Employees

New Jersey Passes Social Media Privacy Bill

Everyone enjoys their privacy, even legislators! Privacy bills are becoming ubiquitous in state legislatures across the country. With the increased use of social media in and around the workplace, states are legislating to protect the dueling interests of employers and employees. Ten states, including New Jersey, passed laws that restrict employers from accessing the social media accounts of employees.

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Filing a Personal Injury Claim? Get Ready to Produce Your Private Facebook Profile

The scope of relevant discovery for social networking sites (SNS) is like Goldilocks – it can’t be too broad or too narrow, it has to be just right for the courts to allow it. This is especially true when the case involves emotional and mental health claims.

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Psychic Readings Are Not Beyond the Court’s Reach

What Randi Glazer’s psychics didn’t foresee was the compelled production of their predications.  If they could, maybe they would have told her to keep them out of her employee inbox.

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WARNING: E-mails with Attorney Transmitted in Violation of Employer ”No Personal Use” Policy will NOT be Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege or Work Product Privilege

In an employment contract dispute, the plaintiff employee-doctor made a motion for a protective order regarding all e-mail correspondence between the employee and his attorney pursuant to the attorney-client privilege, CPLR 4503, and the work product doctrine, CPLR 3101(c). The defendant employer-medical center made a motion for a protective order as to discovery concerning a governmental or regulatory investigation. The court ultimately granted defendant’s motion, but denied plaintiff’s motion because it found that he waived attorney-client privilege as well as the work product privilege. Given the facts of the case, and specifically the employer’s “no personal use” policy, this result was not surprising.

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Intra-Office E-mails: What Used To Be Unreported Office Gossip Now Potentially Exposes Companies to Liability

Serious problems can arise when what used to be office gossip around the water cooler instead manifests in discoverable intra office e-mails.

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Honesty is the Best Policy, and Cell Phone Upgrades Are Not An Excuse

Don’t knowingly produce incorrect electronic devices for discovery! When opposing counsel requests production of your client’s cell phone from the relevant time period for inspection, it is your duty to provide accurate information regarding the whereabouts of the phone. 

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Is It Safe to Delete Your Groupon E-mails?

Often, when entering one’s e-mail account, a person will encounter a plethora of advertisements, chain e-mails, spam, and other irrelevant junk mail. Pursuant to their daily habit, one sifts through their mailbox in an effort to delete any hourly Groupon deals or invitations to join new dating websites, in order to find the e-mails important to their career, education, etc. However, when does a routine deletion of spam constitute a legal violation? For the average lay worker, without clear advice of legal counsel, it is difficult to discern which deletions will come back to bite you in the end during litigation.  In a 2010 case, a discrimination lawsuit exposed how a seemingly harmless deletion to clean an inbox could have resulted in a legal sanction.

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Just When You Thought AOL Was Irrelevant—It’s Good to Know those Emails from 1999 Won’t be Getting Out

Contrary to popular belief, AOL is still an internet service provider and has recently made itself relevant again.  During the Hurricane Katrina litigation in McIntosh v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., two non-party witnesses discovered what they believed to be fraud on behalf of State Farm.

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When is it Okay to Press the Delete Button?

  Am I allowed to delete this? Do I have to preserve this email? When a former employee sues you for employment discrimination and requests documents that you irretrievably destroyed, are you going to be sanctioned? Unless litigation was imminent or reasonably foreseeable you are off the hook. Luckily the defendant in Viramontes v. U.S. Bancorp had no obligation to preserve.    

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In an Electronic World, Always Use the Paper Trail

A higher-up sexually harasses a mid-level employee. This sounds like every company’s bi-annual Human Resources lecture, but I’ll spare the burnt coffee and “trust falls” because the details in this account provides a lesson for both employees and their employers, preventing a disastrous situation.

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