NLRB: Discharging Non-Union Employee’s for Facebook Posts Violated NLRA

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in NLRB

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. ( / link to bio)

In Hispanics United of Buffalo, Inc., 359 NLRB No. 37 (Dec. 14, 2012), the NLRB released its first decision to examine protected, concerted activity involving Facebook. By a 3-1 vote, the Board held that the non-union employer committed an unfair labor practice by discharging five employees for responding to another employee’s criticism of their work performance on Facebook. The majority of the Board found that comments posted on Facebook are protected in the same manner and to the same extent as comments made at the “water cooler.” “Although the employees’ mode of communicating their workplace concerns might be novel,” the Board concluded this activity was for “mutual aid or protection” within the meaning of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The discharged employees received full reinstatement and backpay.

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Tis the Season to Limit Holiday Party Liability

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. ( / link to bio)

December may be the season of joy for those celebrating at office holiday parties, but January is the season of joy for plaintiff lawyers celebrating the influx of lawsuits resulting from those parties. The key point for employers to remember is that holiday parties – no matter where they are located – are an extension of the workplace. Here are five practical suggestions for employers to limit their liability without sacrificing a merry celebration.

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2012 in NLRB

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. ( / link to bio)

In 2012, the NLRB’s General Counsel’s office has been keeping employers with non-unionized workforces on their toes by expanding the reach of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) to non-unionized workers to address issues ranging from at-will agreements to social media policies to employer property rights and employee access. As a result of this infringement into the non-unionized workforce, we are seeing an increase in challenges to employer handbook policies under the NLRA. The first step for employers to protect themselves is to ensure that their policies are complaint with the recent rulings under the NLRA.
The “unlawful” workplace policies addressed by the NLRB’s General Counsel’s office in 2012 include:

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Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in FLSA

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. (email / link to bio)

On October 12, 2012, nine legal and workers’ rights organizations urged the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to label John Catsimatidis, the owner and CEO of New York City grocery chain Gristedes Foods Inc., an “employer” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) which would make him personally, jointly and severally liable for a $3.5 million overtime class action settlement.

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Be Careful What You Post: Termination Of Employee For Facebook

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Social Networking

By Kenneth A. Skroumbelos, Esq. (email / link to bio)

On October 1, 2012, a decision issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is an agency of the United States Government charged with remedying unfair labor practices, upheld the termination of a BMW salesman for postings made to his Facebook page. In the case of Karl Knauz Motors, Inc., NLRB ALJ, No. 13-CA-46452, 9/28/11, administrative law judge Joel P. Biblowitz found that a BMW salesman engaged in unprotected activity when he posted disparaging comments and photographs regarding an accident which occurred at an employer owned neighboring Land Rover dealership on his Facebook page.

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Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

by Susan L. Swatski, Esquire (email / link to bio)

Many employers learned the hard way from the fury of Hurricane Irene in 2011 that hurricanes can present unique challenges for employers. Prudent employers should update your emergency plans to ensure not only the continuity of your operations and employee safety, but also potential legal issues that could arise as the result of a natural disaster. This blog entry is intended to acquaint you with at least some of the Federal and State employment-related laws that may be implicated. Note that the issues discussed below apply to any natural disaster situation, such as flood, fire, blizzard snowfall, earthquake etc.

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Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Restrictive Covenants

by Christina L. Saveriano, Esquire (email / link to bio)

In order for an employer to protect their confidential business information, including client contacts, it is often advisable for an employer to require employees to enter into an employment agreement containing a restrictive covenant. Such an agreement should be presented to the employee by the employer at the beginning of the employment relationship. However, in order for the restrictive covenant to be enforceable the employer must be certain that the terms of the restrictive covenant are reasonable. That is, the employment agreement must be specifically drafted to be reasonable in accordance with established New Jersey law.

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