Interviewed for KTLA news story about employers' use of social media in the workplace

I was interviewed for a news story that aired on KTLA here in Los Angeles about employer’s use of social media in evaluating applicants and employees. I’ve been writing and speaking about this topic for at least five years now, but given the pervasiveness of social media, the topic is only becoming more relevant with the increased use of social media today.

 Employers need to remember to keep a few items in mind regarding social media and the workplace. California passed a law, Labor Code section 980, effective January 1, 2013 that prohibits employers from “requiring or requesting” employees and applicants to provide their passwords to social media accounts. Can California employers monitor employees' internet usage under new Labor Code section 980?

Also, employers need to be aware of employee’s privacy rights. Can employers use employee's posts to social media as basis for employment decisions or would this violate an employee's right to privacy?

Finally, when a company encourages employees to use social media for work, there are some considerations the employer should take into account regarding the ownership of the social media accounts.

Generally speaking, employers may utilize social networking sites to conduct background checks on employees if:

  1. The employer and/or its agents conduct the background check themselves;
  2. The site is readily accessible to the public;
  3. The employer does not need to create a false alias to access the site;
  4. The employer does not have to provide any false information to gain access to the site; and
  5. The employer does not use the information learned from the site in a discriminatory manner or otherwise prohibited by law.
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Reminder: Webinar On Social Media Under California Law Tomorrow

This will be one of our most attended webinars, and there is still time to sign up. The webinar will cover legal issues facing California employers under the new Labor Code section prohibiting employers from asking applicants and employees for social media passwords, privacy issues when conducting background checks, alternatives to social media policies, and when policies addressing these issues are necessary. It is taking place at 10:00 a.m. PST January 15. Visit our website for registration information.

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Webinar - The Impact of Brinker: Understanding The Supreme Court's Decision On Meal & Rest Breaks

Be among the first in California to understand the complete impact the monumental decision in Brinker v. Superior Court will have on employers. The Court’s decision is expected on April 12, and Anthony Zaller and Daniel Turner will analyze and discuss the impact of the decision. The webinar will explain the decision and what it means for employers and wage and hour class actions, discussing among other items:

  • Can meal periods be offered to employees, or do they need to be ensured?
  • When during the shift can meal and rest periods be taken?
  • What does the Court’s ruling mean for the status of meal and rest break class actions and class certification issues?
  • What is the impact for cases currently being litigated?

The cost is $150 per connection. 

Date: Wednesday, April 18
Time: 10:00 a.m. PST

Click here to register.  Existing clients can email us here to have the fee waived. 

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Help Needed: Employment Lawyer

That's right, my firm, Van Vleck Turner & Zaller LLP is growing, and we are looking for an employment lawyer with at least seven years of California employment litigation experience.  If you or someone you may know is interested, more information about the position can be found here.  The ideal attorney should be able to work in an entrepreneurial setting, enjoy the practice of law, and enjoy working with every size of client.   Cover letters and resumes can be submitted to me

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Webinar: New Laws Facing California Employers In 2012


Governor Brown signed a number of new employment laws that take effect in January 2012.  During this webinar, we will cover the new obligations facing employers under these recently enacted employment laws as well as the proper steps employers should take to comply with them.  The discussion will also cover the recent oral argument in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court and what steps employers should take while waiting for the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Other topics will include:

  • New laws effective January 2012, including:
    • Statute increasing the penalties for employers who misclassify independent contractors
    • What the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 means for employers
    • Gender identity and expression
    • Prohibiting e-verify requirements under the Employment Acceleration Act of 2011.
    • New requirement to provide health benefits during pregnancy disability leave
  • Review of new developments that took place in 2011:
    • Development of case law upholding class action waivers in arbitration agreements
    • Payment requirements for non-resident employees working in California

The cost is $150 per connection (no fee for existing clients).  Click here for more information and to register. 


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My Jury Experience

I had the pleasure of serving on a jury here in Los Angeles this month. It was a criminal case that lasted about one week. From a litigator’s perspective, the service was very interesting, and very informative. Here are a few lessons I picked up from my jury service:

  1. Lawyers need to keep their cases short, sweet, and interesting. Our case did involve some science, and the lawyers lost some of the jurors. At one point, a jury actually went to sleep and started to snore. Whose fault was this? The lawyers, and in no way to I fault the other juror because I was feeling the same way. Courtrooms are very drab places without windows. Add a lunch to the equation, and there is no doubt that jurors would rather be taking a nap than hearing an expert try to explain the science behind blood alcohol content for a third time.
  2. The jurors were very attune to credibility issues. I thought that I was the only one to notice some credibility issues with certain witnesses given my litigation experience. However, during deliberations almost every other juror picked up on the same cues I did in determining who was telling the truth.
  3. It still is a chance to leave your case up to the jury. You never know what evidence a jury will find persuasive.
  4. I have a new found respect for the system. I was very impressed with the sense of obligation the other jurors felt towards doing what was right in the case. Everyone listened to the Judge’s instructions and did their best to reach an impartial conclusion.
  5. Don’t avoid jury service. I hear it all of the time, “Our legal system is broken, something must be done to fix it.” Our Founding Fathers ensured that we always had a way to fix a broken system, and that is why they wanted a jury of one’s peers to resolve disputes. It is a great way to keep a check on the government overzealously prosecuting citizens or a way to make sure a frivolous lawsuit in civil court ends in the best way possible. In addition, if you are selected to serve on a jury, it is actually very interesting to see the case play out, what other jurors found persuasive as evidence, and to reach a conclusion with your fellow jurors.
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Me? A Top 25 Employment Law Blog?

LexisNexis Labor & Employment Law Community 2011 Top 50 Blogs

Thanks for the readers of the California Employment Law Report for their support in being named a top 25 employment law blog in 2011 by LexisNexis.

With all of the different social media available today, it is hard to decide what to focus on. However, as I’ve said before, I think blogging can really assist a lawyer in keeping current with the law, and helping the general public to have a better understanding as well.  Plus, my blogging has lead to meeting some great people - the highlight this year was my interview with Guy Kawasaki.  Looking forward to meeting many more. 

Thanks for reading. I will be rolling out a new idea in the next month I’ve been working on for some time now that should be an interest for readers. Check back soon. Thanks for the support.

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No Break In Worker Suits

I was quoted in this month's California Lawyer magazine regarding the steady persistence of wage and hour lawsuits here in California - even during these difficult economic times.  The article, No Break In Worker Suits, can be read here

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Top 100 Employment Law Blog

Yes, the California Employment Law Report was recognized as a top 100 employment law blog in 2009.  The Delaware Employment Law Blog published its top 100 employment law blogs, and the California Employment Law Report is honored to be recognized in such a distinguished list.   

If you routinely deal with employment law issues across the country, the list of the 100 (plus 10) blogs is a great resource, and you should check the list out here and add a few of the blogs to your RSS reader.

Now all is needed is more time to publish posts to keep this standing in 2010. 

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Linkedin Group: California Human Resource Network

Just approved more members to the California HR Network group in Linkedin.  There are approximately 100 members currently. 

If you are an HR professional with a need to keep current with California employment law, drop me an email to request to join the group, or request to join through Linkedin by visiting here

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Featured in Alltop!

Featured in Alltop

I am proud to announce that the California Employment Law Report is not featured in Alltop - which is a website that collects all of the top news around the Internet. 

The CELR can be found in Alltop Law and in Alltop California

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