Is LinkedIn Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?


Is LinkedIn Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

In my December 2014 post for Maximize Social Business, I explored some bad news for LinkedIn. First, in a new class action complaint filed in California (Sweet v. LinkedIn), LinkedIn is facing claims that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

The lawsuit involves LinkedIn’s “Reference Search” service, which is only available to premium account holders. The service identifies connections in the premium account holder’s network who share a common past employer with the job applicant.

So, essentially, it organizes, cross-references and provides information to premium account holders about those who might have some relevant information about the job applicant’s work at a prior employer.

The four named plaintiffs allege that they were denied jobs with prospective employers because those employers contacted other LinkedIn users identified by the “Reference Search” as having worked with them (and presumably, those identified LinkedIn users did not give positive feedback on the plaintiffs). To see more about this lawsuit, and my analysis of it, read my article titled: “Allegations of LinkedIn Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act“.

In my same post, I also analyze a $6 million settlement that LinkedIn entered into with the US Department of Labor regarding alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act due to the failure to pay employees all the time worked, including overtime, by those employees.

LinkedIn Contacts: To Whom Do They Belong?


LinkedIn Contacts: To Whom Do They Belong?

Do you voluntarily use LinkedIn to help your employer promote business, services and/or products? Does your company request, or require employees to use LinkedIn to further develop client/customer/vendor relationships?

What happens if/when the employment relationship ends on a sour note? Will there be a battle between employer and employee regarding the ownership of the LinkedIn contacts, and perhaps the account(s) used?

In my November 2014 post titled “Employer vs. Employee: Ownership of LinkedIn Contacts” I explored these questions and others that employers and employees may face when the employment relationship ends and ownership of LinkedIn information becomes disputed. While courts have yet to publish many decisions on this issue, I focused on a federal court case (Eagle v. Morgan) that provides some guidance to employers.

I also added four tips for employers to prevent such disputes from arising and to help employers maintain control and ownership of LinkedIn information former employees have used/developed on their employer’s behalf.

More Class Action Lawsuits: Employee Cell Phone Expense


More Class Action Lawsuits: Employee Cell Phone Expense

Many business owners believe that California is a very difficult place to conduct business and to have employees. That belief may soon gain more advocates as a result of a recent California court decision that employers must consider. The Court determined that employers must reimburse employee cell phone expense when employees use their personal phones/mobile devices for work related purposes. The Court focused on California Labor Code Section 2802, among others. The Court reasoned that employers should not benefit from a “windfall” by relying on employees to pay for their own cell phone plans while using such devices for the benefit of employers. This is true, the Court decided, even if the employee does not suffer any additional out of pocket expenses for having their own cell phone plan (for example, employees who have an unlimited plan, or who do not get charged per call, really do not suffer any detriment by using periodically their own devices for work).

You can read more about Cochran v. Schwans Home Services, Inc. and some practical pointers in my October 2014 post titled “Cell Phone Expenses: Next Wave of Employee Class Action Lawsuit?” at Maximize Social Business.

Employers Will Not “Like” This!


Employers Will Not “Like” This!

These and similar questions were examined by the National Labor Relations Board and, not surprisingly, employers won’t like the decision reached. For my September 2014 post to Maximize Social Business, I explore the details of Sanzone and Spinella vs. Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille. I also provide a few insights to what this decision may mean to both employees and employers.

Does your business discipline employees for such posts? Does your company have policies regarding employee use of social media?

It’s About People: Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine


It’s About People: Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine

As many of you may know, currently I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA). Our local bar association is one of the most vibrant and collegial associations in the state, and perhaps, the nation.

This summer I had the honor to serve as the official “Guest Editor” of the Contra Costa Lawyer magazine. Specifically, the September 2014 edition was devoted to Employment Law in its entirety. While I am an appointed member to the magazine’s Editorial Board, as Guest Editor of this edition, I had primary responsibility for lining up content for the magazine, reviewing submitted articles and writing the “Inside” column, which I titled “It’s About People”. Fortunately, I was able to rely on many amazing local employment attorneys in putting the magazine together, and I summarized their excellent work in my column.

I also had the privilege of writing only a few words (darn word count and page limits!) about our amazing Executive Director, Lisa Reep, who has devoted decades to the CCCBA and to serving our community. Lisa will be missed greatly. Thankfully, however, Theresa Hurley, who has been with the CCCBA for a few years, will take the reigns and serve as the next Executive Director, so we are in great hands.

Please feel free to contact me, or the CCCBA directly, to learn more about the CCCBA and the many programs it offers to the public and to attorneys.