Moonlighting While on FMLA: Will It Get Me Fired?

The short answer is “it depends.” What does it depend on, you ask? Well, it depends on whether your employer has a policy against outside employment and whether the company applies and enforces such a policy consistently to all employees who takes leave. In fact, the regulations promulgated under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) speak directly to this point – “If the employer has a uniformly-applied policy governing outside or supplemental employment, such a policy may continue to …
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Fraud in the Inducement in the Employment Context

North Carolina does recognize a cause of action for employees who fall prey to an employer’s promise to employ without an intent to do so.  However, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the employer did not intend to honor its promises regarding employment at the time they were made. One North Carolina case demonstrates why these kinds of claims are hard hills to climb.  In February 2007, Eli Research, Inc. engaged Lyn Hittle in employment discussions in which Eli offered Hittle an …
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Emotional Distress Damages Allowed in Wrongful Discharge Suit

While North Carolina follows the employment at will doctrine, North Carolina courts recognize specific exceptions to that doctrine based upon a violation of public policy. If an employer terminates an employee for reasons that violate a specific expression of state public policy, the plaintiff may pursue a wrongful discharge claim to remedy the personal injury suffered. Very recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals analyzed the kinds of damages that a jury may award in a successful wrongful discharge action. …
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A Fool’s Resignation on April 1

Yesterday, I posted an April Fools’ Day piece for employers.  Today, having been given some golden material by a friend of mine who ACTUALLY played this April Fool’s prank on his managers, I’m doing a belated April Fools’ Day lesson for employees.  (He didn’t consult me before doing this, obviously). The following is an example, for several reasons, of a prank NOT to play on April Fools’ Day (or the other 364 days of the year)… This e-mail went out …
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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 …
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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 …
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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. …
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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 …
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