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Legal Alert: NLRB Holds Employees May Use Employer Email Systems for Non-Work-Related Communications

In a reversal of precedent, a divided National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) held yesterday that employees have a right to use their employers’ email systems for non-business purposes, including statutorily protected communications regarding the terms and conditions of their employment and regarding union organizing efforts. See Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (December 11, 2014).  The NLRB’s ruling stemmed from a case brought by the Communications Workers of America union after it unsuccessfully attempted to organize employees of Purple Communications, Inc., a company that provides interpreting services for the deaf and hearing-impaired.  The union argued that prohibiting the company’s workers from using the company’s email system for non-business purposes and on behalf of organizations not associated with the company interfered with the CWA’s organizing efforts. 

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E-Discovery Vendor or Partner: It’s All in the Name

A quick glance at  Dictionary.com reveals the following definitions for the word ‘vendor’ vs. the word ‘partner’:

vendor:
-noun
1.        a person or agency that sells.

partner:
-noun
1.        a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate.

How do you and your organization view your relationship with your external e-discovery service provider(s), as those of a vendor, or those of a partner?  Frequently razzed about my overt avoidance of the word ‘vendor’ when seeking e-discovery RFP project consultations and bids at the onset of a new litigation matter, the word ‘vendor’ still never fails to leave a sour taste in my mouth. 

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