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Informed Employer: Enforcing Confidentiality Policies: Are There Any Secrets? Informed Employer: Enforcing Confidentiality Policies: Are There Any Secrets?

Informed Employer: Enforcing Confidentiality Policies: Are There Any Secrets?

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High Court Rules for UPS Worker in Pregnancy Discrimination Suit
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a worker suing her employer for putting her on unpaid leave while she was pregnant, rejecting opposing arguments presented by her and her employers and finding an alternative reason that her lawsuit should not be dismissed. Peggy Young, the plaintiff in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., argued that UPS discriminated against her under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act by putting her on unpaid leave while she was pregnant.
(Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2015-03-25) Read the full article
Companies Grapple with Mental Health Highlighted by Pilot Suicide
The horrifying crash of the Germanwings flight operated by Lufthansa has put a spotlight on what the airline knew -- and what it should, or could have done -- about its pilot's mental health, but it's not just airlines with this concern. And when it comes to an employee's mental health status, what does an employer need to know, or have a right to know?
(Source: NPR, 2015-04-02) Read the full article
Obama Vetoes NLRB Resolution on Holding 'Ambush' Elections
In one of his first clashes over labor policy with the new Republican-dominated Congress, President Obama vetoed a GOP-backed resolution that would halt a National Labor Relations Board rule making it easier for workers to hold so-called "ambush" union-organizing elections. The president said the congressional action would block "modest but overdue reforms to simplify" union elections.
(Source: The Washington Times, 2015-03-31) Read the full article
Low-Wage Workers Finally Beneficiaries of Bigger Raises
America's lowest paid workers are getting bigger raises that are outpacing the gains of many of their better-off peers, a trend that suggests the benefits of U.S. economic growth are finally trickling down, boding well for the resilience of the upturn. The increases are still far from the levels needed to get back to the trend in earnings growth from before the 2007-09 recession, yet the firming of wages should give some reassurance to the Federal Reserve as it looks for signs of a broad-based economic recovery while it considers raising interest rates for the first time since 2006.
(Source: Reuters, 2015-04-02) Read the full article
Despite Pao Verdict, More Gender Discrimination Lawsuits Await
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' decisive victory over Ellen Pao's gender bias suit doesn't mean Silicon Valley giants are off the hook. More lawsuits alleging gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation are already in the pipeline.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2015-03-28) Read the full article
Justice Dept. Files First Transgender Workplace Bias Lawsuit
The Obama administration for the first time has filed a lawsuit alleging an employer violated federal civil rights law by engaging in anti-transgender workplace discrimination. The U.S. Justice Department filed the complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma alleging Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma discriminated and retaliated against Rachel Tudor, a trans English professor, based on her gender identity.
(Source: Washington Blade, 2015-03-30) Read the full article
Microsoft Requires Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave
Microsoft wants its security guards, janitors and cooks to have paid time off. The tech giant said that it will begin requiring many of its suppliers to give employees in the United States at least 15 days of paid leave each year.
(Source:, 2015-03-26) Read the full article
Study Finds Half of Workers Leave Jobs to Get Away from Boss
A new Gallup study sheds new light on worker-manager relationships, finding that about 50 percent of the 7,200 adults surveyed left a job "to get away from their manager." Interestingly, slightly more than half of those surveyed who gave the "highest agreement rating" to the statement "I feel I can approach my manager with any type of question" are considered actively engaged in their work, according to The Wall Street Journal, a sign that manager openness may be tied to worker productivity.
(Source: Fortune, 2015-04-02) Read the full article
Enforcing Confidentiality Policies: Are There Any Secrets?
Michael Blickman

Two federal agencies, the National Labor Relations Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission, engaged in recent actions that, while unrelated to one another, will require every employer to take a closer look at employee handbooks, employment agreements, severance/separation agreements, corporate compliance and ethics programs, media policies…yes, just about every employee-related document dealing with confidentiality.

As we discussed in a recent Informed Employer article, the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel issued a Memorandum on March 18, 2015, that takes the position that many typical employee handbook policies are in violation of the National Labor Relations Act because they have a chilling effect on the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activity (i.e., the right of employees to discuss wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment with co-workers and even those outside the workplace).  

Take a look at the types of rules found unlawful by the NLRB and think about these in the context of your own employee handbook:

  • Do not discuss customer or employee information outside of work, including phone numbers and addresses.
  • You must not disclose proprietary or confidential information about the Company or other employees if that information relating to the Company’s employees  was obtained in violation of law or lawful Company policy.
  • Never publish or disclose the Company’s or another’s confidential or other proprietary information.
  • Never publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to the Company.
  • Do not disclose details about the Company.
  • Sharing of overheard conversations with your co-workers, the public, or anyone outside of your immediate work group is strictly prohibited.
  • Discuss work matters only with other employees who have a specific business reason to know or have access to such information.
  • Do not discuss work matters in public places.
  • If something is not public information, you must not share it.

Read more.


Prompt Reporting of Injury Reduces Cost

The time between the workplace accident and when the injury is reported to your carrier or third-party administrator is critical to claim management. Prompt reporting of injuries will benefit both the company and the employee. First, claim costs tend to increase as the lag time increases between the incident and the onset of claim management. Second, prompt reporting enables your third-party administrator to initiate the necessary communication and collaboration between employer, employee and medical provider. Such collaboration will serve to minimize the recovery period and enable the employee to return to work as quickly as possible. Finally, it will allow the claim to be scrutinized in a fashion designed to minimize the potential for fraud, abuse, or unnecessary claim litigation.

To learn more, please contact any member of Ice Miller’s Labor, Employment and Immigration practice.


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