2012 In Review – The Most Popular Small Business Support Posts of the Year

As we look back at the most-read stories of the year, three issues quickly rise to the top:

  • Technology in the workplace, especially employee use of social media (both on and off the clock),
  • Health care reform and how to comply with the new rules, and
  • Day-to-day employment matters, from hiring to firing and just about everything else in between

But that’s not everything that’s keeping you up at night, of course, as the diversity of content you’ve looked at over the past 12 months can attest.

For your reading enjoyment, the most popular Small Business Support posts in 2012. Have a happy New Year!

1. Think That Email Isn’t a Contract? Think Again

“You’ve got mail! And, as two recent court decisions indicate, you might also have a binding contract. The rulings stand as important reminders to everyone who thinks that email communications are different because ‘it’s just email.’” Read on>>

2. 5 Immediate Steps for Businesses Now That Obamacare Upheld

“Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act doesn’t mean the end of legal challenges to health care reform efforts, but it does mean that employers can no longer wait to make the changes required by the law. For your reference, five actions small and medium-sized business should take today to ensure current and future compliance…” Read on>>

3. Brinker Ruling: 5 Lunchtime Takeaways for California Employers 

“On April 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled in Brinker Restaurant Group v. Superior Court of San Diego that while employers are required to provide meal breaks to employees, they need not ensure that employees take them. It’s a significant ruling for California employers because it clarifies the rules regarding rest and meal breaks. Equally important, it eases burdens by allowing employers to provide breaks on a schedule that meets their business needs.” Read on>>

4. Employee Theft and Fraud in the Workplace: Legal Considerations

“Employee theft ranges from pilfering merchandise off the shelves to stealing trade secrets from your computers. No matter what the form of theft or fraud, it affects your bottom line in one way or another. And yet employers who attempt to terminate or prosecute an offending employee are faced with pitfalls that could make them defendants in a wrongful termination lawsuit, among other unwanted situations.” Read on>>

5. Federal Rule Bans Cell Phone Use by Commercial Drivers: 4 Things You Should Know

“In November 2011, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a final rule that places significant restrictions on commercial drivers who use the phone while driving. As of January 3, 2012, drivers of commercial motor vehicles may no longer use handheld devices at the wheel. For your reference, four things you should know about the ban…” Read on>>

6. Fired While on FMLA Medical Leave? It Can Happen…

“The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), enacted in 1993, provides employees with unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. The Act prohibits employers from firing workers who take leave for valid reasons. But there’s a thin line between authorized and unauthorized use of family medical leave, and dismissing employees for crossing it can leave employers exposed to claims of unlawful termination and retaliation.” Read on>>

7. Social Media in the Workplace: Lawyers Weigh In… [With Video]

“Much has been said lately about the dubious practice of asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews. But, as you can tell from our quick roundup below, this is not the only issue at the intersection of social media, your business governance policies, and the law. For your consideration…” Read on>>

8. Cloud Computing: An Update on Legal Issues

“Just because your business is in the cloud doesn’t mean your head needs to be there, too. For your reference, here’s a roundup of recent advisories and alerts touching upon the myriad legal issues that have emerged for businesses with the rise of cloud computing. Jurisdictional issues, security, privacy, the Patriot Act, and other international legal considerations – you should know…” Read on>>

9. Employment Background Checks: 5 Things You Can and Cannot Do

“When hiring new employees, it’s common for employers to want more information than an applicant provides. But it isn’t always clear what you can look for, where you can look, and what you can do with the information you find.” Read on>>

10. NLRB Says “No” to Confidentiality in Workplace Investigations?

“The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that healthcare provider Banner Health was not justified in enforcing a rule that prevented workers from discussing an internal investigation with colleagues. (The board said that such a rule violated employee rights to engage in protected concerted activity.) It’s an important decision affecting all businesses, because asking employees to maintain confidentiality in workplace investigations is a common technique for ensuring the integrity of those investigations.” Read on>>

11. Can We Use that Picture on Our Website? “Fair Use” in a Pinterest World

“Although the growing popularity of sharing sites like Pinterest might give the impression that photographs, drawings, videos, and other Internet content are free for the taking, nothing could be further from the truth.” Read on>>

12. Health Care Reform: Final Rules for SBC Released

“On February 14, 2012, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services published final regulations on the new Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) that insurers and group health plan administrators will be required to distribute later this year. Designed to provide clear and consistent information across health plans, the SBC will enable employers and participants to compare and understand the costs and benefits of different health coverage options.” Read on>>

13. Firing Up on the Job Can Still Get You Fired: What New Marijuana Laws Mean for Employers

“On November 6 of this year, voters in both Colorado and Washington approved initiatives to legalize the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. What do the new laws mean for employers in the states? Not much, write Nancy Delogu and Chris Leh of law firm Littler…” Read on>>

14. Non-Compete Laws: News from Texas and Beyond…

“The recent Texas Supreme Court non-compete decision has reversed years of favoring employees by limiting the circumstances under which these agreements are enforceable. Here is a digest of analysis on the Texas decision, advice on drafting non-competes, and regional reviews of the subject from lawyers on JD Supra.” Read on>>

15. Bring Your Own (Tech) Device to Work? That Could Be a Problem…

“I am writing this post on workplace issues while at work, but I’m using my personal laptop computer to do it. Could that be a problem? Potentially, yes. This issue (particular, of course, to our age of rampant technology) has been written about often enough to get its own acronym: BYOD (‘Bring Your Own Device’)…” Read on>>

Visit JD Supra for more law news and updates>>