On March 24, 2011, Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman’s Labor & Employment Group hosted the 3rd Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. About 70 people attended the half-day seminar to learn about topics such as, social media in the workplace, non-competes and unfair competition and traditional labor law. The event also included a look back at the year that was and ahead to 2011 in form of a legislative and case law update.

Case Law/Legislative Update

Partners Marc Furman and Jonathan Landesman gave a brief overview of the impactful labor and employment case law in 2010. It is important to note that a study conducted by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed that individuals are bringing more charges of workplace discrimination against private employers than ever before.

Topics of interest included Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), “Cat’s Paw Liability”, Medical Leave and the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act.

Social Media in the Workplace

Senior Counsel Melissa C. Angeline gave an overview of social media, and the consequences it can have on workplace productivity. A study produced by Nucleus Research shows that the average employee spends two work hours every day on social media sites. Melissa stressed that simply blocking access to these sites is no longer sufficient, since most employees now have an iPhone, or other device that can easily access the internet. Employers, she said, need to take a proactive approach to policing their employees activities, and monitor what they do in the office.

Unfortunately, simply controlling the issue at work does not release employers from liability. Employees who keep personal social networking profiles on sites like Facebook, and identify themselves with your company, leave you at risk as well. Employers need to establish a social media policy, and enforce strict guidelines for what is and is not acceptable in world of social media, keeping in mind the position of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the issue of employee free speech,

Protecting Your Business Against Unfair Competition

Partner Roy S. Cohen joined Jonathan Landesman in speaking about how to protect your company’s confidential information and how to create an effective non-competition agreement. The main take away from the presentation was that every employer needs to have a thorough and up-to-date employee handbook, and also employment agreements, where appropriate, setting forth non-competition/non-solicitation rules. In our ever changing world, every company should have their attorney review their handbooks annually, to ensure it is in compliance with the latest guidelines.

Traditional Labor Law

Marc Furman presented an update on traditional labor law. Through real life examples, Marc highlighted what employers need to be aware of when it comes to dealing with the NLRB and National Labor Relations Act, especially when filing unfair labor practice charges.

If you would like to obtain a copy of the seminar materials, please email your request to zklein@cohenseglias.com.