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Washington Supreme Court Applies Public Records Act to Public Employees’ Private Cell Phones

On August 27, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously held in Nissen v. Pierce County that text messages sent or received by a public employee in his or her official capacity are public records within the meaning of the...more

Needed Now: Experienced and Talented Cybersecurity Professionals to Protect Government Data Systems

The announcement on June 4th of a massive cybersecurity attack that compromised data stored on Office of Personnel Management (OPM) systems for 4.2 million current and former federal employees is the most recent head-smacking...more

U.S. Office Of Personnel Management Confirms Cyber Theft From Its Systems Is Much Broader Than Initially Reported

During a June 23, 2015 Congressional hearing, officials from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (the “OPM”) testified that a recent breach of its data systems may have affected personal information (including social...more

An Unforgiving NLRB Holds That Protecting Patient Data Under HIPAA Can Still Violate Section 7 Rights

It would make sense that the systems housing patient records at a physician’s office should be protected by a robust duty on the part of the physician’s employees to keep such records confidential. The purpose, of course, is...more

Case Alert: Employee Fairly Dismissed for Contacting the Information Commissioner's Office Against Instructions

What happened? In Barton v Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (the "EAT") decided that an employee was fairly dismissed for misconduct after failing to adhere to his employer's instructions not to...more

Comingling of employee and patient data compromises employer’s HIPAA defense to employee’s claim of discharge for union activity

An administrative law judge (ALJ) of the National Labor Relations Board has concluded that a health care employer’s use of its medical records software to store employee contact information allowed an employee to access that...more

NLRB Continues to Scrutinize Employer Policies - NLRB General Counsel’s Guidance Memorandum and Recent Cases Highlight NLRA Issues

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the “Board”) continues to address the scope of permissible employer policies and workplace rules through guidance issued by its General Counsel and in Board decisions. In March...more

Executive Labor Summary - April/May 2015

NLRB “quickie election” rule takes effect - On April 6, President Obama vetoed a joint resolution of Congress that sought to block the “quickie election” rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board....more

NLRB to define an employer’s duty to a labor union following a data breach

In October 2014, the United States Postal Service (USPS) disclosed a cybersecurity data breach affecting approximately 800,000 current and former employees. The USPS later determined that, for some, the breach may have...more

Can You Lawfully Prohibit Secret Recordings in the Workplace?

It is a safe bet that most if not all of your employees own a mobile or smart phone. It is also a safe bet that those phones have the capability of capturing pictures, taking video and recording conversations. ...more

Alert: FCC Continues Aggressive Action on Data Breaches

As noted in previous alerts, the FCC has dramatically increased its enforcement of data security practices and breaches resulting from what the FCC considers to be inadequate security measures. ...more

Naming Names: Washington Supreme Court Holds That Public Employers Must Disclose the Names of Employees Being Investigated for...

On April 2, 2015, the Washington Supreme Court held that public employees under investigation for workplace misconduct cannot prevent their identities from being disclosed in response to a request for public records. The...more

Is Your Computer Use Policy Legal? NLRB Finds a Presumptive Right for Employees to Use Employer’s Email System for Protected...

Does your company give employees access to company email? Do you prohibit employees from using the company email for personal, non-company use? If so, your policy may violate federal law....more

Bill 3 Amendments to Alberta's Privacy Legislation Now in Force

Amendments to Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), originating in Bill 3, came into force on December 17, 2014. As discussed in our November 2014 Blakes Bulletin: Privacy Exceptions for Picketing: Alberta's...more

School Districts: A Teacher’s Right to Access Student Records in a Disciplinary Proceeding is Not Absolute (11/14)

As many school districts are aware, it is not uncommon for a district to receive a request to disclose allegedly relevant student records to a tenured teacher facing disciplinary charges in the context of an Education Law...more

NLRB Rules Tiffany & Co. Privacy Policy Violated the NLRA

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) took a jeweler’s loupe to high-end jewelry designer Tiffany and Company’s privacy policy (the “Policy”), and ruled that the Policy violated the National Labor Relations Act...more

Sex, Lies, and The FOIA: Wotjas v. Town of Stonington and The Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Complaints, Regardless of “Guilt.”

This author wrote previously on the status of sexual harassment investigations under the Freedom of Information Act [”FOIA”]. In a case that has grabbed some notoriety; the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has...more

The Public Records Act Brings Potential Body Worn Cameras Issues Into The Light

The City of Del Mar recently discontinued use of body-worn cameras following a California Public Records Act request that lead to the release of video taken by Park Ranger Adam Chase. The video, taken during a traffic stop of...more

PAC Holds that Public Bodies Must Release Employee Informal Investigative Reports

The Public Access Counselor (PAC) recently addressed the issue of whether informal employee investigative reports concerning the misconduct of a public employee are subject to disclosure under Section 7(1)(n) of the FOIA. In...more

Don’t Make Promises That You Cannot Keep: Greenwich Silver Shield Association v. Town of Greenwich, the FOIA and Discrimination...

Investigations in the public sector confront the competing demands of employee privacy rights and the public’s “right to know” under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Another decision by the Freedom of Information...more

Good Cop or Bad Cop: The Public’s Right to Know

As you may have learned through media reports or your favorite television cop show, allegations of misdeeds by police officers usually proceed through a police department’s “Internal Affairs” [“IA”] investigation process. ...more

The FOIA and the Great Beyond - Personnel File Exceptions Do Not Belong to the Deceased

In a recent case, the Superior Court reminded us all about the limitations that exist under the so-called “personnel files” exception to the disclosure of records under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). One...more

Recent Appellate Court Decision Reminder Of Student Records Protections In Adversarial Proceedings

In a recent decision, the Illinois Appellate Court held that it is not an unfair labor practice for a school district to refuse to release school student records to a union in a grievance proceeding without a court order or...more

New Jersey Becomes the Twelfth State to Enact Social Media Password Protection Legislation; Recent Amendment to Illinois’ Law...

On August 29, 2013, New Jersey became the twelfth state to enact social media password protection legislation, continuing the nationwide trend towards imposing some form of restriction on employer access to the restricted,...more

Labor & Employment E-Note - January 2013

In This Issue: - NLRB Protects Workers' Rights to Post About Job on Facebook - 6 States Ban Companies from Asking for Social Media Passwords - Health Law Requires Employers to Offer Family Care to All - Fiscal...more

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