Matthew Heller

The Fight for Rights: An Interview With Nicholas Katzenbach

As part of our 90th anniversary, Workforce Management is talking to some of the people and organizations that helped influence today's workplace. In this installment, Workforce Management contributor Matthew Heller talks with former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach about the development of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the problems the Kennedy and Johnson administrations faced, and how the legislation has evolved and how successful it has been over the years.

NLRB Hones Workplace Social Media Policies

The case of a worker at a popcorn packaging facility who was fired for criticizing a supervisor in a Facebook posting has attracted the most interest, as it ‘highlight[s] what is likely to become the NLRB's new test for deciding whether the action for which an employee was disciplined was so out of line that it lost the protection of the NLRA.'

The Impact of Motors & Mobiles

Experts recommend that employers establish and enforce policies about talking or texting while driving on the job. As many companies have discovered, distracted drivers are a liability to themselves and other motorists—as well as the employers for whom they work.

Texas Gun Law Adds New Level of Vigilance for Employers

More than a dozen states already have such laws and adding Texas to that group was a major coup for the gun rights lobby. Two previous bills had failed in the Legislature before SB 321—known as the Employee Parking Lot Bill—passed in May and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry.

Ruling in Bipolar-Threat Case Brings Mixed Legal Opinions

Lawyers for employers say a court decision that upheld the termination of a bipolar employee balances the legal obligation of employers to accommodate a worker’s disability with their responsibility to provide a safe workplace. But lawyers for that employee say the appeals court gave employers far too much latitude.

In California, Flexible Schedules Are Tightly Regulated

Employers find that setting up compressed work schedules can be a bureaucratic minefield. While in theory the state’s law promised ‘workplace flexibility,’ in practice it imposes rigid procedural requirements on employers, who could be exposed to an employee claim for unpaid overtime if they make just one false step.

Handed Down

A review of the 10 legal decisions of 2007 that will have the greatest impact on the workplace in the coming year and beyond

Protections for Transgender Workers on Rise

Although federal law does not explicitly prohibit organizations from firing transgender workers, that doesn’t mean companies won’t be sued for such terminations. Nine states and almost 100 local jurisdictions, from Key West, Florida, to Tacoma, Washington, have passed laws protecting transgender employees in the workplace.

High Court Ruling May Erode Whistle-Blower Protections

While employees of private companies have no protection for workplace speech under the Constitution, they do enjoy various "extraconstitutional" protections. The Supreme Court's recent decision could have the effect of narrowing some of those safeguards, legal experts say.