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Articles Tagged with Employment And Labor Defense

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In the United States, federal and state employment and labor laws continue to evolve on regular basis.  As a valuable resource to his clients, our office is providing the following summary of the most recent amendments affecting Florida employers on both a federal and state level.

Federal Amendments

  • Recently, the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, issued a new rule requiring all employers that are subject to its jurisdiction to provide written and electronic notice to employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.  However, a federal circuit court has temporarily suspended the new requirements until all outstanding issues have been resolved.  There has been no deadline posted for when the new NLRB’s notice requirements will go into effect. For more information, go to
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Not surprisingly, employers in Florida and across the United States admit to reviewing the social networking profiles of prospective and current employees. Despite the laundry list of potential ethical and legal implications raised by opponents, it has become a common practice in corporate America.  However, several situations making headlines in this regard relate to employers who have surpassed ethical guidelines by actually requesting the Facebook passwords of employees and job applicants.  Not only does this violate federal and state privacy and employment laws, it has influenced some states to completely ban the practice altogether.

Many people who criticize employers for requesting Facebook and other social media website passwords claim that this practice is no less egregious than asking for the keys to your home or car in order to go through your personal belongings.   In response, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicated that it is a federal crime to enter social media networking sites in violations of their terms.  Yet, the DOJ maintains that it is not a violation of federal law if current or prospective employees willingly disclose their social media site passwords. Notwithstanding,  privacy advocates maintain that the practice transcends moral and ethical bounds because many job applicants who are desperate for employment may feel that they have no choice but to provide employers with their passwords.

At this time, the State of Florida has not directly spoken to the issue at hand however, other states such as Maryland and Illinois are moving towards banning this form of employee screening.  Regardless, it is highly recommended that Florida employers take precautions when asking for potentially sensitive information from current and prospective employees.  It is also suggested that employers refrain from requesting website passwords until the legislature and court systems have clarified their stance on the issue.

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DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. v. Waxman

Under common law, non-compete clauses and agreements were generally rendered void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy and as unlawful restraints on trade.  However, over the past several decades, the Florida Legislature has begun to loosen the reins on employers in allowing non-compete agreements to stand.  Although earlier state laws greatly restricted the use of non-compete agreements, Section 542.335 of the Florida Statutes was drafted with a specific legislative purpose in mind. It allows employers to use non-compete clauses to prevent employees from the following:

  • Obtaining sensitive trade and business secrets
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Pregnancy discrimination law has become an ever-expanding area of practice for labor and employment attorneys across the U.S.  Alarmingly, between 1992 and 2003, pregnancy discrimination claims increased by nearly 40%.  This is mainly because many employers are unfamiliar with the myriad of anti-pregnancy discrimination and leave laws that protect women under many state and federal statutes.  In other words, lack of knowledge has led to an increasing amount of litigation by women who are terminated or refused leave after informing their employer they are pregnant.  Employers often have legitimate reasons to terminate a woman who happens to be pregnant, yet this does not prevent employees from falsely alleging discrimination.

Overall, there are several laws that relate to pregnancy discrimination and leave rights. These include the following:

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Under Florida law, if an employee is injured on the job, the first remedy that he or she must seek is to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer.  Once an employee files such a claim, the employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against them.  When employees sue for employer reprisal or discrimination in this regard, they typically allege one or more of the following:

  • Demotion
  • Withheld promotions
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