We have previously discussed the perils of social media in the workplace, including the much-publicized case in which women’s clothing retailer Francesca’s fired its CEO for disclosing insider information over Twitter. (The gem was his tweet of “Board meeting. Good numbers = Happy Board” several hours before the actual board meeting itself at which the numbers were disclosed.”)
We’ve also discussed some of the problems of unauthorized disclosure from the perspective of the employee, which is of course exacerbated by near-ubiquitous social media technology at work that makes it trivially easy for anyone to fire off an email, a Tweet, or a post on Facebook without considering whether that disclosure might violate the employee’s legal obligations.
JP Morgan reports that it has clawed back about two years of annual compensation from the three London-based traders it says are responsible for the trading losses reported by the company in May. The traders are fighting back.
Continuing our coverage of the sexual discrimination lawsuit between former partner Ellen Pao and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins (prior stories are here and here), on Friday, Kleiner Perkins moved the San Francisco Superior Court to compel arbitration of its dispute for a second time -- this time with a twist.
On Monday, I reviewed the basic contours of a wrongful termination claim. I pointed out that, under state common law, you may have a wrongful termination claim against an employer if you were fired in violation of public policy, but that states vary on what public policy means in this context.
I don’t know where you are when you’re reading this. Thanks to the Internet, you could be anywhere from Abu Dhabi to Zagreb.
But if you’re in the same place I am – Washington, D.C. – you likely know a few things about defense contracting. First, it’s big business – over $1.5 trillion in military contracts have been let since October of 2006. Second, as much as Washington is a “company town” that relies for its economic life, in large part, on the federal government itself, this area also relies on the substantial presence of several huge companies that specialize in contracting with the military – including household (Pentagon-hold?) names like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Science Applications International Corporation, CACI, and Northrup Grumman. If you know those two things, then you know a third: those contracts are zealously guarded and fought over.
That’s the context for a dispute between Tifco Industries and its former sales manager, Mike Carrillo. According to Tifco, Carrillo – once he went to work for a competitor – started badmouthing Tifco to military contracting officers, telling them Tifco was under investigation. Much of Tifco’s work is from the military, so it couldn’t take Carrillo’s statements lying down.
Say what you want to about Warren Buffett, but he made his money by not spending it extravagantly. The multi-billionaire owner of Berkshire Hathaway, who could live in a palace if he chose to, still lives in a rather modest ranch house in Omaha, Nebraska.
And while he is “famous for not micro-managing” the businesses he’s invested in, he does have a limit: he recently fired the head of Benjamin Moore, one of his companies, for taking the entire corporate leadership of the paint company on a yacht cruise to Bermuda on the company’s (really, Warren Buffett’s) dime.
From The Inbox: Tempers may be flaring around the country given this week's rampant heat wave, because the big news seems to be about heated wrongful termination suits between employers and their employees:
In Tampa – where Zuckerman Spaeder maintains a great office, by the way – the former human resources director of Hillsborough County has sued the county for wrongful termination. That in itself may not be so unusual – but as the Tampa Bay Times notes, the suit follows the HR director’s complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that the County’s property appraiser sent her pornographic emails. Another rule to live by: don’t send the HR director pornographic email.
From West Virginia, a woman has sued TRG Solutions, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated for being pregnant. Surely by coincidence, she was fired the day she told her supervisor she was pregnant.
Meanwhile, in Pasadena, a judge has ruled that a group of employees suing the city for wrongful termination are not entitled to have their jobs back while their case works its way toward trial.
On this blog, we often see basic practices employers and employees should follow to minimize employment disputes. For example, employers: don’t talk about religion on job interviews. Employees: try not to curse too much at work, watch what you say on social media, and read what the company wants you to sign before you leave.
None of these principles seems outlandish. Many of these “morals of the story” are, in the abstract, things we all should have learned ago.
Here’s another thing we should all know: unless you’re in the gun business, guns and the workplace generally do not mix. We’ve learned this from several cases of senseless gun violence in the workplace in recent years. But even before a bullet is fired, just talk of guns and work can be a bad combination, as a Florida lawsuit brought by a former law professor against his law school demonstrates.
Tariq Hassan, the former Chief Procurement Officer for JP Morgan Chase (JPMC), is taking the bank to court. In a suit filed June 15, he claims that JPMC fired him for investigating a “kickback scheme” involving the bank’s vendor management office and IT department. Then, Hassan says, JPMC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon, and others at JPMC badmouthed him to Citigroup Global Markets when that company was considering hiring him, and Citigroup retaliated further against him for his whistleblowing by not hiring him.
As the regulatory and business environments in which our clients operate grow increasingly complex, we identify and offer perspectives on significant legal developments affecting businesses, organizations, and individuals. Each post aims to address timely issues and trends by evaluating impactful decisions, sharing observations of key enforcement changes, or distilling best practices drawn from experience. InsightZS also features personal interest pieces about the impact of our legal work in our communities and about associate life at Zuckerman Spaeder.
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