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.

Office Closures Lead To Employment Issues

Office Closures Lead To Employment Issues

The severe winter storms can bring employment issues when employees work from home.

Unexpected office closures due to weather, earthquakes, and other unanticipated events often lead to a variety of employment law/HR issues for employers and employees. Businesses should plan ahead for those unexpected closures so that they are prepared to handle safety, communication, productivity and many other issues.

In my January 2014 post for Maximize Social Business, I examine two social media/technology issues and also the important (and sometimes confusing) issues of wage payment during office closures. The post is titled “Workplace Woes During Weather Worries” but is certainly applicable to closures due to other events besides the recent Polar Vortex.

Image credit – Benjamin Krain/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/AP


Small Firm Advantages – A Slam Dunk!

Small Firm Advantages – A Slam Dunk!

Small firm advantages are numerous.

Recently, former VP/Global Head of Legal at eHarmony, Antone Johnson, tackled the question: “Why Are Lawyers So Expensive Even With The Excess Supply Of Lawyers?” Mr. Johnson’s focus was on why large law firms charge their very high rates. Significantly, and not surprisingly, top-notch work quality, dedication, and responsiveness (three important aspects of my practice) were not listed.

Classic lose-lose situation. Mr. Johnson dissected how most large law firms are obsessed with rankings, have huge overhead, and grapple with other aspects of the legal industry that cause their fees to skyrocket. He also reflected that many companies are “fed up with large firms’ endlessly escalating billing rates and cost insensitivity.” As he pointed out, the result is that the legal services industry now has overpriced lawyers sitting around doing nothing, and clients not getting served because they can’t afford those rates. Classic “lose-lose” situation.”

Obvious win-win or slam dunk. Importantly, Mr. Johnson acknowledged that there are alternatives. He noted that “many talented, experienced lawyers hav[e] left big firms [], and technology mak[es] it easier than ever to set up shop as a new solo practice or small firm…” Indeed, business models like mine provide a better alternative for clients who no longer want to (or can no longer afford to) pay large firms for everything except top-notch work quality, dedication, and responsiveness. Mr. Johnson calls such business models “such an obvious win-win — or slam dunk.”

  • If your company still depends on large law firms for employment/HR related issues, I personally invite you to discuss with me how large law firm “escapees,” like me, are able to provide top-notch service without worrying about firm overhead, rankings on the AmLaw100, or carrying the dead-weight of an under-performing practice area.
  • If your company still believes great lawyers are too expensive, and thus, unaffordable, I personally invite you discuss with me how I can help your company at rates much lower than you might think.

Whatever situation your company is in, do not overpay for, or put-off getting, the legal services your company needs. For example, there is usually no good reason to pay (or to delay in fear of) large firm rates to have your company’s Handbooks, policies and employment/severance/confidentiality agreements updated and compliant. Do not overpay for, or put-off, getting advice on tricky employment/HR issues, getting and keeping your company in compliance with wage and hour laws, dealing with social media in employment issues, and getting mandated training done for your employees. And certainly, do not overpay, or go unrepresented, when your company must defend against claims brought before administrative agencies and courts. Indeed, I will be the first one to tell you if your matter would be better served by having a large law firm on your side (perhaps, for example, in defending class actions).

Mr. Johnson’s article in Forbes can be found here.


US Dept of Labor Publishes Two New Fact Sheets

US Dept of Labor Publishes Two New Fact Sheets

2 new fact sheets written by the US Dept of Labor

For several years, employee claims of retaliation have been on the rise. As a result, awareness and case law have blossomed in this area. In December 2011, the US Dept of Labor took notice and published two new fact sheets regarding unlawful retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

  • The fact sheet regarding the FLSA can be found here. It provides information regarding the FLSA’s prohibition of retaliating against any employee who has filed a complaint and/or cooperated in an investigation.
  • The fact sheet regarding the FMLA can be found here. This fact sheet describes the general prohibitions against retaliating against an individual for exercising rights under the FMLA.

Both employers and employees should be sure to understand what is and what is not considered prohibited harassment under the FLSA, FMLA and other federal and state employment laws.