Category Archives: Workplace Confidentiality

Sexual Harassment Victims: Why Don’t They Speak Up?

The news is flooded with reports of sexual harassment and victims finally coming forward after decades, for some, of silence.  Why?  Having cut my teeth on sexual harassment laws and regulations since the early 1980s and watched its ups and downs, one dynamic has remained consistent.  Victims do not come forward when the harassment first occurs.  Employers invest in training programs for all employees to educate on what sexual harassment is and what the complaint process is and assure employees that retaliation is forbidden.  It is that last aspect of the program that simply does not ring true for many …

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Balancing Undue Hardship and Reasonable Accommodation with Employees Using Medical Marijuana Lights Up in Massachusetts Court

In a recent case, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (the “SJC”) held that medical marijuana may constitute a “reasonable accommodation” for employees.  As a result, employers may not terminate employees for failing drug tests if the employees fall within that protection – provided the accommodation does not pose an undue hardship for the employer. Case background:  In Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing, LLC (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, July 17, 2017),   SJC considered whether an employer had violated the Massachusetts anti-discrimination statute, M.G.L. c. § 151B, by terminating an employee who had failed a drug test for using marijuana at …

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Takeaways for Employers on the Hillary E-mail Debacle

5 Reasons Employers Should Prohibit Employees From Using Personal Email Accounts Recently, a political firestorm has erupted as news stories revealed that Former Secretary of State (and likely Presidential Candidate) Hillary Clinton utilized private e-mail accounts to conduct government business during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Pundits from the left, right, and center have weighed in on the political impact of Clinton’s e-mail practices.  But putting politics aside, as the story of Clinton’s e-mail usage unfolds, employers should be asking if it is a good idea to allow their employees to send work-related e-mails on private e-mail accounts.  In …

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Fourth Circuit Removes Powerful Weapon From Employer’s Arsenal

As I have previously written, several courts have allowed employers to assert claims against former employees under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030.  That statute, which was originally enacted to combat computer hackers, imposes civil and criminal penalties when someone accesses a person’s computer “without authorization” or in excess of “authorized access.”  It is a favorite of employers because it provides federal court jurisdiction and potentially exposes employees to criminal penalties. Courts allowing a CFAA claim against disloyal employees have reasoned that, when a soon-to-be former employee accesses company information for his or her personal …

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