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NYC Litigation Blog

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Using Social Media in Employment Litigation


Can  social media info be used in employment litigation?

Now that we are deep in the midst of the Age of Social Media, there is a tremendous amount of evidence available to lawyers dealing with employment litigation. The courts have ruled that, although in most states defendants cannot be forced to reveal their passwords to private accounts, when they have made social media access "public," any words or images that are accessible to the public are fair game as far as legal evidence is concerned. This means that all social media entries -- Facebook, Twitter tweets, Instagram posts, LinkedIn and MySpace information may be tapped for damaging information, as long as such information is publicly available and connected to the identity of the person who posted it.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

New Overtime Rule On Hold - Employers in Limbo


What is the status of the overtime rule for white collar employees?

In May, the Labor Department announced significant changes to the white collar exemptions to the overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for executive, professional, administrative and highly compensated employees. Now that a federal judge has blocked the rule, however, employers have been left in limbo.

The rule was contested by a number of states and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


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Monday, November 14, 2016

The Importance of Buy Sell Agreements for Entrepreneurs


How can a buy sell agreement protect my small business?

Entrepreneurs must navigate a number of challenges in order to achieve success in the marketplace. Along the way, it's important not to lose sight of the importance of buy sell agreement in protecting the business. The goal is to specify how the ownership interests will be redistributed in the event of a sudden or planned departure by one of the owners.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

EEOC Issues New Retaliation Guidelines


Can I be fired for complaining about discrimination or harassment on the job?

Back in March we reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed new guidance on employment retaliation. The EEOC published its final rule in September, owing to the fact that retaliation has become the most common type of claim filed with the agency. In fact, 45 percent of all charges filed last year were related to retaliation.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Employers Can Ban Dreadlocks in the Workplace


Does Title VII protect hairstyles culturally associated with race?

In September, a federal appeals court ruled that an employer has a right to enforce a dress and grooming policy that prohibits employees from wearing their hair in dreadlocks. The case was initially brought in 2013 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against an insurance claims processing company in Mobile, Alabama that rescinded a job offer to a black woman who refused to cut her dreadlocks.

The Company Dress Code

The woman applied as a customer service representative with the company in 2010. After being hired, she was told by the human resources manager that the dreadlocks needed to be cut since the company's dress and grooming policy requires employees to project a "professional and businesslike image." The HR manager reportedly told the woman that dreadlocks "tend to get messy.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pushing the Boundaries of Title VII


Does federal law prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on specific characteristics including race, color, national origin, religion and gender. Currently, as it has been interpreted by case law, Title VII does not protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, legislation to end these forms of discrimination in the workplace stalled in Congress in 2013.

EEOC Initiative

Now, the federal government agency responsible for investigating employment discrimination claims has weighed in on the issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a bulletin in July stating that Title VII's prohibitions of sex discrimination includes employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Photographer Carol Highsmith Seeks $1 Billion from Getty for Copyright Violation


Are images in the public domain allowed to be sold by others?

Carol Highsmith is a celebrated photographer whose works have been featured in books, magazines, and even on two postage stamps.  Highsmith is also known for her willingness to share her images to the public, with thousands of her images currently available for free to citizens.  But when Highsmith was sent a letter accusing her of copyright infringement for using her own image on her web page, she took action.


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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Melania Trump’s Speech Raises Copyright Concerns


Are public speeches copyrighted?

Melania Trump, wife of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, spoke at the Republican National Convention to a massive crowd of enthusiastic voters.  Just moments after the speech ended, however, controversy erupted.  News outlets started reporting that a portion of her speech was strikingly similar to a speech delivered by Michelle Obama, wife of then Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. While the Trump campaign has denied that Melania Trump plagiarized any part of the speech, the hullabaloo does raise some important


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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Effects of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) on Employers


What steps should employers take to facilitate the protection of their DTSA rights?

When President Obama signed the DTSA into law this past May, he provided employers with a method for dealing with trade secret misappropriation claims. The recognition that trade secrets "make up an increasingly important part of American companies’ intellectual property portfolios," pushed Congress to enact the Act to create a protection for trade secrets paralleling that already in place for other intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks. It is precisely because of legal changes like these that it is essential for employers to have skilled, knowledgeable employment and copyright attorneys behind them as they struggle to keep pace with future developments in the world of business.

Those who back the DTSA assert that, in addition to giving plaintiffs access to judiciary expertise on a federal level as they navigate intellectual property (IP) disputes, the DTSA will make trade secret law more consistent and predictable, helping employers to protect their rights during disputes, even disputes that cross state lines.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Important Information about the Defend Trade Secrets Act


What is the Defend Trade Secrets Act?

When President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) last month, he provided business owners with another tool to protect the confidential information that gives them an economic advantage over their competitors. There is now a new cause of action in federal court designed to prevent and/or punish the misappropriation of trade secrets. Significantly, the DTSA does not preempt state laws regarding these matters, so employers and owners can now bring legal actions under both DTSA and state laws. It is always wise to engage the services of an experienced, well-reputed employment and copyright law attorney when dealing with such issues and disputes since they can be crucial to the success, or even the survival, of your business.


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