Employment Law Commentary - November 2010

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In This Issue:

Influenza and Pandemic Preparation: A Legal Perspective

By Miriam Wugmeister and Shai Kalansky

As we approach influenza season, it is a good time for organizations to review the state of their preparation relating to pandemics and other significant outbreaks of disease. Last flu season saw the rapid spread of the pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 (together with all related sub-strains, “H1N1”) across the globe following its initial discovery in Mexico. The Brookings Institute noted that influenza could disrupt markets as a result of “a loss of confidence and a change in spending patterns driven by fear.” Given influenza’s potential to halt commerce as in, for example, Mexico City’s mandated shut down in April 2009, and given prior outbreaks of SARs and other pandemics, companies should plan ahead for the effects of possible pandemic. Early preparation can prevent hasty and ill-advised last-minute action which could result in liability.....

Protected Employee Speech and Social Media: Old Wine in a New Bottle

By Timothy Ryan1

A recent complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) is a reminder to employers that federal labor law policy, created in the first half of the 20th century, still has relevance in the first half of the 21st century.

The NLRB is the agency which administers federal law dealing with the rights of employees, employers, and unions. In a complaint filed in Connecticut, the Board charged that an employer illegally terminated an employee for making derogatory remarks about her supervisor on her Facebook page. The Board also alleged that the company’s Social Media Policy is “overly broad” and violates federal labor law.....

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