The Inbox, Panda-monium And Dreams Edition

| William A. Schreiner, Jr.

Even in the pre-Labor Day lull, things still happen here at the Suits by Suits Global Operations Center in our Nation’s Capital.  This week, we welcomed a new panda cub at the National Zoo, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington for Civil Rights, which remembered Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. 

Things happened elsewhere in the broader world of disputes between executives, other employees and employers, too, including:

  • The news anchor is still mad-as-h-e-double-hockey-sticks, and he’s not going to take it anymore:  We’ve covered the public and somewhat bitter dispute between TV newsman Larry Connors and his former employer KMOV-TV in St. Louis; now, Connors has sued the station for defamation.
  • J. Edgar Hoover, please call your office: An FBI special agent alleges the bureau retaliated against him after he reported that two colleagues had “allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct in addition to a ‘clear pattern of fraud, waste and abuse over a period of years.’” 
  • And another involving the FBI: Media giant Thomson Reuters is stridently rejecting a former employee’s argument that he was fired after he leaked information about alleged insider trading violations to the FBI.  The company’s motion to dismiss the suit also says the former employee doesn’t qualify as a whistleblower under Dodd-Frank.  Interesting fact about our modern trading exchanges: the case involves the disclosure of some economic data Thomson Reuters compiles to certain customers two seconds before others get it. 
  • Maybe he tried to steal that nasty Mucinex guy: A cough syrup manufacturer lost its bid to reinstate claims for breach of contract and unfair competition against a former employee when a New Jersey appellate court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of them.  The court ruled that the confidentiality provision in the manufacturer’s employment agreement was too broad to be enforceable under New York’s law, which applied to the dispute: “In sum, the confidentiality provision is unenforceable under New York law because it is overly restrictive in time and scope, does not further a legitimate business interest, is contrary to established public policy, and is unduly burdensome” to the employee.  No word on any other side effects.     
  • Smashing a printer with a baseball bat may no longer be the real problem departing employees pose: “Half of all departing employees retain confidential company files following their termination,” concludes a study by Symantec reported here.  
  • “No severance pay but still crazy rich”: That’s the headline on this CNNMoney article about retiring Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, and it says it all.  The article explains that Microsoft doesn’t have retirement or severance for its executives, but Ballmer won’t be complaining too loudly: as the 22nd richest person in America, his Microsoft shares alone are worth over $11 billion.