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Author Archives: Jennifer McLaughlin

Password Protection for Employees

Along with the New Year comes new legislation. The prominent role of social media in our society has prompted some employers to require that employees and applicants provide user information and passwords to their social media accounts. However, the ability to make such demands will likely be limited in the future as states have begun […]

New Whistleblower Incentives under the Dodd-Frank Act

Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) has attempted to strengthen enforcement efforts by adding section 21F to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The new section is entitled “Securities Whistleblower Incentives and Protections.” In order to prevent the type of fraud that contributed to the financial crisis, the […]

Second Circuit Rules that Employer Cannot Raise Faragher/Ellerth Affirmative Defense for “Alter Ego” or “Proxy” Harassment

Townsend v. Benjamin Enterprises, Inc., No. 09-0197 (2d Cir. May 9, 2012). Attorneys who work in the employment and labor field are generally aware of the affirmative defense set forth by the Supreme Court’s decisions in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775(1998) and Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998), […]

Fourth Circuit Holds Employee Was Not Disabled Under ADA Because Able to Work 40 Hours Per Week

Boitnott v. Corning Incorporated, Case No. No. 10-1769 (4th Cir. February 10, 2012)  On February 10, 2012, the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals joined a majority of the other circuits who have ruled that an individual’s inability to work overtime hours is not a “substantial limitation” that would entitle him to the protections of the […]

Second Circuit Rules on Class Action Waivers for a Third Time

In Re American Express Merchants’ Litigation, No. 06-1871 (2d Cir. Feb. 1, 2012) In a case that has seen the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit three times and the Supreme Court once, the Second Circuit held that a class action waiver in an arbitration agreement “must be considered on its own merits, […]

Who Owns Social Media Accounts? It Depends.

PhoneDog v. Kravitz, 2011 WL 5415612 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2011). Social Media continues to be the topic of discussion lately in the labor and employment field.  On November 8, 2011, the Northern District of California joined the discussion in addressing, among multiple issues, who owns social media accounts – employees or their employers? In […]

Second Circuit Upholds Plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification in Minimum Wage and Overtime Case

Shahriar, et al., v. Smith & Wollensky, et al., No. 10-1884 (2nd Cir. Sept. 26, 2011). On September 26, 2011, in Shahriar, et al., v. Smith & Wollensky, et al., Case No. 10-1884 (2nd Cir. Sept. 26, 2011), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals joined the Seventh, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits in holding […]

Working for free? Sixth Circuit Says Courts Must Weigh All Factors to Determine “Employee” Status, Not Just Remuneration

Bryson v. Middlefield Volunteer Fire Dep’t, Inc, 2011 WL 3873789 (September 2, 2011) In today’s competitive job market people often find themselves working for free. Typically, they are interns, students, volunteers, etc. who either hope to build their resume, get experience, or just enjoy spending time doing that particular activity.  A problem, however, arises when […]

A Terminated Employee’s Failure To Seek Additional Education Is Not Required To Mitigate Damages Regardless Of What Your Expert May Say

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Dresser Rand Company, Case No. 04-CV-6300, W.D.N.Y  (August 10, 2011) Is an employee terminated for a discriminatory reason required to seek retraining or additional education in order to mitigate his damages?  The District Court of the Western District of New York in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Dresser Rand Company, Case […]

Court Awards Worker’s Compensation for Sitting at Desk Too Long

Renner v. AT&T, 2011 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1668 (App.Div. June 27, 2011). In James P. Renner vs. AT&T, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, upheld a worker’s compensation judge’s decision awarding benefits to a husband after his wife died from blood clots from sitting for long periods of time as part of her job. […]

Supreme Court Limits the First Amendment’s Petition Clause

Borough of Duryea, Pennsylvania, et al. v. Guarnieri, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4564 (U.S. June 20, 2011). In an opinion decided on June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that a government employer’s alleged retaliation against an employee does not create liability under the First Amendment’s petition clause, unless the employee’s petition is about a “matter […]