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Keeping Secrets on Social Media: Part II

Employees telling secrets online was the subject of yesterday's post, Keeping Secrets on Social Media. Today's post--a continuation of the theme from yesterday--is about "auto-expire" apps.

When Misconduct at Home Turns Into Discipline at Work

Domestic violence is wrong.

CGL Policy’s Employment-Related Practices Exclusion Is Unambiguous and Precludes Coverage for Alleged False Imprisonment of Employees

The California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, recently affirmed an order granting an insurer’s demurrer without leave to amend. The court agreed that an employment-related practices (ERP) exclusion in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy issued to an insured employer barred coverage for employees’ claims that a supervisor falsely imprisoned them in a workplace bathroom for invasive inspection purposes under threat of termination.

Keeping Secrets on Social Media

The title of this post is a bit laughable, isn’t it? I mean, really, it’s almost an oxymoron. Keeping secrets on social media? What’s the point? The very existence of social media is dependent upon sharing—not secret-keeping. But the two are intersecting more and more. Which is why I am writing a short series of posts about the topic. Beginning today with a post about “anonymous” apps.

Employment law quiz: You be the judge!

You be the judge of these real-life employment disputes! (I’ve changed the names to make it harder for you to Google the answers right away, but the answers with links are at the end of the post.)

Ninth Circuit Ruling on Misclassification of Independent Contractors Has Major Ramifications for Employers

In Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16585 (9th Cir. Aug. 27, 2014), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that former Federal Express drivers were employees rather than independent contractors pursuant to California’s right-to-control test. This important decision is likely to reach across all industries and will cause regulators and attorneys to closely examine independent contractor agreements to determine if the employer retains sufficient direction and control over the manner or means by which the work is to be performed. This case teaches that no matter how workers are labeled by the employer, the substance of the work relationship is what controls the classification status.

National Mediation Board Rejects Jurisdiction Over Airline Service Provider

On September 11, 2014, the National Mediation Board (NMB), in a split decision, refused to exercise jurisdiction over an airline service provider performing cabin cleaning services for American Airlines at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The decision in Airway Cleaners, LLC, 41 NMB 262 (2014), which was issued over the dissent of Republican Board Member Nicholas Geale, continues the Board’s recent trend away from its past practice of exercising jurisdiction over most airline service providers and potentially opens the door to increased unionization of airline service providers on a location-by-location basis.

Ninth Circuit Case Portends Implications for Alien Tort Claims Act Liability Throughout Corporate Supply Chains

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum1 upholding the dismissal of an Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) suit, left a great deal unanswered. The Kiobel decision did, however, limit the potential for future ATCA claims by applying a strong presumption against that statute's extraterritorial application. There have since been some mixed appellate court decisions regarding the statute's extraterritorial application,2 but a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit may reflect a greater willingness by certain federal courts to accept ATCA suits against corporate defendants. In Doe v. Nestle USA, Inc. et al., the appellate court reversed the trial court's decision to grant the corporate defendants' motions to dismiss the plaintiffs' ATCA claims, gave the plaintiffs the opportunity to re-plead their complaint in light of the presumption against the ATCA's overseas application, and rather broadly construed still unresolved issues of corporate and "aiding and abetting" liability.


It is said that employees are an employer’s most valuable asset. Unlike most assets, however, employees can pick up and leave when “opportunity knocks.” Employee turnover not only causes higher payroll and recruiting costs, but also risk disclosure of trade secrets and other confidential, intellectual property. One solution? Employers have entered into “no-switching” agreements, under which they agree not to recruit each other’s employees. In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation illustrates why these agreements are a bad idea. Employers seeking to avoid a talent drain and significant financial liability must look elsewhere for an effective solution.

Airline Industry Legal Alert: Ninth Circuit Hears Argument on Strike Injunction Against Non-Union Employees

Yesterday, Douglas Hall, a partner in the Airline Group of FordHarrison, appeared before an en banc panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to defend an injunction obtained on behalf of Aircraft Service International, Inc. against a strike threatened by some of its non-union employees at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The employees threatened to strike if the company did not immediately revoke the investigatory suspension of an ASIG employee and address alleged safety concerns. The strike was enjoined on the grounds that it would violate the RLA; that was affirmed by a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. The defendants petitioned for rehearing en banc, arguing that the RLA's dispute resolution procedures did not apply to non-union employees, and thus the Norris-LaGuardia Act prohibited the injunction.
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