Protected Activity

News & Analysis as of

Saying “You’re Fired” Could Bring Labor Pains 

An Ohio employer recently learned the hard way that employers need to be cautious when it comes to communicating with striking employees about permanent replacements. By mistakenly telling them that their employment had been...more

Does New Jersey's Conscientious "Everyone" Protection Act Trump the NLRB's Exclusive Jurisdiction? State Supreme Court says "Yes"...

Executive Summary: Just when employers thought New Jersey's Supreme Court could not expand the state's whistleblower law further (as we reported last summer), the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) once again has...more

Tenth Circuit Orders Truck Driver Who Abandoned Trailer on Interstate Highway to be Reinstated with Backpay

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Tenth Circuit held that a trucking company unlawfully retaliated against a truck driver after he abandoned a trailer on a public highway, finding that his actions constituted a protected refusal to...more

Federal ALJ Says Ban on Conducting Personal Business in Handbook Violated NLRA Rights

The National Labor Relations Board continues its assault against standard employment policies considered to interfere with employee rights. This time, a federal administrative law judge accepted the Board counsel’s argument...more

Calif. Supreme Court Resolves Conflict in Anti-SLAPP Procedure, Provides Guidance to Litigants

The California Supreme Court resolved a decade-long conflict among lower appellate courts in its watershed opinion Baral v. Schnitt, Case No. S225090, 2016 WL 4074081, *1 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Aug. 1, 2016). Now, courts must allow a...more

California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute Untangled

On August 1 the California Supreme Court finally resolved a split of authority among California’s appellate courts over operation of the anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, in the mixed cause of action...more

NLRB Tells Employers to Mind their Own Business

Seyfarth Synopsis: An Administrative Law Judge held that an employer’s policy of prohibiting employees from conducting personal business at work, along with its social media and solicitation/distribution policies, violated...more

Quirky Question #284: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, can you still unlawfully retaliate against it?

Question: One of our male supervisors wants to fire a female employee who complained that he was sexually harassing her. The harassment allegations appear to have some substance: he asked her for pictures of herself in a...more

NLRB Punishes Company for Asking Employees to Maintain Positive Work Environment

As attorneys we often advise clients to continually review and revise their employee handbooks. One of the reasons why is that what appears to be innocent language ends up costing employers money due to a capricious decision...more

Can Employers Discipline Employees for “Self-Help Discovery”? Massachusetts Decision Raises More Questions Than Answers

Employers know all too well that employees sometimes help themselves to documents the employer would like to keep confidential. This is precisely why many employers require employees to sign confidentiality agreements and...more

S.D.N.Y. Dismisses SOX and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims For Lack Of Protected Activity

On June 22, 2016, Judge Daniels of the Southern District of New York dismissed SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims, ruling that Plaintiff’s alleged internal complaints did not constitute protected activity, as they did...more

Massachusetts High Court Paves Way for Employees to Engage in ‘Self-Help’ Discovery

The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that, in certain instances, an employee can access and obtain an employer’s records in order to support a claim of employment discrimination. Verdrager v. Mintz Levin, No....more

Help Yourself: Mass. Court Approves Employee’s Self-Help Discovery in Discrimination Case

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney’s search for confidential firm documents in an effort to prove a discrimination claim against her employer may constitute protected activity. The Court, in Verdrager...more

Court-Sanctioned Employee Theft? Self-Help Discovery May Be Protected Activity In Discrimination Cases

Recently in Verdrager v. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., No. SJC-11901, 2015 WL 10937776 (Mass. May 31, 2016), the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held, as a matter of first impression, that...more

Appellate Court Rejects Defamation Lawsuit Targeting Statements Made In American Hustle

Plaintiff Paul Brodeur, a well-known author, filed suit in California state court against the producers and distributors of the motion picture American Hustle, asserting claims for defamation, slander, and false light. The...more

Easier Retaliation Claims on the Horizon? EEOC Proposes New Guidance

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is considering easing the burden a complaining employee faces to establish a claim for retaliation in proposed revisions to its Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation...more

Anti-Slapp Motions – Published Statements Regarding Matters Not a Issue of Public Interest

Yasser Abuemeira et al. v. John F. Stephens, et al. - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (April 27, 2016) - What is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”)? Simply put, a SLAPP is a...more

Employee’s Self-Help Discovery May Be Protected Activity Under Massachusetts Anti-Retaliation Law

On May 31, 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held in Verdrager v. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C. that an employee’s accessing, copying and forwarding of an employer’s confidential documents...more

Seventh Circuit Creates Circuit Split on Arbitration Agreements that Prohibit Class or Collective Wage and Hour Claims

Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago held in Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation that a mandatory agreement between the employer (Epic) and its employees requiring arbitration of wage and hour claims on an...more

Bring on the Chain Mail: NLRB Strikes Down Another Facially Neutral Email Use Policy

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge has struck down Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation’s policy that prohibited employees’ using the company email system to distribute “nonbusiness” information. Why, you ask?...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds Four-Year Front-Pay Award To Whistleblower

On May 20, 2016, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision of the ARB, finding that a former employee of Deltek, Inc. (Company) was retaliated against in violation of Section 806 of SOX and entitled to four years’ worth of...more

Another Day, Another Violation: Board Targets Hospital’s Work Rules Prohibiting Offensive Conduct

Seyfarth Synopsis: Board panel finds hospital’s work rule prohibiting employees from engaging in offensive conduct to be unlawful. In Valley Health System, LLC d/b/a Spring Valley Hosp. Med. Ctr., 363 NLRB No. 178 (May...more

How Gov't Contractors Can Avoid Pay Transparency Mishaps

The final rule implementing Executive Order 13665 (the Pay Transparency Act) went into effect on Jan. 11, 2016. The act prohibits employers from requiring their employees to keep their compensation confidential. Under the new...more

Maintaining Patient Privacy In The Digital Age

Those in the heavily regulated healthcare industry know that patient information is sacrosanct. And for good reason; improper handling can result in hefty fines or criminal prosecution under the Health Insurance Portability...more

Vote YES! for Compliance: An Election Law Refresher for California Employers

Seyfarth Synopsis: Under California law, employers have a part to play in protecting employee voting rights and other political activity. What follows is a short reminder of employer duties and obligations. With the...more

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