Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, August 20, 2012

Readers' Requests: Nannies' Rights and Mental Illness in Academia


This may be a first in 10 years of blogging, but I have recently received two (non-spam) requests for certain stories to be posted here that I have decided to follow.

Unlike the requests which are clearly shot-gunned to a number of bloggers since they have no relevance to a blog focused on employment law, these two are relevant.  One is from a for profit company and the other from a law student.

From the for profit world, is a request to link to an article on the employment law rights of nannies.  Because wage and hour law for nannies can be tricky, I would not without checking (which I have not) vouch for all the wage and hour advice, but I think it is a worthwhile post. Although nannies vary widely in age and sophistication, it is sometimes an entry into the workforce and being knowledgeable of one's rights is important. 

If interested see, Employment Rights All Nannies Need to Know.

This is also in a very small way a tribute to my mother, who paid our part-time maid in cash, but had a separate jar that she set aside to put the withholding for social security among other things that she dutifully reported. It was a way to both comply with the law and educate on how social security etc worked to someone who had probably never been paid properly before. For a small town in Texas in the 50's I have to believe that doing so, like my mother who got her doctorate at age 60, was unique.

The second request is from a law student, who self-identifies as having a mental illness and requests I post a link to a critique of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the way it deals with mental illness. The author, Gregory M. Duhl, identifies himself as a "law professor with Borderline Personality Disorder."

Here's the abstract:
This essay is about “madness” in higher education. In Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability in Academic Life, Professor Price analyzes the rhetoric and discourse surrounding mental disabilities in academia. In this essay, I place Price’s work in a legal context, suggesting why the Americans with Disabilities Act fails those with mental illness and why reform is needed to protect them. My own narrative as a law professor with Borderline Personality Disorder frames my critique. Narratives of mental illness are important because they help connect those who are often stigmatized and isolated due to mental illness and provide a framework for them to overcome barriers limiting their equal participation in academic life.
Here is the link to: Over the Borderline: A Review of Margaret Price's Mad at School: Rhetoric of Mental Disability in Academic Life.

Although I have not read the essay, certainly the object of minimizing the stigma and isolation of those with mental illness is a noble one.

Thanks to my readers who made the requests.


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Sunday, August 19, 2012

A New Source of Business: TMI


Truth be told, people who do what I do, represent employers in disputes with their employees really don't need new sources of business. Still an article in today's New York Times, Sharing Too Much Information in the Workplace, relays complaints by older managers about comments made by 20 year olds in the workplace, indicates there's always some trend that ends up resulting in more lawsuits.

Some e.g. - asking a manufacturing manager how many times they can miss work before they will get fired or advising that they are seeking another job that will take 6 to 8 months to land. And those are just the not very politic ones by kids who obviously are not sensitive to the ways managers think.

Terminations are the primary driver of employment law litigation and the folks who get terminated are the ones who do stupid things or don't fit in. TMI can often put you squarely in both camps.


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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Difference an Ocean Makes


I have recently started receiving email updates from The Global Legal Post, a publication that purports to cover the legal community world-wide. In March 2012, they incorporated the European Lawyer into the publication and so it definitely has a European/British flavor to its reporting.

Which made me smile today when my email contained this teaser:
Row over non-lawyer ownership of legal firms The US's largest legal profession trade union is in disarray over the contentious issue of non-lawyer ownership of law firms, with its senior figures unable to agree a policy.

Not because the American Bar Association is having trouble reaching consensus on an issue, but the description of it as the "largest legal profession trade union." My emphasis.

I am quite sure that many lawyers, and not just at management side employment law boutiques, would be surprised to think of themselves as "trade unionists." But maybe a different way of thinking of ourselves would not be an entirely bad thing.


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