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Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Governor Paul LePage Signs Executive Order to Pay for Bills Passed in Second Regular Session of...more

Scalia’s Death Leaves High Court in Limbo on Three Key Consumer Class Actions

While the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia creates an immediate vacancy on the bench, it also likely will leave the high court’s docket in limbo on number of key consumer class actions awaiting the Court’s...more

Poetic Justice – 2015 Wrap Up (Part 1 of 2)

This is the time of year to anxiously look forward to all that is anticipated to come in 2016. But it is also the time to look back at all that has happened in 2015. Rather than simply give you links to all of my stimulating...more

Pennsylvania Court Rejects Request to Create Common Law Duty to Protect Sensitive Personal and Financial Information

A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed a class action arising out of the breach of confidential employee information, adding to a growing body of state courts that have found that negligence claims alleging failure to provide...more

Privacy and Other Issues Presented by Body Cameras

Body cameras are becoming part of the uniform for certain professionals including police officers and service personnel. These cameras are more than an extension of dashboard cameras for law enforcement; they are more...more

Middle District of Pennsylvania Dismisses Data Breach Class Actions for Lack of Standing

Yet another federal judge has concluded that an individual whose personal information was allegedly accessed during a data breach lacks standing to sue unless and until there has been a misuse of that personal information or...more

US District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Data Breach Class Action on Article III Standing

In Storm & Holt v. Paytime, Inc., 1:14-cv-01138-JEJ (MD Penn. Mar. 13, 2015), the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania addressed the Article III standing issue of when a cause of action may...more

January 2015 Immigration Alert

Happy New Year!!! All of us in the Immigration Law Group at Epstein Becker Green wish you the very best for a healthy and prosperous 2015. We hope that all your petitions and applications are approved and that...more

iSpy: Tracking Employees with GPS Technology on Mobile Devices

More than 90 percent of the 322 million cellular phones in use in the United States contain global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices that allow wireless carriers to obtain continuous, highly accurate information...more

Riley v. California Advances Individual Privacy Rights in this Digital Age

Employee privacy rights may have received a boost from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of this year’s term. In Riley v. California, the most recent in a series of criminal search and seizure cases involving technology, the...more

Five Lessons for Employers from California v. Riley

In the waning days of its current term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in California v. Riley that police officers generally violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches by conducting a...more

Supreme Court Prohibits Warrantless Mobile Phone Searches, Underscores Individual Right to Privacy

The Supreme Court of the United States released a unanimous decision last week barring law enforcement from searching the mobile phones of individuals placed under arrest without first obtaining a search warrant or the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Cell Phone Privacy Decision Deserves Employer Attention

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week in Riley v. California that police generally may not conduct a warrantless search of digital data stored on the cell phone of someone who has been arrested. The...more

U.S. Supreme Court Update - January 2014

Court Begins 2013-2014 Term - Upon starting its 2013-2014 term during the government's recent partial shut-down, the U.S. Supreme Court opened with a grant of certiorari in a case with state and local tax implications,...more

Health Reform + Related Health Policy News - July 2013

In This Issue: - Top News ..Obama Administration Delays Employer Mandate One Year ..House Energy and Commerce Committee Releases Draft Legislation for SGR Fix ..CMS Proposes Payment Changes for Medicare...more

Corporate Law Report: Managing Cyber Risks, BYOD, Obama's NLRB Crisis, Iran Sanctions, and More

Our latest Corporate Law Report looks at: - top ways to manage cyber risks in the workplace; - the growing trend of employees bringing their own electronic devices (BYOD) to work; - new reporting requirements as a result...more

Supreme Court of Canada Decision Demonstrates the Importance of Workplace Computer Policies

In R. v. Cole, 2012 SCC 53, the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it was unconstitutional for the police to search the workplace computer of a high school teacher without a warrant. The Supreme Court held that the school board - Cole’s employer - was not so constrained, as it had a statutory duty to maintain a safe school environment, and a reasonable power to seize and search the school-issued laptop based on a reasonable belief that the computer contained compromising photographs of a student.more

NLRB Is Finding Ways To Implement Its Employee Rights Notice Posting, In Spite Of Legal Challenges

On September 28, 2012, a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) affirmed the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who upheld a car dealership’s firing of a salesperson that was based on a Facebook posting. But it also found a way to include its Notice of Employee Rights poster in the resolution of the case. Karl Knauz Motors, Inc. Case 13-CA-036452 (Sept. 28, 2012).more

Supreme Court Rejects Agency Interpretation; Pharmaceutical Reps Exempt From Overtime

In Christopher et al. v. Smithkline Beecham Corp.,--- S.Ct. ----, 2012 WL 2196779, U.S., June 18, 2012 (NO. 11-20412, C.D.O.S, 6646, the Supreme Court rejected the Department of Labor's interpretation of its own regulations and instead concluded that pharmaceutical "detailers" are "outside salesmen" who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's ("FLSA") overtime wage requirements.more

eWorkplace Policies – Social-Media, Privacy & Internet-Security

Traditional concerns for employers have included: harassing or other discriminatory actions; other conduct leading to liability to third-parties; forbidden fraternizing; criminal activity; “frolic and detour” or other slacking; and protection of trade secrets. Over the past fifteen years, workplaces have become increasingly digitized, as a ramification of electronic information’s predominance in all aspects of modern life. In the era of data proliferation, employers have a heightened legitimate interest in protecting themselves. Given the mobility of electronic information, the stakes keep getting higher. Employees have access to, and are the gatekeepers of, trade secrets and other sensitive and confidential information. There are now many more ways that key information can be compromised, lost or stolen. The author typically parses the risks into three key categories, namely: 1) unintentional disclosures via loss, theft or hacking; 2) inadvertently harmful intentional disclosures; and 3) intentionally harmful intentional disclosures such as those on Wikileaks. Please see full publication below for more information.more

Regulate employee technology use without becoming a target

Throughout the digital workplace, email, social media and text message communications frequently yield the “smoking gun” evidence that results in employment claims against employers. Many employers seek to limit their exposure by adopting broadly written technology policies designed to keep employees from improperly using email and social media to make disparaging or discriminatory remarks. So, when an employee posts derogatory comments about the company and his boss on social media sites, prompting other employees to voice similar complaints, the company has the right to discipline the employees, right? Guess again! Contrary to popular belief, private sector employees do not have a constitutional right to “free speech” in the workplace. Many employees do, however, have the right under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of … mutual aid or protection.” While the NLRA does not protect actions taken solely on an employee’s own behalf, it does protect actions taken with or on behalf of at least one other employee, or on the authority of other employees, when those activities relate to the terms and conditions of their employment. Although some individuals are excluded from protection, including supervisors, managerial employees and independent contractors, most private sector employees are covered by the NLRA, even if they are not represented by a union. Please see full alert below for more information. more

Can You Go to Jail for Lying on Facebook?

During last week’s oral argument before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the case of U.S. v. Nosal, 642 F.3d 781 (9th Cir. 2011), reh’g en banc granted (Oct. 27, 2011), members of the Court, including most notably Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, spent a substantial amount of time questioning the government lawyer about whether a Facebook user could be criminally prosecuted (meaning the person would face serious jail time) under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) for lying about their personal information in signing up for a Facebook account. The full oral argument can be viewed at the following link: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view_video_subpage.php?pk_vid=0000006176more

Child Porn Found In the Workplace: Affirmative Duty to Report

Misbehaving by sending inappropriate text messages, or by striking up inappropriate internet relationships is not limited just to politicians. A hazard of our ever-present connection to the internet is the flood of information to our computers, not all of which we’ve invited or requested. Malware, mis-directed internet searches, and unauthorized users of computer equipment can put all computer users in the position of receiving, even unintentionally, offensive, obscene, even illegal material. Then there are always those who reach out purposefully to view such materials with intent. Employers, and IT companies who support business computer systems, are likely to find this sort of information in their possession or custody in the course of working on their own systems, or, if the company is in the IT industry, while working on customers’ computers. Businesses and IT companies may also find this material in a specific search of an employee’s computer based upon a report of misconduct. Two major questions facing business are (1) when can you legally search an employee’s computer? and (2) what do you do when you find child porn on the employee’s computer? Please see full article below for more information.more

Social Media Policies for Employers: A Few Notes on the NLRA

In a December 9 post on Erickson’s Social Networking Law Blog, Dickinson attorney Megan Erickson discussed recent action by the National Labor Relations Board, pointing out that employees’ Facebook posts or other online communications may be protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Many private employers do not realize Section 7 of the NLRA protects the rights of all employees, regardless of union status, to engage in protected “concerted activities,” such as discussing wages, work conditions, and other terms of employment. In a new related post, Erickson lists points employers should consider – in light of the NLRB’s recent action – when reviewing or updating social media policies.more

NLRA May Protect Your Employees' Facebook Rants (Regardless of Union Status!)

The National Labor Relations Board recently accused an employer of engaging in unfair labor practices when it fired an employee who complained about her supervisor on her personal Facebook page. Although this complaint has received extensive coverage already, Dickinson attorney Megan Erickson joins the discussion with a post on Erickson’s Social Networking Law Blog that makes it clear this NLRB complaint does not sound the death knell on employer social media policies or internet policies. more

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