Court Denies Summary Judgment to Employer on Professor’s Allegations He Was Denied Tenure After Reporting Inappropriate Facebook Posts by Fellow Professors

A federal court in Oklahoma recently denied summary judgment to Northeastern State University, finding that a professor’s discrimination and retaliation claims, among others, could proceed to trial. The professor, Dr. Leslie Hannah, was appointed chair of his department in 2009. The previous assistant chair, Dr. Brian Cowlishaw, was ineligible for the chair position pursuant to the

Employer Takes Action After Employees’ Derogatory And Offensive Tweets Damage Its Reputation

At the same that that the Toronto Fire Services Division was looking to recruit more women and minorities, two of its firefighters were tweeting messages described as “sexist, misogynist, and racist.” In 2013, just after the Division released its “Path to Diversity” report, outlining its plan to increase workforce diversity, Canada’s National Post ran a

City’s Termination of Police Officer Over Facebook Posts Did Not Violate First Amendment

The Fifth Circuit recently held that the City of Greenville, Mississippi, did not violate the First Amendment when it terminated a police sergeant based on her Facebook comments criticizing her police chief. The sergeant, Susan Graziosi, posted the following statement using her home computer, while off duty, after her chief declined to allow police officers

Washington Court Rules that Employee Terminated Over Facebook Post Condoning Violence is Entitled to Unemployment Benefits

In Kirby v. Department of Employment Security, a Washington appeals court held that a security guard terminated over violent Facebook posts was entitled to unemployment compensation benefits because the employer had not established that the termination was for “misconduct connected with [her] work.”  The security guard, Sarah Black, was employed by Puget Sound Security Patrol

Employee Terminated After His Inflammatory Facebook Comments Are Broadcast On Twitter

An employee recently was terminated for his inflammatory Facebook comments in which he condoned violence against police officers. The employee, Aaron Hodges, identified himself as a sales associate at a Nordstrom store in Portland, Oregon, on his Facebook page, and used what appears to be a photo of himself at work as his profile picture.

Federal Court in New York Rules that Employee Terminated in Part Due to Threatening Facebook Post Can Take Retaliation Claims to Trial

A New York federal court recently held that a plaintiff that was terminated in part due to a threatening Facebook post could take his retaliation claims to trial. The plaintiff, Richard Verga, worked as a paramedic for Emergency Ambulance Services, Inc. After Verga experienced what he claimed were unwanted sexual advances from another paramedic, he immediately

ALJ Finds That Employer’s News Media Policy Prohibiting Employees’ Contact With Media Regarding “Company Operations” Violates NLRA

An NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) recently found that a news media policy issued by Phillips 66 violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA, which prohibits employers from interfering with the exercise of employees’ rights to organize. The ALJ’s decision addressed the “News Media Guidelines” issued by the company in late 2012. The guidelines were sent

Newly Released NLRB Advice Memorandum Finds Several Provisions of Employer’s Social Media Policy Unlawful

In a recently released Advice Memorandum, the NLRB Office of the General Counsel provided some further guidance on how provisions of an employee social media policy could run afoul of Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA. That Section prohibits employers from interfering with the exercise of employees’ rights to organize under Section 7 of the NLRA.

EEOC and NLRB Continue to Focus on Employers’ Use of Social Media

At a panel discussion held on November 12, 2014, NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin, NLRB Member Harry Johnson, III, and EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum discussed several topics important to employers, including the use of social media to screen job applicants. All of the panelists agreed that employers must be careful when reviewing social media profiles

Ohio Court Holds Employer’s Decision to Request Medical Evaluations Based on Employee’s Disturbing Social Media Posts Was Appropriate

The Court of Appeals of Ohio recently upheld a trial court’s determination that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (“Department”) properly ordered an independent medical examination of, and ultimately terminated, an employee who posted threatening messages on Facebook and Yahoo! Messenger. In 2009, Diedree Ames, a parole officer, started exhibiting erratic behavior in the workplace.