bitsWith Twitter, I’ve been doing less “recap” posts of late. Why? For the simple reason that you can get all of the posts I’ve read of late on Twitter.

We didn’t have that when I started the blog nearly 8 years ago.

(Side note: It was eight years ago this week that I came up with the idea of doing a labor & employment blog after attending an ABA conference with Kevin O’Keefe in Montreal. Time flies.)

But from time to time, I still think its useful to recap some interesting developments in labor & employment law without a dedicated post. So, here are a few items I’ve read lately that you might find of interest.

  • With Bruce Jenner’s recent interview, the issue of transgender employees in the workplace is moving to the forefront again. This Employment Law360 story recaps the state of affairs.
  • Attorneys who represent empl0yees are looking for new ways to help prove emotional distress damages in discrimination cases.  As BeLabor the Point points out: “For example, doctors can now use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans to measure and visibly observe the effects of emotional distress on the brain.” This may represent a new area of the law in the upcoming years.
  • Many bloggers have been writing on code words for age discrimination that pop up from time to time in job advertisements.  Suzanne Lucas, of Inc., talks about one such example — the use of of the phrase “digital native”.
  • In past years, I’ve talked about how the legislature keeps considering a bill that would force Connecticut schools to teach labor history.  That bill is still alive this year.  And may be making more progress than people realize.

With Hanukkah tonight, and Thanksgiving tomorrow, (or “Thanksgivukkah” as some have called it humorously),  here are a few morsels of employment law information to get you started.

And finally, Robin Shea has a marvelous post about the 8 employment law things to be thankful for on “Thanksgivukkah”.  Don’t miss it.

Stay dry from the rain today, Connecticut. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and see you with new posts next week.

Busy week here.  So, it’s time to bring back a recurring post of “Quick Hits” of articles you may have missed along the way.  Here are some of my recent favorites:

If that’s not enough, I also recommend reading Jon Hyman’s blog each Friday where he recaps the very best (or worst) in employment law each week.

It’s been a crazy week here for reasons I hope to share in a future post.

But in the meantime, the world of employment law still continues. Here are some items worth reading that I had hoped to talk about further. This brief recap will have to do for now.

  • Want some tips on how to avoid liability for your holiday party? Washington Workplace Law has a post that’s a good place to start.
  • Workplace Privacy Counsel has a notable piece on the balance employers face in dealing with HIPAA and the ADA:  How much medical information is private? The Seventh Circuit recently rejected the EEOC’s view. 
  • The Second Circuit recently handed down a favorable decision for employers on non-compete agreements. The employee had tried to challenge it but the court rejected the argument that an employee’s loss of income represented “irreparable harm”.  Trading Secrets blog has the details here.
  • The SCOTUSBlog recapped the oral argument earlier this week in the U.S. Supreme Court about a case that could help define who a “supervisor” is for sex harassment case purposes.  A decision is expected early next year. 
  • The Workplace Class Action blog discussed whether an employer’s discovery request for Facebook postings of employees, who were part of a claim brought by the EEOC, was a proverbial “fishing expedition”.  A court rejected that argument. 

As the dog days of summer drag on, the news from the employment law arena slows to a trickle.  But here are a few recent stories that may be of interest to employers in Connecticut.

As another week passes by (seriously, where did January go already?), here are a few odds and ends that are worth a mention:

  • Earlier this month, new rules regarding limits on the use of mobile phones went into effet by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.   The rule covers “both, drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce, and also any drivers who operate a vehicle transporting a quantity of hazardous materials requiring placarding under 49 CFR Part 172 or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73.” Presumably, you should know if you’re covered but if you still have questions, here are the FAQ
  • The NLRB continues to issue memoranda addressing whether an employee’s use of social media is protected under federal labor laws.  Brian Hall, of the Employer Law Report, suggests that the NLRB “may be settling in on, dare I say, a more reasoned position when it comes to these kinds of cases.”   The takeaway? Not all employee conduct is going to qualify for protection but the rules are still being developed.
  • A while back, I noted about a little-known provision on the new health care law that mandated employers provide space in the workplace for mothers to lactate. Since that time, just 23 companies have been cited under the law, reports the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog
  • At the very end of last year, the Department of Labor released three new fact sheets offering further guidance to employers on the topic of retaliation under the FLSA and the FMLA.  Nothing altogether new, but useful nonetheless. 
  • And if you haven’t thought about wehther LinkedIn connections are trade secrets and who owns them, then this post by The Employer Handbook is worth a read too. 

Finally, if you’re looking for other law blogs to follow, you could do a lot worse than to check out this list by BlogRank of the top 50 blogs by various metrics. Yes, this blog is on there, but there are plenty of others worth exploring.

There are lots of items I had hoped to write about but, as many of you have observed, there’s only so much time in the week.  So, it’s time to bring back the recurring “Quick Hits” feature to highlight some tidbits worthy of your consideration:

The noise in the employment law arena has been loud lately. Kind of like that annoying Gary Glitter song that often gets played at sports games.

But the noise is hiding the fact that, in my view, the news in the employment law is relatively minor.  There are no significant legislative or regulatory developments to speak of, the U.S. Supreme Court is in its typical summer hiatus, and the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts have been fairly quiet.

What are we left with? Take a look below.

  • Last week, I noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had released a report on social media cases at the NLRB. Not to be outdone, the NLRB released its own report detailing much of the same thing.  Robin Shea, at the Employment & Labor Insider, has a good recap of the lessons learned from the report.
  • Bloomberg, L.P., won summary judgment last week on a very publicized, pattern & practice sex/pregnancy discrimination case brought by the EEOC.  As noted by the Workplace Prof Blog, “the EEOC had alleged that Bloomberg had a practice of discriminating against employees who took maternity leave by reducing their responsibilities and compensation, and by engaging in other actions that ostracized them or made it harder for them to succeed. Essentially, the court found that the EEOC had not presented enough evidence that discrimination against employees who went on maternity leave were systematically discriminated against.”
  • The various state unions last week approved of a deal that avoids significant layoffs and helps Connecticut balance the budget.  The deal took months to craft and, after an initial vote failed, some questioned whether the labor unions were even relevant anymore.  Over at CT News Junkie, Susan Bigelow notes that this wasn’t a win for labor unions and suggests that “[o]rganized labor and state government need to find a way forward that actually strengthens both, and labor must find a way to become relevant again.”
  • The Proactive Employer had news earlier this month of proposed new rules out of the OFCCP that creates a new compensation data tool. As Stephanie Thomas explains, employers need to get a better understanding of their data before sharing it with others.  “Examining compensation data with respect to gender or race/ethnicity discrimination is not an easy process. It requires a detailed understanding of how individuals within the organization are compensated and why similarly situated employees may be compensated differently.”
  • If attorneys fees in FMLA cases interest you (and really, who doesn’t love this issue?), then a recent Second Circuit case provides a good primer on how courts should analyze fees in cases where the plaintiff/employee wins only a small amount.  The Wait a Second blog has all the details.

All quite interesting, just not quite that newsy or noteworthy in my view.

So, rather than leave you with more “noise”, I leave you with Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days are Over” which seems a little more appropriate given the time of year we’re in.

As we wrap up a week with, go figure, more rain, we’re starting to get deep into the important part of the year: The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

The House that Ruth Built

In the meantime, here are a few odds and ends you might have missed or you might be interested in surrounding the world of employment law:

  • Giving employee’s time off as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA is not new.  But recently, the EEOC held a hearing on it and released a press release reminding employers about it.   If you need a reminder about it, Lili Palacios Baldwin of the BLEG Blog, has a good recap with some pointers for employers.
  • Law review articles are not for everyone, but I’m guessing that somewhere out there is a person who has always dreamed about getting something in print. If so, this bullet point is for you.  Jason Tenenbaum (who you can follow on Twitter) sent me this call for articles:

The Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal invites submissions for its Fall 2011 issue on all topics relating to labor and employment law. The issue is tentatively scheduled for publication in early December 2011. Additionally, we are specifically seeking articles on the topic of the intersection between labor and employment law and the financial sector for our symposium to be held in November 2011. While we prefer completed papers, authors interested in the symposium but whose articles are not yet ready for publication are encouraged to contact us as we are still seeking participants/contributors. We ask that all articles be submitted by August 15, 2011. Please submit your manuscripts (along with any appropriate supporting documents) or any questions to Ashley Behre, Managing Editor of Articles, at laboremploymentlaw@hofstra.edu. Thank you for your interest.

So with the Supreme Court’s decision last week, there’s lots of other items that have slipped under the radar. (It’s Daylight Savings Time this Saturday, for example, which means spring is right around the corner.) Here’s some of things you might have missed: