Employment litigation is on the rise, especially in California, as an increasing number of pro-employee regulations can trap unwary employers.
“Litigation is expensive, and the consequences of not understanding employment laws can be severe,” says Laura Fleming, Shareholder in Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. “In addition, being embroiled in a lawsuit can be distracting and can negatively impact employee morale. It makes good business sense to prevent employment litigation to the extent possible.”
Smart Business spoke with Fleming about five strategies that can help you avoid costly employment litigation.
What role does a company’s human resources department play in preventing litigation?
It is very important to invest in your human resources department. HR functions can be technical, and even counterintuitive. The executive team should be free to focus on the business goals of the company; they should not have to personally handle HR issues on a day-to-day basis.
Ideally, companies should have dedicated HR professionals with experience and training. I encourage employers to pay for membership in local human resources associations, which can provide ongoing training on new regulations to their HR staff. Also, make sure the HR department has access to employment counsel. A short phone call up front is much less expensive than heated litigation later.
For smaller businesses with limited funds, outsourcing is an option. For example, your payroll company might have human resources support available.
How can termination of an employee get a company in trouble?
Termination can be a trigger for litigation. If you’re going to fire somebody, it should not be done rashly. Managers may send the employee home, or place the employee on administrative leave pending investigation, never fire an employee on the spot. Always consult with HR, and possibly employment counsel, depending on whether the termination is high risk. For example, a company may consider terminating an employee having performance problems. That employee may then come in with a doctor’s note requesting accommodations, or make a complaint about harassment or discrimination. Even where the employee is simply trying to avoid termination — perhaps especially when he or she is doing so — the termination has now become high risk. It is the job of HR and employment counsel to reduce that risk. You can still hold the employee accountable for performance. However, make sure everything is well documented before you terminate. It could take weeks or months to get all of the pieces into place, but patience generally pays off in lowering the risk of litigation.
How can offering severance help decrease the risk of litigation?
Severance pay is an insurance policy against litigation. In exchange for it, the employee should be required to sign a release waiving all claims against the company. Being a little more generous with severance pay can encourage employees to take the deal. It can also help them think kindly of you when they leave.
How important is it that companies properly classify employees?
Whether employees should be hourly/nonexempt, or salaried/exempt is a tricky issue with huge litigation potential. With hourly employees, you must pay overtime, keep time sheets and provide meal and rest periods. Salaried employees receive the same wage regardless of how much they work per day.
There are limited number of categories of employees who may be paid on a salary basis. Employers who are not familiar with these should review them with an HR professional or counsel. At the same time, employers can pay anyone by the hour, so when in doubt, classify employees as hourly nonexempt.
Incorrectly classifying an employee as salaried can bring penalties including back overtime pay, meal and rest period premiums, and penalties for paperwork violations. Some employees may want to be paid on salary for flexibility, but if the position does not meet the legal criteria for exemption, don’t take the risk.
What are the litigation risks of social media activities?
Most employees are on social media. The ‘millennial’ generation is especially prone to blurring the line between personal and professional communications. Employers may search public websites to gather information on potential hires, but be careful. Certain activities on social media are protected and unlawful to use in an employment decision. Race, religion, disability status, gender and sexual orientation are protected categories, and it is a violation of the law to use this information to discriminate against applicants.
Once applicants become employees, they have even greater rights with regard to social media activities. Many employers don’t realize that the National Labor Relations Act protects employees who discuss or complain about working conditions, even if they are not union members. Protection extends to employees who use social media to discuss their jobs, or their supervisors, with co-workers. As a result, a company that disciplines or fires an employee for such action could find itself in trouble with the National Labor Relations Board.
Companies should avoid ‘spying’ on the social media activities of their employees and should never attempt to ‘hack’ into an employee’s private, password-protected site. Nonetheless, there are social media activities that an employer must address, including disclosure of confidential information and misuse of intellectual property. In addition, if an employee is using social media to sexually harass a colleague, and that is impacting the work environment, the company has a duty to respond. If an employee’s activities do not impact the business, I would recommend turning a blind eye.
Laura Fleming is a Shareholder in Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. Reach her at (949) 725-4231 or email@example.com.
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Wrongful termination claims are far and away the number one lawsuit against employers. Even if you feel that you are justified in firing an employee, you may find yourself on trial.
“In California, it often seems like it’s open season on employers,” says Andy Wolfe, partner at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC. “It’s not only the most frequent source of litigation, but it’s also the kind of litigation that causes the greatest potential exposure to liability.”
So how can you protect yourself when you are warranted in terminating an employee?
Wolfe explained to Smart Business how to ensure a smooth separation when a worker is released from employment.
What types of claims can be made against an employer for wrongful termination?
Basically, there are two kinds of claims. The first and the most common is a claim that firing a worker violates an established public policy. Good examples are discrimination claims and claims of retaliation – where an employee is claiming he or she was fired for exercising an employment right. In addition to violation of public policy claims, employees can also assert that they were fired in violation of a contract or agreement that they had with their employer.
How can employers best protect themselves from these types of lawsuits?
There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of a costly lawsuit. The first is to be very clear about the rationale for the termination. Was this termination a layoff? Was this person terminated for unsatisfactory performance or misconduct? Once you have clearly thought through the rationale for the termination, the next question is whether or not the employee’s personnel record supports that rationale. Are there clear performance standards? Have there been performance evaluations that are timely and consistent with the rationale? Have similar employees been treated in a similar way? Another thing to consider is the length of service: the longer the employee has been working for your company, the more you will have a duty of loyalty to the employee in the eyes of a jury. And the longer an employee has been around, the stronger the rationale must be for terminating that employee.
After that, you should do a very careful risk assessment. In litigation, the truth is not enough. In a court room, the real question is, ‘What can the decision to fire this employee be made to look like in the eyes of a jury?’ Look for warning signs from the employee. Has the employee recently requested to take leave, or made reference to health issues? Has he or she made work-related complaints? Is this a team player or a person who is always looking out for number one? As a general rule of thumb, you should be aware that the higher the level of compensation the employee has, the greater the risk that the employee will bring suit if fired.
It is always a good idea to get a second opinion on the decision to fire an employee, particularly if the decision-maker is the employee’s immediate supervisor. If you decide to fire the employee, it’s smart to have a well-planned termination meeting attended by two or more employer representatives, who present a clear and succinct statement of the reason for the termination, and follow a checklist that includes final pay, written notice of the change of employee’s status, information about unemployment insurance benefits, and a plan for the return of company property.
What should an employer do if the risk of a lawsuit is too high?
In the great majority of cases, the best course of action is to enter into a separation agreement with the employee rather than just firing that employee. It might take a little more time and cost a little more to reach such an agreement, but what the employer gets in return is finality. The reason is that in exchange for whatever you offer to the employee, you get back a comprehensive release of claims. Then you can sleep at night knowing that once the agreement is reached, this separation is not going to come back and haunt you later.
What are some forms of compensation an employer can offer in a separation agreement?
One of the good things about doing a separation agreement is that a number of things you can offer are not monetary, such as a letter of reference or putting the employee on unpaid leave status. Sometimes, at little or no cost to you, there can be negotiations allowing the employee to keep company property, such as laptops, cell phones, or even automobiles. Sometimes offering the employee post-employment work as an independent contractor is in your best interest. An agreement not to contest unemployment insurance may also be helpful. And, of course, there are also opportunities to negotiate regarding continued benefits and severance.
Separation agreements are usually a genuine win-win. You avoid the risk of being socked with a wrongful termination lawsuit, and the employee gets to leave with dignity and the opportunity to focus on the future in a constructive way. Not only is it good business economically for an employer to do this, but it’s also an opportunity to the employer to deal with a difficult situation in a way that is much more comfortable and dignified. Most employers hate to fire people. But negotiating a separation agreement, they find, gives them an opportunity to implement a termination in a cooperative and considerate manner, one that works better for everyone.
Andy Wolfe is a partner with Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC. Contact him at (415) 972-6352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Workplace retaliation claims are an ever-increasing litigation concern for employers. In 2010 there were more charges of retaliation filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) than any other type of charge.
“We are certainly seeing an uptick in retaliation claims filed by current and former employees,” says Nicole Gray, an attorney in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins. “Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that have expanded the rights of employees who complain about retaliation, energetic enforcement by federal agencies, and increased public awareness are all factors that could explain why retaliation claims are becoming more frequent.”
In addition, almost every worker can relate to a story of disagreeing with a boss and falling into disfavor as a result.
“Courts and juries are more willing to accept an employee’s claim that he or she was treated differently after voicing complaints,” Gray adds.
Smart Business asked Gray how companies can proactively manage their work forces to defend against retaliation claims.
What does it mean that an employer ‘retaliated’ against an employee?
Put simply, retaliation law prohibits employers from ‘getting even’ with an employee who 1) engages in ‘protected conduct’ (e.g., files a lawsuit or administrative charge, testifies or participates in an investigation or hearing, promotes better working conditions), and/or 2) opposes an unlawful practice. This protection is not codified in any one statute, but is found in varying forms in laws that create workplace rights, such as employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, and leave and benefits laws — even the bankruptcy code and state wage garnishment laws include anti-retaliation provisions.
How does an employee establish a claim of retaliation?
There are three essential elements of a retaliation case: the employee engaged in protected activity of which the employer had knowledge; the employer took an adverse action against the employee; and a causal connection exists between the protected activity and the adverse action. An employee must only have a reasonable, good faith belief that the employer’s conduct is unlawful.
For example, an employee who believes in good faith that her employer was paying women less than their male counterparts may file a charge with an administrative agency. If the agency investigates and determines that discrimination did not occur, that employee still has the right to be free from reprisal for raising her complaint.
What types of ‘adverse actions’ give rise to a claim of retaliation?
While many claims are based on an employee termination, less severe actions against an employee may also give rise to a claim (e.g., a demotion, a disciplinary suspension, or denial of a promotion). Although trivial annoyances are not actionable, more significant retaliatory treatment that is reasonably likely to deter protected activity is unlawful.
Are only current employees able to allege workplace retaliation?
No. Adverse actions undertaken after the employee’s employment has ended, such as negative job references, can form the basis of a retaliation claim. In addition, third parties within the workplace, such as relatives or close associates, who did not complain of unlawful activity may be able to establish a retaliation claim if they suffered harm based on their association with the person who did complain.
If an employee engaged in protected conduct, does that mean he or she cannot be fired?
Employees who engage in protected conduct are not untouchable, nor excused from complying with work rules and/or achieving performance standards. It simply means that their employers cannot fire them (or take other tangible, adverse action against them) for engaging in that protected conduct. A court or investigative agency will review the facts to determine whether there is evidence that retaliation was a motive for the adverse action.
Temporal proximity is also a determinative factor in retaliation claims. Close temporal proximity between the employer’s knowledge of the protected activity and the adverse employment action alone may be significant enough to constitute evidence of a causal connection. While there is no magic time period that necessarily insulates an employer from a retaliation claim, a recent decision out of Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals did hold that a one-year time period between the protected activity and the adverse action, without further evidence of retaliatory treatment, was too remote in time to establish a retaliation claim.
How can employers limit their exposure to a claim of workplace retaliation?
Be aware of employee rights and recognize that employer retaliation against protected employee conduct is unlawful. Likewise, consider whether an employee has engaged in protected activity prior to taking any adverse actions. Seek the assistance of legal counsel to identify potential retaliation issues, provide training to supervisors regarding prohibited activities, and update policies to include anti-retaliation language. Employers can rebut a retaliation claim if they are able to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for taking the adverse action. Therefore, employers should take care to ensure that they can establish an objective reason for the adverse action taken and, whenever possible, have effective documentation that supports that reason.
Nicole Gray is an attorney in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins. Reach her at (216) 348-5418 or email@example.com.
The Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law on May 21, 2008.
“The primary aim of GINA is preventing discrimination on the basis of ‘genetic information,”’ says Lauren N. Diulus, an associate with Jackson Lewis LLP.
Employers need to ensure they adhere to GINA’s regulations, or they could find themselves the target of costly litigation.
Smart Business spoke with Diulus about GINA and how employers can use best practices to avoid liability.
What exactly is GINA?
GINA makes it unlawful for employers and other covered entities to request or require an individual’s genetic information, which includes their family medical history, unless it is inadvertent. GINA also prohibits the use of, access to and disclosure of genetic information based upon the idea that doing so will reduce discrimination.
What is genetic information?
Genetic information means information about an individual’s genetic tests; the genetic tests of that individual’s family members; family medical history; an individual’s request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or the participation in clinical research that includes genetic services; the genetic information of a fetus; and the genetic information of any embryo legally held by the individual or family member using an assisted reproductive technology.
What are some common situations in which an employer has the greatest potential to inadvertently obtain genetic information?
The following list is obviously not exhaustive, but the most common situations are:
When requesting documentation to support an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation.
When legally requesting medical information from an individual, such as where an employee requests leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
When reviewing an applicant’s or employee’s Internet or social media activity.
When requiring employees to submit to employment-related medical examinations such as Post-Offer or Fitness for Duty.
When obtaining information from employees as part of a wellness program.
When participating in casual conversations with their employees, i.e. ‘water-cooler’ talk, or overhearing a conversation among co-workers regarding health.
What should employers do to increase the likelihood that potential receipt of genetic information is deemed inadvertent under GINA, and otherwise avoid liability?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sets forth a ‘safe harbor’ notice, which, if provided by the employer along with its request for medical information from the employee’s health care provider or its own third-party medical examiners, will deem the employer’s receipt of any genetic information as a result of the request to be inadvertent and, thus, not in violation of GINA.
GINA recognizes that individuals requesting leave under the FMLA, or other applicable state or local law, to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition will be required to provide family medical history. Therefore, GINA provides a separate exception permitting an employer to request family medical history to support a request for FMLA leave. Accordingly, there is no need for an employer to include the ‘safe harbor’ notice with a request for such medical information about a family member.
If it becomes apparent to the employer that its third-party medical examiners are requesting genetic information, the employer should take appropriate remedial measures to ensure that such requests cease, which includes no longer using that examiner.
While the employer may set forth casual expressions of concern regarding the health of an employee who has been diagnosed with a serious condition (‘How are you’ or ‘Did they catch it early enough?’), the employer must avoid questions that are more probative in nature, such as whether other family members have the condition.
While an exception to liability under GINA will apply in circumstances where an employer learns genetic information about an employee by overhearing a conversation between the employee and others, i.e., ‘water cooler talk,’ the employer must not actively listen to, or act on, that conversation.
Increasingly, employers are using social media as a way of verifying applicant/employee information and investigating potential candidates. HR professionals and managers supervising employees, specifically, should be trained about how they should be using social media, and the limitations on their use to avoid violations of GINA.
What should an employer do if it inadvertently acquires genetic information regarding one of its employees?
If an employer inadvertently obtains written genetic information, it must maintain such information separate from the personnel files and must treat the information as a confidential medical record as it would for records covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If an employer obtains verbal genetic information, it need not reduce the information to writing but must not disclose the information unless legally permitted to do so. Also, the employer may not discriminate or retaliate against the employee based upon such genetic information in any way.
What else should an employer do to shield itself from potential liability under GINA?
Determine if there are ways the company is getting genetic information that it should not be getting, and put a stop to it. Post the required DOL poster, which is on the DOL website. Also, broaden the EEO statement in the employee handbook to include non-discrimination based on genetic information. Finally, add GINA to agendas for EEO training for supervisors and managers.
Lauren N. Diulus is an associate with Jackson Lewis LLP. Reach her at (412) 232-0231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When most people think of bullying, their minds drift to schoolyard battles long past. However, bullying in the workplace is a real problem that can make your employees feel as awful as those teenagers getting slammed into lockers. If you allow bullying to occur in your company, it can destroy your company’s culture as well as employee morale.
“A bullied employee is not a happy employee,” says Craig W. Snethen, attorney at law with Jackson Lewis LLP.
Legislation has been introduced in some states that would make it unlawful to subject an employee to an abusive work environment. For instance, if an employee resigns and claims that he or she was constructively discharged due to an intolerably abusive working environment, evidence of bullying can help support the employee’s claim.
Smart Business spoke with Snethen about how employers can curb bullying in the workplace and some of the potential liabilities involved.
What is considered bullying in the workplace?
Bullying has been defined as a systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction that jeopardizes a target’s health and/or career. It’s not mere incivility or rudeness. Bullying is a non-physical, non-homicidal form of violence.
Behaviors that may count as bullying, if they occur repeatedly for more than six months, include: (1) giving the ‘silent treatment;’ (2) refusal of requests for assistance; (3) receiving little or no feedback on performance; (4) subjection to pranks; (5) taking/destroying resources needed by the target to perform his/her job; and/or (6) the target doesn’t get praise to which he or she is entitled.
Why should employers be concerned about bullying in the workplace?
Generally, employers are and should be concerned about harassment and discrimination in the workplace. To be illegal and actionable in court, harassment or discrimination must violate the target’s civil rights. Therefore, the target must be in a ‘protected status’ group, such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
By contrast, bullying is much broader than harassment or discrimination. Indeed, only 20 percent of bullying cases could potentially qualify as discrimination. In other words, bullying is ‘status blind.’ From a purely practical standpoint, however, a bullied employee is not a happy employee. Irrespective of whether the employee might have an actionable claim of harassment or discrimination, the employee may act out against the bullying in other ways, such as engaging in workplace violence and/or sabotage.
What are the legal dangers of allowing bullying in the workplace?
Currently, there are no laws in the United States that prohibit bullying. However, each time bullying laws are proposed, legislators become more sensitive to the issue and future legislation becomes more likely. When one state passes legislation, it’s going to make the argument all the stronger. In New York, for instance, proposed legislation has been introduced in the House that would make it unlawful to subject an employee to an abusive work environment (S 1823 § 762). The legislation would create civil liability for employers for the existence of an abusive workplace (S 1823 § 763).
Bullying heightens the likelihood that an employee may resign and claim that he or she was constructively discharged due to an intolerably abusive working environment. So, if the employee can articulate a harassment or discrimination claim based on some protected characteristic, the presence of bullying can enhance an employee’s evidence in support of such a claim. Further, bullying can form the basis of common law claims such as intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, battery, false imprisonment, defamation and/or tortuous interference with a contractual relationship.
How are employees handling the issue?
Unions are becoming more sensitized to bullying. In Massachusetts, a new collective bargaining agreement covering 21,000 state employees includes protections against workplace bullying, defined as behaviors that contribute to a hostile, humiliating or intimidating work environment, including abusive language or behavior. Under that agreement, an employee has 90 days to report a bullying incident and may be subject to grievance procedure, but no arbitration.
How can employers reduce their liability in regards to workplace bullying?
Obviously, employers should take reasonable means to prevent bullying in the workplace. At a minimum, employers should adopt and distribute widely an articulated policy, which provides for a prompt response including an evaluation of facts and investigation, as well as providing for prompt and effective remedial action.
In assessing a potential bullying situation, the employer should ask itself whether the conduct, if it occurred as alleged, would violate any significant rule or expectation of employee conduct. If the answer is yes, the employer should engage in a prompt investigation and the accused employee should be removed from the workplace if allegations are sufficiently serious and/or more harm could occur.
Action taken as a result of a good faith, thorough investigation that came to a reasoned conclusion can insulate a company from liability for wrongful termination and/or defamation.
Craig W. Snethen is an attorney at law with Jackson Lewis LLP. Reach him at (412) 232-0196 or email@example.com.
Fifteen years ago, just as e-mails were becoming common in the workplace, a client, who we’ll call Jim, called us in a panic. One of his employees, Jenny, was threatening to sue him for sexual harassment. We asked Jim for the real story, and we got the usual response. He may have been flirtatious, but so was she, and it didn’t go beyond that.
We told Jim that we needed all of Jenny’s e-mails immediately. Fortunately, the e-mails showed that there really was nothing more than flirtatious banter between Jim and Jenny. What we did not expect to find were e-mails from Jenny’s company computer, sent a week before her allegations, of her intent to organize her own competitive company and to solicit Jim’s customers to join her.
Instead of being on the defensive, we immediately filed a lawsuit against Jenny for unfair competition and related claims. The case quickly settled in Jim’s favor.
We wish that all e-mails were as helpful to our clients.
Often, however, e-mails written in frustration or anger can be harmful to a client’s position. On the other hand, employees such as our client’s “harassment” victim need to be careful about communications made with company property.
We now advise our clients based on the lesson an employee named Gina Holmes recently learned. Use of a work computer to engage in private conversations has been significantly curtailed in California in a way that we expect will surprise both management and employees.
In June 2004, Holmes began working as an executive assistant for Paul Petrovich at Petrovich Development Company. At that time, Holmes signed an employee handbook acknowledging the company’s policy regarding computers and e-mail accounts. Specifically, the handbook stated that (1) the company’s technological resources should only be used for business, (2) employees who maintain personal information on company computers have no right of privacy, and (3) the company maintains the right to inspect all files and messages at any time.
Shortly after she was hired, Holmes told Petrovich that she was pregnant. Petrovich and Holmes then engaged in a heated exchange of e-mails concerning Holmes’ maternity leave and its impact on the company. The exchange led Holmes to believe that she was a victim of pregnancy discrimination. Using the company’s computer, Holmes exchanged several e-mails with her attorney, Joanna Mendoza, about her concerns. Presumably realizing after the fact that Holmes was communicating on the company’s e-mail, Mendoza instructed Holmes to delete their communications from her work computer.
Holmes ultimately resigned and sued Petrovich Development. At trial, Petrovich Development sought to use Holmes’ e-mails to Mendoza (which had been electronically recovered), arguing that they showed that Holmes was not upset about Petrovich’s conduct, and that she had been “put up” to the lawsuit by Mendoza. Despite Holmes’ objections that the e-mails were privileged attorney-client communications, the trial court admitted them into evidence. The jury ultimately returned a verdict exonerating Petrovich Development.
On appeal, Holmes argued that her e-mails with Mendoza were protected by the attorney-client privilege. On January 13, 2011, a California appellate court disagreed.
The Court of Appeal was swayed by the evidence that Holmes had used the company computer to send the e-mails to her attorney even though she had been advised that (1) the company might inspect computer files and e-mails at any time; (2) employees using company computers for personal matters have no right to privacy with respect to such use, and (3) the company’s computers were to be used only for company business. The court noted that on those facts, Holmes’ use of the company computer to consult Mendoza was “akin to consulting her attorney in one of the defendants’ conference rooms, in a loud voice, with the door open, yet unreasonably expecting that the conversation overheard by Petrovich would be privileged.”
The court was not persuaded by the fact that Holmes’ work computer was password protected, finding her belief that the e-mails would remain private to be “unreasonable” because she was warned that the company would monitor e-mail use. Because the law protects as privileged only a “confidential communication between client and lawyer,” the court held that Holmes’ e-mails to Mendoza were not privileged because Holmes had no reasonable expectation they would remain confidential.
What does this mean to employers? We advise our clients to carefully review their computer and e-mail usage policies to ensure that they give clear notice to employees that workplace computers, e-mail and voice-mail accounts are not private, are to be used primarily for business purposes, and may be subject to monitoring by the company.
By putting in place a policy similar to the one in Holmes, an employer can greatly increase the likelihood of getting access to otherwise attorney-client communications in the event of litigation with an employee — a significant strategic advantage.
But we would also advise our clients that they need to modify what is now fairly common behavior of communicating with counsel using work e-mail, based on a more general issue raised in Holmes about when attorney-client communications are privileged. In Holmes, the employee was communicating with her attorney about a claim against her employer. But what if Holmes had been e-mailing her lawyer about a claim she had against her bank? Under the court’s reasoning, Holmes would have no expectation of privacy in those e-mails either. Arguably, in litigation between Holmes and her bank, the bank could subpoena the employer’s records to obtain Holmes’ e-mails with her lawyer about her dispute with her bank. While that specific issue was not decided in Holmes, it appears to be a very real risk that almost all clients need to know about.
In light of Holmes, a prudent lawyer would advise their clients to cease all communications with them using a work e-mail account or work computer, or risk waiving the attorney-client privilege that would otherwise exist.
Nancy Bertrando and Matt Falley are partners with Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP. Nancy specializes in employment issues, and she can be reached at (310) 201-7483 or NBertrando@greenbergglusker.com. Matt is a litigator, and he can be reached at (310) 201-7442 or MFalley@greenbergglusker.com.