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If you own, license, maintain, store or process the “personal information” of a Massachusetts resident – including that of your own employees – time is getting short for compliance with the Massachusetts data security regulations.  Our colleagues in our Privacy and Security group have published a Privacy and Security Alert regarding the upcoming March 1 deadline.
According to an article posted on the DC Crawler website, the “Obama administration is considering a proposal that would heavily favor government contractors that implement policies designed by organized labor.”
Here's a link to a short article I wrote for Employment Law 360 discussing the success FedEx has had in establishing that drivers for its FedEx Home subsidiary are independent contractors, not employees, including the D.C. Circuit's favorable decision which focused on the fact that the drivers have an "entrepreneurial interest" in their routes

Increased Federal Enforcement of Employment Laws is On the Way

February 1, 2010 | Blog | By David Barmak

Anyone still listening at the end of President Obama’s first State of the Union Address heard him say the following: “We're going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. " He was serious, and the "crack down," likely won't be limited to equal pay law violations.
On Monday, December 14, 2009, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments in USA Mobility Wireless Inc. v. Quon, a case that may have a significant impact on employers’ rights to monitor employees’ electronic communications. The important facts of Quon may be summarized as follows:
Most employers are familiar with federal and state laws requiring them to reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee with a disability, unless the accommodation would result in an undue hardship.
In an interesting case out of New York, the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's refusal to enjoin an executive from working for his ex-employer's competitor where he had signed the contract in the wrong place an indicated an intention not to be bound by the Agreement. See Mintz Levin's Alert on the subject for more information on this case.
Amendments to New York Labor Law §195 obligate New York employers to notify new employees, in writing and at the time of hire, about certain terms and conditions of employment. Amended §195 also requires employers to obtain from each new employee a written acknowledgment confirming that he or she received the specified information.

What's up with the Employee Free Choice Act?

November 4, 2009 | Blog | By David Barmak

What's up with the Employee Free Choice Act?  The short answer is… not much. Most recently, in September, Sen. Arlen Specter described his work on a revised version of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
Workplace Prof blog posted an interesting commentary on a recent California case, Nazir v. United Airlines, Inc., No. A121651 (Cal. App. Ct. October 8, 2009), in which the appellate court overturned the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment to the employer in a routine employment discrimination case.
A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit illustrates how the Supreme Court’s opinion in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. serves to prevent previously-viable claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the “ADEA”) from reaching trial.
This alert talks about a recent decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which awarded Astra Zeneca about $7 million in salary and bonuses paid to its former CEO. The CEO had engaged in a long standing pattern of harassing female employees.

Personnel Polices and Social Networking Sites

October 6, 2009 | Blog | By David Barmak

See this recent Mintz Levin client Alert urging employers to consider the adoption of a policy addressing employees' use of social networking sites such as Facebook.

Is Congress About to Reverse Another Supreme Court Decision?

October 1, 2009 | Blog | By David Barmak

Both before and after the November 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections, legal pundits issued dire warnings that an Obama Presidency and a filibuster-proof Democratic Congress would result in a flurry of new, employee-friendly legislation.
In a surprising number of cases, we’ve come across a situation where an employment agreement with original signatures, or some other important document, has gone missing. While a copy will sometimes suffice, a recent New York case highlights the importance of having an effective system for maintaining critical employment-related documents.

Labor Secretary Solis: DOL is Back in the Enforcement Business

September 21, 2009 | Blog | By David Barmak

From the time she was confirmed as Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis has stressed that the Department of Labor (“DOL”) will reverse the trend set by the previous administration and focus on enforcing workplace laws and regulations.
The Ninth Circuit’s opinion in LVRC Holdings LLC, v. Brekka et al. calls into question the utility of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for employers seeking to redress employee theft or misuse of company information.
The recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Halpert v. Manhattan Apartments, Inc. illustrates yet another risk for employers who engage independent contractors to work for them and provides a reminder that an employer may be liable for the discriminatory conduct of independent contractors.
The H1N1 Flu or Swine Flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza. While its symptoms are similar to symptoms of the seasonal flu (fever, cough, body aches, chills, fatigue, etc.), H1N1 flu is more problematic than seasonal flu because people have not developed natural antibodies to H1N1 and vaccines are not readily available.
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