April Edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival

Easter Bunny Traditions

Wikipedia Easter Bunny Postcard 1907

I am delighted to host this month’s edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival but was tearing my hair out trying to choose a theme.  I finally settled on a non-religious Easter traditions theme.

Growing up in a Buddhist country like Thailand very few people celebrated Easter so I just didn’t get the whole Easter bunny that laid colorful eggs thing.  I am taking this opportunity to do some research on the non-religious Easter traditions here in the United States.

According to the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration — and the origin of the Easter Bunny — can be traced back to 13th-century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses.  The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox.  Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.  Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth; eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility.

Speaking of fertility and reproduction, Steve Peltin at Washington Workplace Law takes us Back to Basics on Family and Medical Leaves, including simple strategies for managing family and medical leaves.

The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s.  By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published.  These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

Business in the colonial societies of the 1700’s was usually conducted with promises made on a handshake.  Lawyers were commonly regarded as noisy windbags or troublemaking rogues; early Connecticut law classed them with drunkards and brothel keepers (John Adams, a lawyer, was frowned upon by his future wife).  Although we would like to believe that lawyers are no longer classed with drunkards (ok, maybe not, but definitely not with brothel keepers), it is difficult to believe that today a promise of a six-figure bonus would not be made in writing.

You’d be surprised, John Fullerton, III at The Bellweather blog discusses New York’s Highest court case upholding an oral promise of a six-figure guaranteed bonus.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Easter Bunnies Aren't Real

www.onlyfunnypictures.com

The Easter Bunny isn’t real and if you let on to your co-workers that you still believe in the Easter Bunny, you could be subject to harassment at work.  Although harassment for believing in the Easter Bunny may not be illegal, Dawn Lomer at i-Sight Blog explains why a little harassment can be a dangerous thing even if it doesn’t rise to the level of illegal.

If you complained about the harassment, your employer should conduct an investigation of your claims.  Ari Rosenstein at CPEhr’s Small Biz HR Blog posted an excellent discussion of the importance of conducting workplace investigations.

If you were so embarrassed by the ordeal and wanted to leave your job, what are some rules regarding giving notice to your employer?  Sharlyn Lauby at HR Bartender answers a reader’s question about giving an employer notice and whether an employee is bound to work beyond the notice period given.

Sharlyn’s article touched on the at-will employment relationship, which seems to be a hot topic this month.  Donna Ballman at her blog Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home makes the case for a simple solution to unjust at will laws.

Adam Whitney at DamedIf explains why taking the at-will employment standard to the extreme (i.e. firing employees for wearing orange, or believing in the Easter Bunny) could damn an employer.

When a terminated employee hires a lawyer, Daniel Schwartz at Connecticut Employment Law Blog reminds employers to ask the question “What baggage does the employment attorney carry?” as that could affect how the case is resolved.

Enough with the law, let’s get back to non-religious Easter traditions.  The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.

Peeps Protesting

netorama.com

The most famous of these candies is undoubtedly Peeps, produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania by Russian immigrant Sam Born.  Peeps are made from marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax and eating an excessive amount of them could lead to weight gain.

Steve Smith at HR examiner asks Is Weight Discrimination Ok?   Heather Bussing answers that question with Weight, Weight Don’t Tell Me and explains when discriminating on the basis of weight is or isn’t legal.

If you were to prevail in a weight discrimination lawsuit in Wisconsin, Randy Enochs at the Wisconsin Employment & Labor Law Blog provides a summary of Wisconsin’s new law stripping discriminated employees of the right to punitive and compensatory damages.

blog.law.cornell.edu

An annual “Peep Off” competition is held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter, when Peeps are greatly discounted, to see who can eat the most in 30 minutes.  If Dave Smith who ate 102 peeps at the Sacramento annual peep off fell ill after eating all those peeps was fired from his job, how would the courts come down on his employer today?

Jonathan Hyman at Ohio Employer’s Law Blog discusses how the courts have been applying the new standards for disability in the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAA).

Peeps are sometimes jokingly described as “indestructible.”  In 1999, scientists at Emory University performed experiments on batches of Peeps to see how easily they could be dissolved, burned or otherwise disintegrated, using such agents as cigarette smoke, boiling water and liquid nitrogen.  They claimed that the eyes of the confectionery “wouldn’t dissolve in anything.”  Furthermore, Peeps are insoluble in acetone, water, diluted sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide.

I wonder if Just Born, the company that makes Peeps, requires that their employees sign a confidentiality agreement to protect the secret ingredient that makes them allegedly indestructible.  If they do, I recommend Eric Meyer at The Employment Handbook’s very useful tips on how to ensure that confidentiality agreements pass muster with the NLRB.

These days you can’t mention the NLRB without bringing up the April 30, 2012 deadline to post the new right to unionize posters.  Jessica Miller-Merrell at Blogging 4 Jobs tells employers why, based on her experience, they shouldn’t worry so much about the new right to unionize poster.

I did all of this Easter tradition research online and fortunately I don’t have a boss.  But if I did, could I be breaking the law for looking up pictures of the Easter Bunny and Peeps dioramas on my work computer?  Philip Miles at Lawffice Space discusses a Ninth Circuit opinion that answers the question of whether violation of an employer’s computer use policy is a federal crime.

neatorama.com

What if my imaginary boss is convinced that I’m obsessed with these Peeps dioramas and want access to my Facebook account for proof of this obsession?  Robert Fitzpatrick at Fitzpatrick on Employment Law discusses the increased scrutiny around the country of employers’ practice of requesting access to the social media accounts of employees and job applicants.

I also recommend that this imaginary boss of mine read John Holmquist at Michigan Employment Law Connection’s post on a Complaint issued by the NLRB against Hyatt Hotels for the maintenance of overly broad and discriminatory rules in its handbooks, social media policy, Code of Business Conduct, and its acknowledgement form in its employee handbooks.  Employers will be following this case closely.

It was a pleasure hosting this month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival.  Now I can go back to pinning Peep dioramas.

Sources:

Wikipedia.com

Discovery.com

AP Study Notes U.S. History

In: Employment Law

Still quiet here.sas

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