January 2011 Archives

Answer YES if your employer is not a...

Answer: YES....if your employer is not a government agency.Many employees think that they are protected by "freedom of speech" found in the First Amendment to the Constitution. This may be true if your employer is a government agency, however, the first amendment does not otherwise apply to non-government employers. If you work for a big corporation or a small company, they CAN fire you if you criticize them on Facebook or elsewhere. The reason for this is that most states have "employment at will" which allows an employer to fire employees at any time for any reason, or no reason at all. Facebook postings are NOT protected speech under the First Amendment when it concerns a job with a non-government employer.If a non-government employer fires you for Facebook comments, you may still be able to collect unemployment, because your exercise of free speech (especially if true) is typically not a legitimate grounds for termination. As such, the unemployment board will often allow unemployment compensation in this situation. Because of "employment at will", an employee will often have no remedy for being fired due to a Facebook posting or any other critical comment about their employer. In most states, the only remedies come from federal and state civil rights statutes, namely, discrimination based on age, race, sex, national origin, religion or disability. Unless you can connect your termination due to a Facebook posting to discrimination, there will generally be no valid claim for wrongful termination. It is important for employees to keep these general rules in mind when they seek to express their feelings about work, over the internet.________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or his website at Coane and Associates.

Immigration for Nurses

The New York Times had a front page story today about immigration and nurses in Japan. The article talked about the great need for nurses in Japan, and how the immigration system in Japan makes it virtually impossible for foreign nurses to work there. I thought I was reading about America, however!Here in the USA, we have had a huge nursing shortage for decades. Like most first-world countries, the USA has allowed foreign nurses to come and work here, but only under certain conditions. In the past 15 years, our Congress has made it virtually impossible to bring in foreign nurses, except under certain complicated circumstances where there is a quota that can take years. So, like Japan, the USA loses out on foreign nurses and they go to more progressive countries like Ireland, England, Australia, Germany, etc. The article even talked about the requirement for foreign nurses to pass a test in English, and how only 3 people passed last year. While we have a similar test in our country, fortunately a much greater percentage of foreign nurses pass it.Finally, it was interesting to note in today's article that, while it seemed to "bash" Japan for its strict immigration system and how it keeps out foreign nurses whose services are in great demand, the same could be said for the USA. And, like Japan, it is the nurses union that is most vociferous in speaking out against allowing foreign nurses to come in, for fear that their salaries will be affected.________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or his website at Coane and Associates.

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