The current Form I-9 expires August 31, 2012 – but an extension of the Form has been granted!

August 22, 2012 at 1:22 am | Posted in agriculture, E-Verify, Employee, Employer, Employment Law, H2-A, I9, Immigration, New employment laws/amendments | Leave a comment

Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on the forms section of http://www.uscis.gov.  This particular I-9 Form should continue to be used even after the OMB control number expiration date of August 31, 2012 has passed. The Immigration Service will provide updated information about the new version of the Form I-9 as it becomes available.  We waited well over ten years for the last revision so I am not particularly optimistic that a new version will be issued anytime soon.

Employers must complete Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees within 72 hours of commencement of employment to verify the employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States.

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Manatee County Teacher who posted unflattering comments about a student on Facebook is not disciplined by the Florida Department of Education

August 11, 2012 at 1:39 am | Posted in Employee, Employer, Employment Law, Facebook, Legal, Social Media/Social Networking, union | Leave a comment

The Florida Department of Education has declined to apply discipline to Lauren Orban, the Manatee County Music Teacher who made snarky comments on her personal Facebook page regarding a student in her class.  The Manatee County Superintendent, Tim McGonegal, had previously asserted that teachers were governed 24/7 by the amorphous  Teacher Code of Conduct such that Ms. Orban’s conduct could be sanctionable.  This author respectfully disagrees that someone’s status as a teacher means they can’t ever be frustrated with a student, or that they can never think an unflattering thought about a student.  Ms. Orban made a poor judgment call in sharing work related comments with social network “friends”, not all of whom were necessarily inclined to keep her comments confidential.  While the First Amendment does not usually apply to your employer’s premises, this writer would argue it does apply to a personal web page created during personal time and accessed and used during non-work hours.

It is significant that the Manatee County School Board does not currently have in place a social media policy.  This lack of a policy could have had an impact on the DOE’s decision not to assess discipline against Ms. Orban; without a policy in place to provide guidance to teachers, teachers are not aware of the rules that could be applied to their personal web usage – on their own personal time.

In this case, Ms. Orban was disciplined by her Principal.  The matter was thought to have been resolved at that level, but the student’s Mother was unhappy with what she perceived to be a lack of punishment for Ms. Orban.  Publicity ensued, a report was made to DOE, and the DOE  just recently refused to further sanction any of the teachers involved in making the Facebook comments.  For want of a social media, a child was embarrassed, a teacher’s reputation was harmed, and a School District was maligned.

This unfortunate situation shows the need for employers – public and private sector – to have clearly defined policies as to the employer’s guidelines – and prohibitions – when using social media.

For more information, please refer to the recent Sarasota Herald Tribune article:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120808/ARTICLE/120809646

Also see ABC 7’s site for an article and an interview with me on this topic:

http://www.mysuncoast.com/content/topstories/story/What-you-can-safely-say-on-social-media/aOaZBBBvAUqDK_gmqpyS1g.cspx

 

 

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