Exercise Aniston-esque restraint when analyzing offensive employee posts

February 22, 2016 - by: Ed Carlstedt 0 COMMENTS
Ed Carlstedt

by Ed Carlstedt

This week’s employment law lesson comes to us from the movie Horrible Bosses. In the movie, Julia (played by Jennifer Aniston) is a dentist who employs dental assistant Dale (played by Charlie Day). After Julia uses her boss status to torture and torment Dale for most of the movie, Dale finally records her improprieties and delivers to her the following long-overdue payback speech:

This is what’s gonna happen. I’m going to take a two-week-long, very expensive holiday with my fiancée. Let’s call it a honeymoon. And YOU’RE going to pay for it! Then I’m going to return to a nice, rape-free workplace from now on. Because if you so much as LOOK at my sexy little a**, Julia, I will have yours locked the f*** up you CRAZY B**** WH***! Man, that felt GOOD!

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Beyonce: I just might be the next Bill Gates in the making

February 08, 2016 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Who wants to be the next Bill Gates in the making? The answer may surprise you. Beyoncé (or “Queen Bey”), a music scene A-lister and the woman who “runs the world” (if you ask her legions of devoted fans, known as the “BeyHive”), gives the world’s richest man a major shout-out in her new single, “Formation.” If you have not seen the video on YouTube or streamed the track on Tidal, Beyoncé gave us all a taste of it in Sunday night’s Super Bowl halftime show with Coldplay and Bruno Mars. In her new single, she sings, “You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making/I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making.” Gates may appreciate the positive press, especially after some recent criticism about his early managerial methods, such as his penchant for profanity and prowling the parking lot on weekends to document who had arrived at work. leadership

Gates, who has seemingly mellowed considerably over the years, has been pretty open about his early methods, disclosing in a recent radio interview for BBC’s “Desert Island Discs” that he did not really believe in vacations and he memorized everyone’s license plates to see when people came into work. However, Gates stated, “I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard [others] worked . . . . Eventually I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size.” Others have come forward over the years with stories about Gates’ allegedly harsh leadership style earlier in his career.

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Age, sex, and sports media

December 21, 2015 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Sports reporter Colleen Dominguez is 54 years old and has enjoyed a successful career in sports journalism including a lengthy stint at ESPN. Dominguez recently jumped to Fox Sports 1 and believes her age and gender are the only plausible reasons that FS1 has cut her broadcasting assignments and diminished her career. These are her allegations in a lawsuit filed recently in a California federal court. The complaint tells the story of a veteran, experienced reporter who has paid her dues but is being pushed aside by the men and the new pretty girl on the block. Can a media company make decisions based on the age and gender of its on-air talent?a young woman journalist with a microphone and a cameraman

This is not the first time this has come up in the TV and entertainment industry. In 1993 a Minnesota jury awarded 53-year-old sportscaster Tom Ryther $1.2 million in an age discrimination case. Ryther, a longtime fixture on TV news, was not renewed after his network commissioned a poll that showed he wasn’t having a “positive” effect on viewership. According to Ryther, at the time of his termination, the station manager asked him how it felt to be a failure at age 53.  No doubt that played well with the jury.

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Go Scrooge yourself: 5 biz holiday party tips

December 07, 2015 - by: Ed Carlstedt 0 COMMENTS
Ed Carlstedt

‘Tis the season for your company’s annual holiday party. And while the notion of drinking, eating and generally enjoying merriment with your coworkers, subordinates, and superiors may seem innocuous, it is anything but. What seems like a festive occasion during the most wonderful time of the year is, if sledded incorrectly, a mine field of potential employment law mishaps. And while I don’t mean to be a Scrooge, this week’s lesson comes from a scene in one of my favorite holiday classics, the movie Scrooged with Bill Murray. What can we learn from this seasonal, cinematic favorite? Well, you can learn that, for purposes of the company holiday party, you should consider “Scrooge-ing” yourself. office holiday party

In the movie, Bill Murray’s character, Frank Cross (the modern day Scrooge), is visited by three ghosts, several of whom transport him back in time to certain life events that froze his heart and led to his hatred for Christmas. During one of his time-traveling trips, Frank visits his office during a wild late-1960s holiday party. People are seen drinking heavily, dancing, flirting with coworkers, and dressing inappropriately, and one woman, Tina (who is wearing a rather skimpy Santa’s helper outfit) is even handing out photocopies of her derriere.

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3 tips on firing employees—Les Miles/Mark Richt “silly season” edition

December 01, 2015 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

With the college football regular season coming to a close, you may have noticed that a different kind of season has begun, a time referred to by authors and sports bloggers alike as “silly season.” The fun (and farce) is typically kicked off by the mid- to late-season rumors that a formerly promising coach of a prominent program will be shown the door as soon as the clock hits zero at the last game. Many times their replacementthe one who will certainly be able to finally take us all the way!is an unproven coordinator from a rival school, an up-and-coming head coach from a lesser conference or division, or even more hilariously, a head coach recently given the boot by another program. Laid off-Head in hand

This year, the biggest rumors surrounded LSU head coach Les Miles, a man with a career winning percentage above 75% at LSU, a national championship, an SEC championship, multiple SEC West division championships, and seven seasons with 10 wins or more. And let’s not forget Les also had a buyout provision in his contract worth a reported $15 million, which allegedly was “not an issue” for the LSU booster club, despite the fact that the university itself is on the verge of bankruptcy. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed after the Tigers took down Texas A&M in Baton Rouge 19-7.

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Tricks and treats and trial briefs

October 26, 2015 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Remember NBC’s The Office? I think some lawyers used to blog about it. Anyhow, one of my favorite episodes was “Costume Contest” where the Scranton employees threw a Halloween party at the branch office. The costumes in the episode were mostly tame, ranging from Justin Bieber (Ryan) to Lady Gaga (Gabe). Late in the episode Angela dressed up as “sexy nurse.” The employment lawyer in me was not amused.  Devils Not in Disguise

Halloween is a few days away, and many employers will be holding costume-themed events. Unless HR steps in with some firm rules about costumes and conduct, some of those parties will invariably end up as reported Title VII cases. Consider just a few examples: read more…

The Cardinal Way

September 29, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 2 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

I’m a St. Louis Cardinal lifer so, for most Major League baseball fans out there, you probably assume I’m insufferable. (You may be right.) Still, don’t look for me to apologize that we’re in first place, have been for pretty much the entire season, and boast the best record in baseball. The postseason is upon us and, if all goes well tonight against Pittsburgh, we will wrap up another NL Central Division title and head into the postseason looking for yet another World Series championship. Yes, life is good.  Where the Cardinals play

One of the reasons so many fans find us insufferable is our talk of the “Cardinal Way.” Most people draw this link back to Branch Rickey, the pioneering baseball executive who first developed the Cardinals’ farm system before he went on to engineer Jackie Robinson’s entry into the Majors, thereby breaking down baseball’s color barrier.

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Game of Thrones: Trial by combat

August 17, 2015 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 4 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Winter is coming, but not soon enough for those of us eager for Season 6 of Game of Thrones.  While we wait, I’d like to rewind to one of my favorite episodes from Season 4 involving Tyrion’s trial for the murder of his nephew. As you may recall, Tyrion’s long-time rivalry with his sister, Cersei, comes to a head when she falsely accuses him of murdering her son. Watching the ensuing trial should make us all thankful that Trial by combatwe do not live in Westeros. Tyrion stands alone, with no legal counsel, facing a panel of judges who can hardly be considered fair or unbiased. Indeed, Tyrion’s father seems the most eager to see him dead. After enduring one misleading and/or outright lying witness after another, without the opportunities for cross-examination or to present any evidence whatsoever, Tyrion realizes he will get no justice in that trial. His solution: Demand trial by combat.

Thankfully, our own court system is much more concerned about such things as fairness and justice, so employers aren’t forced to resort to trial by combat in employment litigation. For example, our system permits the parties the opportunities for cross examination and to present written documentation and other admissible evidence at trial. In addition, there are rules of evidence to determine what is or is not admissible and to weed out unreliable evidence such as hearsay.

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Deflategate: Tom Brady’s fumble provides valuable lesson about spoliation of evidence

August 03, 2015 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, but he fumbled big time when he ordered the destruction of his cell phone before he was to be questioned about his involvement in the deflation of footballs during last season’s AFC championship game. Importantly, prior to the phone’s destruction, NFL investigators had asked Brady for text messages and other electronic information stored on his phone. Although he continues to deny any wrongdoing, the NFL upheld his four-game suspension, concluding that his destruction of the cell phone proved he wanted to hide incriminating evidence of his involvement in the scandal.  Spoilation of Evidence tsk tsk Tom Brady

Destruction of evidenceoften referred to as “spoliation of evidence”refers to the destruction of documents, information, or other tangible items that are potentially relevant to a claim before the other side has had an opportunity to review the evidence. Spoliation of evidence can have dire consequences for offenders. As a result, employers should know the when, what, why, and how of preserving evidence to avoid liability and ensure a fair playing field.

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Avoiding the “own goal” at work: 3 lessons from Women’s World Cup

July 06, 2015 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

On Sunday, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) soundly defeated Japan to claim the nation’s third World Cup championship. With this year’s Women’s World Cup breaking TV ratings expectations at every turn, it’s likely you or someone you know was glued to the tube as this spectacular victory unfolded. I know I was. And as I watched “el jogo bonito,” I was reminded of three simple lessons that translate well from the pitch to the office. Soccer World Cup

#1: Deal with the draw

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