in What the Hobby Lobby Case Means.
Weezer — Undone, The Sweater Song (1994)
According to Rivers Cuomo, this song is about that feeling you get when the train stops and the little guy comes knocking at your door. That explanation is as cryptic as the song. Perhaps a better explanation is found in Why employee use of social media “off the clock” may still impact your workplace, from Eric Meyer’s The Employer Handbook Blog. Maybe it’s the same feeling you get if you don’t education yourself about your employee’s off-the-clock social media use.
Hunger Strike — Temple of the Dog (1992)
Temple of the Dog is an amalgam between Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Did you know that Eddie Vedder, who had flown to Seattle from San Diego to audition for Mookie Blaylock (which would later become Pearl Jam), and was only supposed to sign back-up on Hunger Strike? Chris Cornell, however, so much liked how Vedder sang the song, it ended up as a duet. And, the rest is grunge history. Do you smoke pot (legally, of course)? Then, there’s no hunger strike for you, given your propensity to the munchies. Can you fire someone who smokes pot (legally, of course)? Read Florida Legalizes Medical “Marijuana” But You Can Still Be Fired For It, from Donna Ballman’s Screw You Guy’s, I’m Going Home, to find out.
Bullet with Butterfly Wings — Smashing Pumpkins (1995)
Vampires and rats in cages? Believe it, or not. Here’s Employment law BELIEVE IT OR NOT! from Robin Shea’s Employment & Labor Insider.
Interstate Love Song — Stone Temple Pilots (1994)
According to Scott Weiland, this song is about honesty, lack of honesty, and his then-newfound love for heroin. Pretty bleak stuff, if you ask me. Do you know what else is bleak? Not correctly paying your employees, as explained in Holiday Pay for Employees with Alternative Work Schedules from Wage & Hour Insights.
Sabotage — Beastie Boys (1994)
For my money, this is the greatest music video of all time. This, along with Weezer’s Happy Days-inspired Buddy Holly, made a name for Spike Jonze, who went on to direct the Oscar-nominated films Being John Malkovich and Her. For the past six years, federal agencies have been trying to sabotage employers, according to Is the EEOC the new NLRB?, from John Holmquist’s Michigan Employment Law Connection.
Green Day — Basket Case (1994)
“Do you have the time / To listen to me whine?” Trying to figure out the hows and whens of inflexible leave of absence policies will turn you into a basked case. Just ask Dan Schwartz, who, on his Connecticut Employment Law Blog, posted Wait, “Inflexible” Leave Policies Are Actually Okay? Sometimes.
Give It Away — Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)
This song is all about the philosophy of selflessness and altruism. Employers seldom adopt this philosophy when settling lawsuits. When settling lawsuits with employees age 40 or over, don’t forget about the OWBPA, as explained in Settlement and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, from Robert Fitzpatrick on Employment Law.
Eric Meyer, the author of The Employer Handbook blog and currator of this fine Carnival, will host next month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival, on August 20. If you want to participate, email him a link to your employment-law-related blog post by August 15.
Because I hosted this month’s Carnival, WIRTW will not run this Friday, and will return with to its regularly featured slot next Friday, with edition #329.