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Political Speech and Activity in the Workplace: The 2014 Midterms are Here

Election season can be a heated time. In many contexts, this can mean arguments with friends, family, and acquaintances. It can also mean added tension and disagreement in the workplace. In some cases, employers may seek to minimize political discussions at work. In others, employers themselves may try to introduce politics into the workplace. Regardless of whether an employee may engage in political activity in the workplace, employees may have rights to conduct political activities outside of work, and to take time off from work, where needed, to vote in an election.

Faulty Background Checks Can Be Very Costly

Unfortunately, many employers conduct background checks on applicants and employees without crossing the Ts and dotting the Is. Recent lawsuits and settlements totaling millions of dollars highlight the risk for employers who ignore the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). It is mystifying how some employers seemingly are not aware of these 18?year?old requirements.

A Primer on Employer Obligations on Election Day

In anticipation of Election Day 2014 (Tuesday, November 4), employers should review their policies and practices to ensure workers are provided time off to vote as required by applicable law and all other obligations of the business are met.

A Primer on Voting Leave Requirements: Are You Ready for the Mid-Term Elections?

General elections are scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, 2014. This mid-term election will see all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate up for grabs. In addition, numerous states will hold elections for governors, state legislators, and will determine the winners in other state and local races. Given the low approval ratings of the president and Congress, there may be higher than usual voter participation in these elections. As a result, employers may be faced with more issues related to requests for voting leave than in prior years. The following overview of the voting leave laws across the country will arm employers with a basic knowledge of voting leave rights in the various states and help employers prepare for the upcoming onslaught of leave requests.

Seminal Decision Could Make it Harder for Publicly Traded Employers to Defeat Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Claims

Long awaited in Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) whistleblower circles, on October 9, 2014 the U. S. Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board (ARB) issued a split 2-1 panel decision in Fordham v. Fannie Mae, ARB No. 12-061, reversing in part and remanding an administrative law judge's post-hearing dismissal of a former employee's Section 806 whistleblower retaliation claim. The ARB's decision in Fordham is significant because it addresses squarely, and at length, how ALJs and OSHA investigators should apply the separate and two-stage burden of proof required under Section 806 whistleblower retaliation claims. The result of the ARB's Fordham decision likely will energize the plaintiffs' bar, and could make it more difficult for covered employers – and their contractors and subcontractors based on Lawson v. FMR LLC – to obtain dismissals of SOX Section 806 whistleblower retaliation claims, whether at the investigatory stage or following a full-blown evidentiary hearing before an ALJ. If the ARB's decision is appealed but withstands judicial review, Fordham v. Fannie Mae could lead to a sea change in publicly traded employers' and their contractors' and subcontractors' involvement in, and potential exposure to, SOX whistleblower claims.’s Sheila Lirio Marcelo: Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome

Appearances can be deceiving, said Sheila Lirio Marcelo.

The Diversity and Inclusion Punchline: How One Stand-up Comic Opened My Eyes to a Bigger Picture

The most mundane experiences can often leave a remarkable impact. My husband and I recently went out to see one of his new favorite comedians. We arrived at the outdoor music theater where thousands of people from various races, ages, genders, and cultures were in attendance. The comedian, who was white, took the stage and did something I was not expecting—he talked about diversity in a meaningful way.

Halloween in the workplace? Bah! Humbug!

When it comes to Halloween in the workplace, just call me Scrooge.

Six Myths about Data Privacy and Security that Professional Employer Organizations Should Skip

Data breaches and compliance failures threaten company reputation and put individuals’ personal identities, finances, and medical information in jeopardy. In the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) industry, where companies providing PEO or other human resource outsourcing services typically work with personal information of their employees as well as that of their customers’ employees, persistent myths can inhibit appropriate action. This article debunks some of those myths and encourages companies to take action.

The Value of Schmoozing in the Age of Social Media

Research by McKinsey and Company shows that more than half of all firms use some form of social media to enable employees to collaborate and exchange information.
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