Here’s another post in our occasional series on religious discrimination in the workplace. Today, we’re looking at a decision by the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that brings together three different concepts: religious organizations as employers, disabled persons as employees, and federal laws that apply to hiring. As when you mix any three ingredients that are fine on their own, the results can be disastrous. Throw in legislative history – the record Congress creates when it writes a law, and which some courts look to for guidance on how to interpret that law – and you have one fine mess.
For your reading list: The best advice for employees who don’t want to get caught in a non-compete agreement with a former employer, writes Elizabeth Ditts of Corporate Counsel magazine, is to avoid signing them in the first place. But that’s usually easier said than done, and Ditts’ article thoughtfully points out things an employee and her prospective new employer need to think about when the employee has a non-compete with the old employer. Her key conclusion, and it’s probably easier than litigating out of the contract: the employee and the old employer negotiate a way out of the deal, with the new employer watching carefully.
This week in suits by suits and other related items of interest:
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.
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