News from employment law

Legal-RoundupThe heat has broken, the pumpkin beverages are out and the days are getting shorter – but there’s no shortage of employment law news. Last month was quite busy, so let’s dive in!

President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to disclose any labor law violations for three years prior to their seeking a government contract. (In July, the House of Representatives had passed a bill with the same intent.)

In other federal news, you might recall that the National Labor Relations Board was under some scrutiny regarding the actions it undertook while operating with members who were appointed unconstitutionally. (If you don’t recall that, take our word for it: they were.) The NLRB has settled the issue by unanimously ratifying all the stuff it did during that unconstitutional-appointment time. Well, it’s settled to them, but some employment lawyers are planning to contest the ratification. This should be fun!

What else is fun? Tracking FMLA leave and eligibility! (spoiler: not really) A New Jersey healthcare company will pay $1.35 million to settle a suit about their overly-rigid FMLA leave policy. Their leave-tracking system had terminated employees who weren’t eligible for FMLA leave after a few medical absences, and automatically terminated employees who were taking FMLA leave after 12 weeks. The EEOC is a big believer in reviewing hiring and termination decisions on a case-by-case basis, so this automatic-cutoff thing got the healthcare company in big trouble.

Elsewhere in medical news, a circuit court in Oregon ruled that an employee cannot claim ADHD as a disability under the ADA. A police officer attributed his history of interpersonal conflicts to ADHD, which he had been diagnosed with as a child, but for which he stopped taking his medication at 12. A jury had initially ruled that his ADHD was a legitimate disability that interfered with his ability to work, but the circuit court agreed with the employer, that the guy in question was just a jerk.

Speaking of jerks, remember last year’s government shutdown? Just about every government employee does, and they’re probably feeling a little vindicated now that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled that not paying employees their wages on time is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

You know who else has violated the FLSA? LinkedIn! The social media company failed to keep track of hours worked by their employees, and is now required to pay almost $5.9 million to 349 current and former employees. It’s always important to track hours, whether or not you’re a social media giant.

Did someone say “social media”? Of course we’ve got news from that corner this month! Rhode Island has passed a law restricting employers’ access to employees’ and applicants’ personal online content. This makes 17 states now that have laws of some kind that limit this kind of access.

It can be tough to create a good social media policy, but you might want to avoid making one as strict as the Houston County Sheriff’s Office’s. In fact, the policy is so strict that employees have sued the HCSO, claiming that the policy is unconstitutional. This will be an interesting case to follow!

One individual who would almost certainly violate the HCSO’s policy was terminated after a spectacularly profane rant about her workplace appeared on her Facebook wall. She contested the termination, but a U.S. District Court ruled that she was terminated fair and square. (Seriously, the post was that inappropriate.)

And with that, we leave you to enjoy the rest of the month, and slurp something pumpkin-y for us!

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