Category Archives: Constitutional Law

The Supreme Court’s Refusal to Hear Case Involving the Illinois Eavesdropping Act

By Courtney Elliott, Albany Government Law Review

In recent years, courts have had to examine wiretap statutes in relation to recording law enforcement officers during the performance of their job duties.[1]  Most Americans now carry at least one mobile device capable of recording audio and video with the simple click of a button.[2]  Several commentators have observed that it is now common for citizens to use video cameras to document daily life, as well as police activity.[3]  On November 26, 2012, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case of Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois,[4] leaving in place a federal appeals court’s injunction against an Illinois anti-eavesdropping law which criminalizes audio recording of part or all of a conversation unless all parties involved agree to the recording.[5]

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Government Reform

NLRB’s Reports on Social Media Policies: When Are Employers Crossing the Line and What Must Employers Consider?

By Hanok George, Albany Government Law Review

Introduction

Social media has become a topic of increasing interest among employers, as the employees’ statements within such media can have wide ranging impacts upon the employer.[1]  These statements can reach millions of people— including customers, venders, suppliers and many others.[2]  Due to the broad sweeping impacts associated with social media, employers have created social media policies for employees that restrict the employees’ ability to divulge work-related information on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.[3]  However, these policies walk a fine line between protecting the employer’s interests and infringing on the employees’ rights to concerted activity under Section seven of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).[4]  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found many employers’ social media policies to constitute unfair labor practices.[5]   Continue reading

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Technology Law

The Supreme Court and the “Ministerial Exception”: Protecting Freedom of Religion? or Permitting the Disguise of Employee Discrimination?

By Anjalee Daryani, Albany Government Law Review

On January 11, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision concerning religious liberty.  The Court recognized for the first time a “ministerial exception,” precluding employment discrimination claims in the context of “the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers.”[1]  The case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was instituted on behalf of a teacher who was employed by a Lutheran school and had been fired for threatening to file a lawsuit for the church’s violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).[2]  The Supreme Court acknowledged that the interference by states into a religious groups’ employment decision, would be an intrusion on the internal governance of a religious organization, and as a result would be infringing upon their rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.[3] Continue reading

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Education Law, Employment Law, Religion

NLRB Strikes Down Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Preventing Class Action, What Should Employers Do?

By Hanok George, Albany Government Law Review

On January 3, 2012, in D.R. Horton, Inc. and Michael Cuda, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that certain mandatory arbitration agreements that prevent employees from filing group or class actions in a judicial forum violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).[1]  The ruling essentially bans employment agreements used by many companies that require employees to individually arbitrate all work-related claims.[2]  The Board’s ruling significantly alters what has become a “common dispute resolution practice for many employers” and is effectively skirting the U.S. Supreme Court’s favorable outlook towards arbitration of employment claims.[3]  Companies are undoubtedly angered by this new decision; many denounced the ruling saying “it is an invitation to vast class action lawsuits on issues that could be resolved out of court.”[4]  It is also argued by the respondent in this case and by supporting amici that this decision is in conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).[5]  However, the Board holds that its ruling is not in violation of either statute.  In light of this decision, what should employers do to protect their arbitration agreements? Continue reading

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Uncategorized