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Talking About What Matters to Employees

Don’t Be a Social Media Weiner

Anthony Weiner, the former Congressman and current candidate for New York Mayor, isn’t the first person to tweet his way out of a job.  For the last few years, stories have been circulating about lots of people who were marched off the job after exposing something through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the like.  Take the case of the admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania who was fired after her bosses discovered that she shared – and mocked – excerpts from student essays on her “private” Facebook page.  Some accounts of this phenomenon read like a “who’s who” of people terminated on account of social media blunders and gaffes. Now there are studies confirming the perils of posting on social media sites for job seekers.  According to a 2007 survey by a privacy think tank, 35% of managers use Google to do online background checks of potential employees, and 23% look people up on social media sites.  These social media background checks can have devastating results.  According to a study by On Device Research, 1 in 10 young job seekers believe they have lost a job opportunity due to their social media profiles. Plenty of employers also don’t take kindly to criticism.  Witness the school bus driver in metropolitan Atlanta who was terminated following a Facebook post in which he claimed that students in need were not being provided with free lunches.  Things turned out somewhat better for the three co-workers who were fired after a Facebook gripe session.  The National Labor Relations Board decided that the company was wrong to fire them because the three were doing more than talking trash about the company and the manager – they were working together to try to change their work environment.  That kind of “concerted activity” is protected under federal law. Employees should be careful about assuming that their on-line comments will be protected by law.  Ultimately, the question may have to be answered by a judge – and that only happens after you’ve been fired. So, the next time you thinking about posting a snarky comment about a colleague on your Facebook page, or sending a tweet about something stupid your manager just said in a meeting, stop and ask yourself, “is this something that I’d like my boss to read?”  If the answer is no, do yourself (and your career) a favor.  Back away from the keyboard and save your humor for another time – preferably in person with a living, breathing friend instead of the virtual friends whose...

Blog Authors Make Super Lawyers List Again

For the third consecutive year, all four partners of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP have been selected to the 2013 Super Lawyers list.  Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this recognition.  Among those honored, Jean Hyams was named one of The Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California for 2013. Although only five percent of attorneys around the state make it on to the Super Lawyers list, the honor has been bestowed multiple times on the LVBH partners.  This is the seventh year Sharon Vinick has been named to the Super Lawyers list, the third year for Darci Burrell, and the ninth year for Leslie Levy and Jean Hyams. Super Lawyers rates outstanding lawyers from multiple practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice...

Equal Pay Act Turns 50 – Still No Equality

“50 years after the Equal Pay Act, women still earn only 80 cents on the dollar.”  That’s the title (and the troubling truth) highlighted in Sharon Vinick’s post on the CELA VOICE, where Sharon serves as a contributing...

The Employee Matters is Recruiting You!

This blog is for anyone who believes that employees matter.  And those who believe that fair employment practices lead to better workplaces.  We know that description includes a lot of thoughtful, hard-working employees.  We hope it also includes a lot of human resources professionals, diversity consultants, career coaches, management consultants, and managers. The authors of this blog are employment rights attorneys who spend most of our time trying help people who have endured workplaces where something has gone terribly wrong.  Collectively, we have almost 100 years of experience in representing employees in workplace disputes.  In the course of our work, we have seen how decisions made by managers and employees have landed everyone involved in a lot of very hot water.  Like a gripping movie, the story behind every lawsuit is filled with turning points – moments when someone made a decision that changed the course of events.  Having narrated hundreds of these stories for juries, arbitrators, and judges, we would like to share the strategies and perspectives that could help you to make the best decision when there is a problem in the workplace, or, at the very least, to understand the implications of the decisions you make.  We won’t be offering legal advice, of course.  (That only comes with an attorney-client relationship.)  But we will certainly make practical suggestions based on our experience in litigating employment cases. It might surprise you to know that our fondest hope is to become unemployed someday.  While we like the work that we do, we dream of a day when workplace fairness, non-discrimination, and equal treatment are so deeply engrained in the American workplace that there is zero need for our services.  In the meantime, the goal of this blog is to put information in the hands of employees, as well as those who value and advise them.   We hope to demystify the laws surrounding the employee-employer relationship, suggest strategies for employees to advocate for themselves in the workplace, cover legislation and court decisions that will affect the workplace, and spotlight practices and situations that put employers and employees on the road toward litigation.  We hope you will join us on this journey. We are actively recruiting subscribers who believe in our credo — The Employee Matters.  All others need not apply....

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