Polsinelli at Work |  Labor & Employment Blog

Employers, whether large or small, face an ever-growing web of workplace regulations and potential entanglements with employees. With employment litigation and advocacy experience as our strength, preventing legal problems from arising is our goal. Our Labor & Employment attorneys advise management on complex employee relations and workplace issues. 20 offices; 800+ attorneys. 

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Once More unto the Breach: Practical Tips When Employee Data is Compromised

Once More unto the Breach: Practical Tips When Employee Data is Compromised

By Jay M. Dade

In 2016, U.S. private employers and government agencies reported more than 1,000 data security breaches, up 40 percent from 2015. Recent high profile examples include:

  • 2014 theft of unencrypted laptops at Coca-Cola, which compromised sensitive data concerning 74,000 then-current and former employees;
  • 2016 incident in which a Boeing employee sent personal data regarding 36,000 employees across a four-state area in a spreadsheet to his spouse; and 
  • 2017 breach that compromised data from 95,000 job applicants at McDonalds Canada.

Employers confronting the seemingly daunting task of protecting sensitive and private employee data may look to computer security expert Gene Spafford’s famous conclusion: “The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards.”

But, in the real world, employers must power on their computer systems absent a protective concrete barrier and armed guards. What steps must employers take when the security of employee data is breached or an unauthorized access and compromise has occurred? Let’s take a look.

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Three Considerations for Using Big Data in Hiring Decisions

Three Considerations for Using Big Data in Hiring Decisions

By Gillian McKean Bidgood

With job candidates posting extensive information on social media and other information available on the Internet, technologists are developing ways to mine and use that data in the hiring process. This field (sometimes referred to as “people analytics”) is marketed as full of promise, including the possibility of identifying unrealized potential, increasing diversity, reducing turnover, improving employee satisfaction, and improving the company and individual performance. However, for employers inclined to embrace people analytics, there are a number of employment law-related issues to consider.

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Board ALJ Nixes Employer Handbook Rules

Board ALJ Nixes Employer Handbook Rules

By Cary Burke

A National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “the Board”) Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) has issued another reminder to employers to be careful when drafting employee handbooks. In May 2017, a Board ALJ invalidated 10 different sections of the company’s employee handbook, including a section that required employees to report their co-workers’ potential violations of handbook rules or other conduct that could “hurt” the company. 

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Five Things to Do ASAP After Your Company Receives a Charge of Discrimination

Five Things to Do ASAP After Your Company Receives a Charge of Discrimination

By Carol C. Barnett

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) broad-ranging jurisdiction covers, in short, claims of age, disability, equal pay, gender/pregnancy, genetic information, national/ethnic origin, race/color, and religious/creed discrimination. The EEOC typically sends notice of a charge of discrimination and requests a response, but can exercise subpoena power to enforce requests for information. When an employer receives a charge of employment discrimination, what should you do?

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Tenth Circuit Addresses Required Level of Specificity of EEOC Charge in Quid Pro Quo Case

Tenth Circuit Addresses Required Level of Specificity of EEOC Charge in Quid Pro Quo Case

By Andrew M. McKinley

On May 12, 2017, a divided Tenth Circuit addressed the level of detail that must be contained in an EEOC charge when a plaintiff alleges quid pro quo harassment. In Jones v. Needham, No. 16-6156 (10th Cir. May 2, 2017), the plaintiff alleged he was fired because he would not have sex with his direct supervisor, who was also a shareholder of the business. The plaintiff completed an EEOC intake questionnaire, checking the boxes for “Sex” and “Retaliation” as the basis for his discrimination claims and also writing out “sex har[as]sment.” In response to questions seeking further details on his claims, the plaintiff wrote: “[s]ee attached.” The referenced document included a six-paragraph statement, which concluded with the following: “I was terminated because I refused to agree to [the supervisor]’s sexual advances and I rejected all such efforts by her.”

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