Washington Labor Law Blog: Insights on the Law for Washington Employers

Author Archives: Paul M. Nordsletten

NLRB administrative law judge concludes discharge for Facebook posts was unlawful.

Hispanics United of Buffalo, (HUB) provides services to low-income clients.  One HUB employee posted the following message on her Facebook account about a coworker, Lydia Cruz-Moore, who had been complaining about coworkers via text messages and who had indicated she was going to take her complaint to management: Lydia Cruz, a coworker feels that we… Continue Reading

Washington Employers Get Rare Break From Supreme Court

Washington employers got a rare break from the Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday in a 5/4 decision (Wiggins did not participate) holding that employees cannot rely on WISHA to state a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Matthew Cudney was discharged after complaining to management that his branch general manager was driving… Continue Reading

NLRB Advice Memo Concludes Facebook Post Not Unlawful

In another in a series of advice memoranda from the NLRB regarding social media, the NLRB concluded the discharge of a crane operator because of his Facebook did not violate the NLRA because there was no protected concerted activity.  The Advice Memorandum, regarding Helser Industries, is here. A co-worker of the crane operator informed a… Continue Reading

The Key to Easier Terminations

Terminations are never easy.  But I learned as a manager that one thing, giving the employee advance warning and an opportunity to improve, was one key to making terminations easier for me and for the employee.  As an employment lawyer, I have learned that the advance warning, and specifically a final written warning, coupled with… Continue Reading

New Rule Requires Notice of Rights under the NLRA

Today the NLRB issued its final rule requiring that employers subject to the NLRA post a detailed notice regarding employees’ rights under the Act.  The notice sets out a detailed description of employee rights under the NLRA, consequences for violations of those rights, and how to contact the NLRB regarding questions or violations.  The final rule,… Continue Reading

EEOC Presentation on Social Media in the Workplace

You can download my PowerPoint slides from my Social Media in the Workplace presentation at the EEOC’s Annual Seminar in Seattle here. An online database of 177 social media policies is here. The NLRB Acting General Counsel’s summary of social media cases before Board is here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s summary of social media… Continue Reading

Avoid Common Pitfalls When Drafting Policies – Part One

One common mistake I encounter is an employer adopting an anti-harassment policy prohibiting “all harassment” rather than just “unlawful harassment” without an understanding of the distinction or potential consequences of the language choice. Under federal law and the laws in the state of Washington, as in many states, an employer is not required to maintain… Continue Reading

Signs That Employees Will Lose Their Discrimination Case

In my experience as a manager before going to law school and in my practice as an management-side employment lawyer, many discharged employees fail to accept any responsibility for the discharge.   How many times has a friend told you, “I was let go for poor performance, and, you know, they were right.”  Instead, the employees… Continue Reading

How to Implement Your Social Media Policy

Maria Ogneva from Yammer, an internal social network product for companies, recently wrote an article highlighting several tips on getting employees to buy-into your social media policy.  I especially like her focus on educating, empowering, and teaching employees WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me”) rather than on disciplining them: The best way to ensure buy-in… Continue Reading

Tips for Using Social-Networking Sites to Screen Applicants

Molly DiBianca recently wrote a helpful 3-part series on The Delaware Employment Law Blog regarding tips for employers to follow when using Facebook or other social-networking sites to screen applicants.  Here are a few of her key suggestions: Do not try to gain access to an applicant’s profile directly through tactics such as asking a… Continue Reading