First They Let You Tweet—Then They Pay You

footballBy Michael Rebagliati

Should your employer let you comment on your workplace on social media? How much should your employer pay you? Do you even “work” for your employer?

For college football players, all of these questions are now connected. Last month a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board issued a controversial advisory memorandum. The NLRB indicated that some rules in Northwestern University’s Football Handbook were unlawfully overbroad with respect to Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB previously interpreted this provision of the statute as enforcing certain rights of expression for employees on social media where those rights relate to “concerted activity for mutual aid and protection.” The provisions of the Northwestern Football Handbook at issue discouraged players’ social media presence largely due to concerns about protecting the school’s image. Among other things, the NLRB memorandum countered that players must have greater freedom to post on social media to discuss issues such as their health and safety.

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Seattle Paves the Way for Ride-Sharing Drivers to Unionize

ride-shareBy Naazaneen Hodjat

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously last month to approve a bill that allows drivers of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize. Seattle is the first U.S. city to pass such legislation. The legality of the ordinance, however, is uncertain; Uber and Lyft are expected to challenge its legality in court under both federal labor and antitrust laws. Continue reading

Invasion of Wearable Technology in the Workplace


By Cheryl Lee

Wearable Technology is one of the hottest new technology areas today. Apple Watch, Google Glass, as well as health monitoring devices like FitBit, may be some of the most well known examples of wearable technology. However, there are many others in development. Future wearable technology even includes jewelry such as smart earrings that can monitor one’s heart rate as well as energy burned and   allows the user to sync wirelessly with a smartphone or a PC. Morgan Stanley estimated the potential market size for wearable technology at $1.6 trillion and noted that wearable devices will become the fastest consumer technology devices. IDC Worldwide Wearable Computing Device 2014-2018 Forecast and Analysis predicts that by 2018, wearable technology will account for 10% of the global electronics market. There is even a Wearable Technologies Conference in Milan, Italy, the fashion capital of the world, with a focus on bringing together the world of fashion and the world of technology.

Wearable technology refers to electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories, which can be worn on the body or attached to clothes. These wearable technologies, like Google Glass and Apple Watch, perform many of the same computing tasks as mobile phones and laptop computers. As the invasion of the latest wearable technologies continues to pervade our everyday lives and workplace, it creates issues for the workplace and the employers. Someone wearing Google Glass or an Apple Watch can take photos and videos of documents, which might potentially infringe upon someone else’s proprietary rights. These confidential documents can be uploaded directly to a personal account in the Cloud and then deleted from the wearable device. The risk of inadvertent disclosure of an employer’s trade secret is significant; it could result in millions of dollars in licensing revenue losses or loss of a competitive advantage. Despite such risks, the employer’s policy to regulate the usage and restrictions in the workplace may be quite challenging. Continue reading