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Government Employee’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech Involving Their Employment Must Give Rise to a “Public Concern” in Order to be Protected

Posted on May 19, 2005 by

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” Inherent in the right of free speech is the right to criticize the government for the actions that effect its citizens. But what if you work for the government? Is public criticism of a […]

Seventh Circuit Finds Sexual Comments Are “Inappropriate” But Not “Harassment”

Posted on May 12, 2005 by

Rhonda Moser sued her employer for sexual harassment. In her claim, she alleged a male co-worker “harassed” her, and she cited several specific examples of his behavior. Specifically, she alleged that her co-worker: talked “down to her;” made reference to her “tits;” told other male co-workers to “watch out because Ms. Moser likes good-looking men;” […]

The U.S. Supreme Court Permits Claims Under Title IX for Retaliation Against Employee Based On Complaints of Sex Discrimination

Posted on April 4, 2005 by

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education that Title IX’s private right of action encompasses claims of retaliation against an individual that complained about sex discrimination. Roderick Jackson (“Jackson”), a teacher and girls basketball coach in the Birmingham, Alabama Public Schools, complained to his supervisors […]

U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Easier For Employees To Bring Age Discrimination Claims

Posted on April 1, 2005 by

Consider the following scenario: due to a recent decline in sales, your company is forced to layoff several of its employees. Two of the older employees affected by the layoff, John Jones and Jane Smith, threaten to sue your company for discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Both employees are […]

New Department of Labor Military Leave Posting Requirement

Posted on March 24, 2005 by

On March 10,2005 the Department of Labor issued a new regulation that requires employers to post a notice describing an employee’s rights, benefits and obligations under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act or “USERRA.” USSERRA is the federal law that provides employment and re-employment rights to employees who leave their jobs, voluntarily or […]

Employer Violates NLRA by Attempting to Defeat Union Election by Promise of Improved Benefits

Posted on March 24, 2005 by

In NLRB and Graphic Communication Union v. Curwood, Inc., the employer, Curwood, was alleged to have violated the NLRA when it attempted to counter a union campaign by promising improvements in its pension benefits to employees in the voting unit. As a result of the promised increased benefits, the Union lost their election. It then […]

Employer Must Give 60 Days Notice Where Layoff is Reasonably Foreseeable

Posted on March 24, 2005 by

The WARN Act requires that an employer give 60 days notice to employees before laying them off. An exception to this rule is where the business faces “unforeseen business circumstances.” A business circumstance may be reasonably unforeseeable if it was caused by some sudden, drastic, and unexpected action, or by conditions outside of the employer’s […]

Court of Appeals Provides Guidance on Protecting Company Trade Secret/Confidential Information

Posted on March 21, 2005 by

In Burbank Grease Services, LLC v. Larry Sokolowski, the Defendant, Larry Sokolowski, was a former sales executive of Plaintiff Burbank Grease Services, LLC. Burbank is in the business of collecting and processing used restaurant fry grease, trap grease, and industrial grease. Sokolowski quit his job and kept various pieces of customer information, including customer lists, […]

Poorly Drafted Nonsolicitation Agreement Ruled Unenforceable

Posted on March 21, 2005 by

A recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision involved the interpretation of a nonsolicitation clause contained in an employment agreement between an employer and four former employees. In The Hayes Benefit Group of Wisconsin, LLC v. Palmer and Cay of Wisconsin, the District Court held that the nonsolicitation language contained in the agreement was overly broad […]

Arbitrators May Have Ability to Award Punitive Damages Unless Limited by Arbitration Agreement

Posted on March 21, 2005 by

In Winkelman v. Kraft Foods, Inc., John Winkelman sued to terminate a contract he signed with the Defendant Kraft Foods, Inc. As a condition of entering the contract, a representative from Kraft indicated to Winkelman if milk prices fluctuated, Winkelman would be able terminate the contract by giving Kraft a one-month notice. The contract between […]