Friday, September 30, 2022

WIRTW #644: the “whitewater” edition

"What's the first film you remember seeing?"

That’s the lead off question on each episode of Films to be Buried With — Brett Goldstein's (aka Ted Lasso's Roy Kent) podcast. Each episode is a long form interview of a celebrity in which they their life story through films. It's a podcast worth celebrating this International Podcast Day and all other 364 days of the year.

The first movie I remember seeing is Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, a 1977 Peanuts film in which the gang goes to summer camp and takes on a group of bullies in the annual river raft race.

I saw this film at the Woodhaven Mall with Uncle Ron and Aunt Rita … who were most definitely not my uncle and aunt. In fact, I had never met them before that day. I was four years old, and they ran a bus that took groups of kids to the movies during the summer. My parents paid to put their terrified four-year-old on a bus with two strangers to see a movie. I don't remember a thing about that film other than being completely freaked out on that bus and by the entire experience. In fact, it's the scariest movie I've ever seen about a river rafting trip. Thanks, Mom and Dad. 😞

What's the first film you remember seeing? Did it involve two strange adults picking you up at your house on a bus? Or was it an experience as memorable yet less creepy?

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Correlation isn’t necessarily causation … except when it is

According to a recently filed EEOC lawsuit, Dollar General violated Title VII by firing a sales employee because of her pregnancy. More to the point, Dollar General, the EEOC alleges, fired her immediately after she advised her manager of her pregnancy. It listed "health" as the reason for her termination on her separation notice, after advising her of concerns for her safety.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Never say “nevermind” when child pornography is involved

You may not know who Spencer Elden is, but you almost certainly know what he looked like as a newborn. Spencer, in all of his glory, graces what is perhaps the most famous album cover of all time, or at least of the last 30 years — Nirvana's iconic grunge masterpiece, Nevermind.

Spencer Elden was also recently a plaintiff, as he sued Kurt Cobain's estate, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl for child sexual exploitation based on their use of naked baby image. (He lost, btw, not once, but twice.)

While the lawsuit and its 30-year-old claim certainly seem like a b.s. money grab, it did get me thinking, do you know what to do if you discover child pornography in your workplace, on your network, or on one of your devices?

Here are four thoughts.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dispelling six common wage and hour misconceptions

19 hours in a workday without overtime pay. That's how one Amazon delivery driver described his experience working for online conglomerate.

To be clear, while it might make for an awful work environment to work a 19-hour shift, there is nothing in the federal wage and hour laws that require overtime pay for a 19-hour workday. 

Overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is based on hours in a work week, not a workday. (Please check your state laws, employers in Alaska, California, Colorada, and Nevada, as your overtime obligations might be tied to hours in a workday, not work week.) The FLSA only requires time and a half of one's regular rate of pay is required for any hours in excess of 40 in a week. 

While it's easy to imagine 19-hour days quickly adding up to a number over 40 hours in a week, 19 hours in one workday, in and of itself, does not qualify one to overtime pay under the FLSA. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Workplace romance vs. workplace harassment

The Boston Celtics have suspended their head coach, Ime Udoka, for the entire 2022-23 season.

His offense — it was initially reported that he had violated the team’s policies by engaging in a consensual intimate relationship with a female staff member. 

This punishment seemed … harsh. A year for a consensual relationship? If you don’t want your head coach dating staff, why not just direct him to end the affair with a stern warning not to let it happen again, instead of a year-long suspension? In fact, it seemed so harsh that I knew that there had to be more to this story. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

WIRTW #643: the “til I hear it from you” edition

It's been a busy week, both in the practice of law and in the recording of some podcasts for your listening pleasure.

As for the other half of The Norah and Dad Show, you can see her perform tonight at Baxter's Speakeasy in Akron and next Friday, Sept. 30, at The Olde Wine Cellar in Olmsted Falls. Both shows are free, although Baxter's has a one-drink minimum, and The Olde Wine Cellar would prefer if you buy a bottle of wine and a flatbread to consume while you enjoy the music.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

“Pretextual investigation” dooms employer’s defense to ex-employee’s retaliation claim

An employee, Joseph Canada, uses his cell phone to solicit sex from prostitutes during work hours. His employer, Samuel Grossi & Sons, discovers the text messages and terminates the employee for violating its policies against "[u]nlawful conduct which adversely affects the employee's relationship on his/her job, fellow employees, supervisor and/or damages the Company's property, reputation or goodwill in the community" and "[i]mmoral or indecent conduct."

The employee then sues for retaliation, claiming that the termination was in retaliation for filing another lawsuit the month prior claiming discrimination and FMLA violations.

The district court dismissed the retaliation claim, stating that "[n]o reasonable jury could conclude that defendant's proffered nondiscriminatory and nonretaliatory reason for terminating plaintiff's employment was pretextual."

On appeal, however, the 3rd Circuit concluded that the reason for the termination is irrelevant if the investigation that leads to the discovery of the evidence that causes the termination was pretexual in and of itself.