Off the Clock

I’ve heard employees say, “My employer tells me to clock out once I have reached 8 hours in the day, even if I haven’t finished my work.”  If you worked past when you clocked out, can you get paid for it?  If you actually worked more than 40 hours — even if your employer has a policy against working unauthorized overtime – do you still have a right to be paid for it? The answer to both questions is yes …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More than a Hunch

A federal court in Washington recently took up the case of a Muslim software architect who claimed harassment on the basis of his religion and national origin.  After staying in a room numbered 911 at a hotel on a business trip, he believed someone at his company booked him in that particular room to harass him because they knew that his first name is Mohammed, in order to remind him of the 9/11 terror attacks.  The case is Rahman v. …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Service of Process via Social Media?! Yep.

A federal court in Virginia recently allowed service of the summons and complaint in a lawsuit via Facebook, LinkedIn and e-mail.  While that lawsuit involves trademark infringement, the implications are far-reaching and indicative that some courts have begun to get cozy with the central role of social media and technology in our rapidly changing society. After having first notified him of his infringement by Skype and e-mail, the plaintiff in the Virginia case sued an app developer in Turkey, but …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What protections are there for “whistleblowers”?

Ever witnessed something going on at work that you suspected was fraudulent or illegal?  Public policy encourages people in your position to speak up and the law comports with public policy by attempting to protect those who do from retaliation in employment. We commonly refer to these insiders with information as whistleblowers.  The term is pretty self-explanatory – it describes persons who blow the whistle on bad actors and fraudulent or illegal activity in which their employer is knowingly engaging. …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Leave Your Money on the Table

If your employer has decided to end its relationship with you, you should hire an expert employment attorney to help you part ways with dignity, grace, and financial and career security.  Often, employers offer what is called a “separation agreement” or “severance agreement” that will govern your exit from the company and your mutual obligations after your exit. There are ten very good reasons why you should hire an employment lawyer to review and negotiate your separation agreement prior to …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t be a #Twit(ter) at Work

Ever gotten bored during the workday and picked up your smartphone to play around on Twitter?  Ever tempted to complain about your company or your boss? Beware.  It could cost you your job. Social media is as much a part of our social fabric now as interpersonal communication.  And people are using it while at work and to talk about work.  Ask yourself… if you walked out to the sidewalk in front of your company and announced to everyone how …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Employment Contracts: Why You Should Actually Read Them

“Sign now, read later” is usually a bad plan with Employment Agreements as it can have particularly awful consequences. I often meet with clients shortly after they have resigned or have been terminated from their job. At the exit interview the client may have been advised by the company that all of their “restrictive covenants” remain in effect. Generally speaking, “restrictive covenants” relate to activities that the former employee is NOT allowed to do post-employment. Some examples may be to …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Way You Dress at Work

Generally, your employer may maintain a dress code that applies to all employees within a certain job category, even if it means that, coincidentally, the dress code happens to conflict with some workers’ ethnic or religious beliefs.  However, your employer’s policy can’t single out groups of people based upon factors such as national origin or religion.  For example, the company can’t ban employees from wearing traditional African head wraps while allowing other employees to don western-styled hats (cowboy hats, fedoras, …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Put and Get Everything in Writing

Sure, you have a great relationship with everyone at work. You trust your boss. You love your coworkers. Never had a problem with Susan from HR. Everything is just hunky-dory. Nobody expects an employment relationship to sour. But it happens, even to the best employees. That’s why you should put everything important in writing, and where possible, ask to get everything promised to you or expected of you in writing. If you get called into a meeting with your managers …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , ,

Wrongful Discharge Claims Under North Carolina Law Must Plead a Specific Public Policy Basis to Avoid a Motion to Dismiss

In the recent case of Horne v. Cumberland County Hosp. Sys., 2013 N.C. App. LEXIS 720 (2013), the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that when a plaintiff alleges wrongful termination in violation of the state’s public policy, the complaint must allege “specific conduct by a defendant that violated a specific expression of North Carolina public policy.” (quoting Considine v. Compass Grp. USA, Inc., 145 N.C. App. 314, 321-22, 551 S.E.2d 179, 184 (emphasis added), aff’d per curiam, 354 N.C. 568, 557 S.E.2d 528 (2001)).  The court further explained that …
Read More »

Posted in Noble Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,