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© 2014 Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Showing 16 posts from July 2012.

A Pregnancy Discrimination Pause

A Pregnancy Discrimination PauseMarissa Mayer is big news these days.  She’s the new Yahoo! CEO, at only 37 years old.  She’s also expecting her first child, and made waves when she told Fortune Magazine that her maternity leave would be a “few weeks long” and she’d “work through it.” 

All of the hullaballoo over Mayer’s career and personal life made the Suits by Suits team curious.  What if Mayer suffered repercussions at Yahoo! due to her pregnancy or upcoming childbirth?  How would she be able to prove that Yahoo! discriminated against her? Read More ›

The Inbox

The Inbox

  • Bill Singer, writing in Forbes, discusses one potential consequence for financial industry employees who arbitrate employment disputes with former employers: future employers can see them as willing to fight these disputes and this negative branding can harm chances of employment.
  • Evan J. Shenkman, in a piece posted on Lexology, discusses an interesting New Jersey case involving an alcoholic nurse who also had anxiety problems: when she was terminated for not showing up to work, the employer suggested she was being fired for both alcoholism and lack of attendance – and that, therefore, a jury could have concluded she was wrongfully terminated for her alcoholism (attendance is generally a valid reason for termination, the court held).
  • This article doesn’t deal with United States law (our usual focus here on Suits by Suits), but in a ‎tip of our beret to our friends in Britain hosting the Olympics, here’s an article that those with an ‎interest in UK employment law might like: Charlotte Lloyd-Jones discusses a recent case there ‎where employees were fired for “gross misconduct on the basis that they were preparing to ‎compete with their employer,” as a breach of an employment contract. The appellate tribunal ‎held that just because the employees might compete in the future didn’t supply a basis for firing ‎them in the present. It also held that the employees have to drive on the left.‎
  • And, from the nightmares of the near future department: should employees post on Facebook ‎while they’re in termination meetings with their employers? And if they do, what should ‎employers do about it? It’s already happened, in a case involving an American Airlines ‎employee. Daniel Schwarz has some interesting commentary on this issue here. Welcome to the ‎future!‎

Religious Institutions + Federal Law + Federal Funds For Social Programs + Disabled Job Applicant = Litigation

Here’s another post in our occasional series on religious discrimination in the workplace.  Today, we’re looking at a decision by the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that brings together three different concepts: religious organizations as employers, disabled persons as employees, and federal laws that apply to hiring.  As when you mix any three ingredients that are fine on their own, the results can be disastrous.  Throw in legislative history – the record Congress creates when it writes a law, and which some courts look to for guidance on how to interpret that law – and you have one fine mess.  Read More ›

Don't sign that non-compete! Oh wait, you already did?

For your reading list:  The best advice for employees who don’t want to get caught in a non-compete agreement with a former employer, writes Elizabeth Ditts of Corporate Counsel magazine, is to avoid signing them in the first place.  But that’s usually easier said than  done, and Ditts’ article thoughtfully points out things an employee and her prospective new employer need to think about when the employee has a non-compete with the old employer.  Her key conclusion, and it’s probably easier than litigating out of the contract: the employee and the old employer negotiate a way out of the deal, with the new employer watching carefully. 

No Arbitration For Kleiner Perkins, But Plenty Of Public Scrutiny And Some Leonard Cohen

We’ve written before about the sexual harassment suit between the Kleiner Perkins venture capital firm and its former partner, Ellen Pao.  Developments at the end of last week point out another reason to follow this case, however (and the great Leonard Cohen is only part of the story).  Read More ›

The Inbox

This week in suits by suits and other related items of interest:

Employers and Social Media: Is It More Like Sexual Harassment Than You Think?

Employers and Social MediaWe have previously discussed the perils of social media in the workplace, including the much-publicized case in which women’s clothing retailer Francesca’s fired its CEO for disclosing insider information over Twitter.  (The gem was his tweet of “Board meeting.  Good numbers = Happy Board” several hours before the actual board meeting itself at which the numbers were disclosed.”)

We’ve also discussed some of the problems of unauthorized disclosure from the perspective of the employee, which is of course exacerbated by near-ubiquitous social media technology at work that makes it trivially easy for anyone to fire off an email, a Tweet, or a post on Facebook without considering whether that disclosure might violate the employee’s legal obligations. Read More ›

The Inbox

  • A former D.C. teacher’s lawsuit alleging that he was fired in retaliation for reporting to the then-D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee that his principal instructed him and other teachers to alter students’ scores on standardized tests has survived a motion to dismiss in federal court. 
  • After a San Francisco judge already rejected its argument, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has filed additional pleadings in the sexual harassment case brought against it by its partner Ellen Pao contending that her claims should be arbitrated because she signed agreements with investment funds raised by Kleiner Perkins (although not Kleiner Perkins itself) agreeing to arbitrate these kinds of disputes.
  • JP Morgan reports that it has clawed back about two years of annual compensation from the three London-based traders it says are responsible for the trading losses reported by the company in May.  The traders are fighting back.  

Arbitration By Estoppel: Can You Be Compelled to Arbitrate Even Though You Never Signed An Agreement?

Continuing our coverage of the sexual discrimination lawsuit between former partner Ellen Pao and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins (prior stories are here and here), on Friday, Kleiner Perkins moved the San Francisco Superior Court to compel arbitration of its dispute for a second time -- this time with a twist. Read More ›

Wrongful Termination Basics – Part 2

Wrongful Termination Part 2On Monday, I reviewed the basic contours of a wrongful termination claim.  I pointed out that, under state common law, you may have a wrongful termination claim against an employer if you were fired in violation of public policy, but that states vary on what public policy means in this context.   Read More ›