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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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28 Apr 2017 Can Employers Terminate an Employee Because of Vacation Photos Posted to Facebook?

  It is no secret that employers can and will make employment decisions based on employee social media postings—but will those employment decisions hold up in court? In a recent case, Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, the Eleventh Circuit held that an employee could proceed on a claim for retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) following his termination for posting vacation photos to his Facebook.   Rodney Jones worked at Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay. Mr….

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21 Nov 2016 Using an Employee’s Social Media Posts to Prove Laziness? Think Again

  Is it permissible for an employer who is subject to an unpaid overtime claim to request an employee’s social media postings over a three-year period? The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida found such requests to be overly broad, unduly burdensome and unreasonable.   A sales representative sued her employer for uncompensated off-the-clock work. During discovery, the employer, Orange Lake Country Club, requested the following information from the employee:   All online profiles, postings, messages (including, without limitation, tweets, replies, retweets,…

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06 Jun 2016 Employers Need Not Tolerate Workers Screaming On the Electronic Street Corner Terminating Employees For Offensive Remarks On Social Media

Over the last few days, the news media have widely covered Bank of America’s decision to fire one of its employees for posting this on the employee’s personal Facebook page:   I hate Facebook for this reason you f***ing n****rs.  And yes, if [you] can call each that well I can too.  ‘F***ing n****r go back to Africa. Get over your pity party. You created this hatred and your own kind that brought your great-great-parents [sic] over here and sold them.  ‘Do something with your…

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24 Nov 2015 The Viral Spiral: How An Employee’s Facebook Post Dragged Her Employer Into A Social Media Controversy

  Instances of deplorable racism have sparked recent protests on the University of Missouri’s campus. Not surprisingly, these protests have received a significant amount of media attention. On Nov. 13, 2015, however, the world’s attention shifted to the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. We have since been inundated with 24-hour news coverage on developments related to the war on terror.   Following the Paris attacks, the Washington Times released a story explaining how University of Missouri protestors had taken to Twitter to express disappointment with…

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20 Nov 2015 EMOJI-GOSH! How Emojis in Workplace Communications Can Spark A Lawsuit (Or Make It Harder To Defend One)

Emojis. They are the colorful cartoon images that are built into nearly every mobile device. They are hugely popular. At this very moment, thousands of communications containing these images are bouncing off satellites. In fact, they are so prevalent that an emoji has taken the title of Oxford Dictionaries’ “Word of the Year.” Yes, you read that correctly. An emoji – not a word – was handed this year’s title.   Why should this craze be of interest to employers? Well, we will set the…

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20 Nov 2015 Employee Suspended For Tweet: What We Can Learn From This Real World Example

Earlier this week we reminded employers why it is crucial to monitor what topics of discussion are trending with your employees.  Hot topics can bring out a variety of opinions.  As we explained, opinions can be controversial, inconsistent with company policy, and sometimes offensive.  Here is the link to that article.  Yesterday, we issued a second reminder after we discovered a trending Twitter hashtag that was being used to tweet inappropriate content.     As predicted, we now have a real world example of an…

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19 Nov 2015 Employers: Twitter is Going Crazy Over The #InternationalMensDay Hashtag

This will be a short post. Earlier this week we posted an article that discussed the need for employers to stay on top of what is trending on the Internet. Why? Because trending topics can sometimes lead to controversial discussions that might not be consistent with an employer’s EEO Policy. As a result, we explained that it would be prudent to understand what may be the current topic being discussed around the watercooler. Here is a follow up to that article:  The #InternationalMensDay hashtag is…

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17 Nov 2015 Trending Now: How the Latest News Going Viral Can Lead to Employment Litigation

A downed Russian airliner, the tragic Paris attacks, the European refugee crisis, states closing their borders to Syrian nationals, Charlie  Sheen’s HIV diagnosis. What do these all have in common? They are hot topics for discussion around the watercooler.  And they also will bring out a multitude of opinions.  What’s the problem?  Opinions can be controversial and, to some, down right offensive.  Healthy debate about how the United States should handle the war on terror could be construed as evidence of religious discrimination (in some cases). …

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11 Nov 2015 DO IT FOR THE VINE! How This Week’s Viral Social Media Trend Can Spark Legal Liability in the Workplace

Consider the following scenario: Sharon is the owner of a very successful restaurant in Florida. Sharon’s establishment employs around 20 individuals. Most of her employees are between 18 and 22 years old. In May 2015, Sharon hired Joseph as a server. Joseph is a disabled 38 year old whose medical condition requires that he wear special orthopedic shoes.   Sharon began noticing an annoying pattern of behavior during the first week of July. Several of her younger employees working in the back stock-room would frequently…

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01 May 2015 Breaking News: Employees Are Still Posting Inappropriate Content On Facebook. So Let’s Just Learn From Their Lack of Judgment

A Texas veterinarian recently posted a horrific image of herself on Facebook holding a cat killed by an arrow through its head.  Along with the image (too graphic to include here), the employee posted the following:   “My first bow kill lol.  The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head!  Vet of the year award… gladly accepted. “And no I did not lose my job.  Psshh.  Like someone would get rid of me.  I’m awesome.” Well, she was wrong. …

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