08-07-2020  2:16 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Reimagine Oregon Issues Equity Demands, Gains Legislative Support

Coalition of Black-led and Black-focused organizations takes new approach to concrete change 

Oregon Criminal Justice Commission: Initiative Petition 44 Will Nearly Eliminate Racial Disparities for Drug Arrests, Convictions

The initiative would expand access to drug addiction treatment and recovery services, and decriminalize low-level drug possession.

Inslee, Culp Advance to November Ballot in Governor's Race

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Portland Police Declare Unlawful Assembly During Protest

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NEWS BRIEFS

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Barbara Bush Foundation Partners with Barbershop Books and Penguin to Provide Child-Friendly Reading Spaces in Baltimore and Detroit Barbershops

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All Classical Portland Awards Grant to Support Emmanuel Henreid's 'Livin' in the Light'

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State reports 11 cases of inflammatory pediatric syndrome

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Portland protesters cause mayhem again, police officer hurt

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — About 200 people, some wielding homemade shields, clashed with police early Friday for the third consecutive night as two other Black Lives Matter rallies proceeded peacefully elsewhere in the city, authorities said.The demonstration with unrest came hours after the...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

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OPINION

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Bill Deiz urges Oregonians to Defend their Constitutional Rights

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The Power of Love

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AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Bradshaw overcomes odds to win Tenn. Senate nomination

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Michigan county official defends slur, says he's not racist

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State chief justice blasts small-time thief's life sentence

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man caught with stolen hedge clippers decades ago must continue to serve his life sentence, despite a stinging dissent from the chief justice of Louisiana’s Supreme Court, who said the sentence was the result of laws rooted in racism.Justice Bernette Johnson, the...

ENTERTAINMENT

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Phelps, Ohno open up about suicide, depression in new doc

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Former President Bush pays tribute to immigrants in new book

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U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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President's virus swagger fuels anger ahead of Belarus vote

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Alpine glacier in Italy threatens valley, forces evacuations

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By The Skanner News

WASHINGTON (AP) – Employers should think twice before trying to restrict workers from talking about their jobs on Facebook or other social media.

That's the message the government sent on Monday as it settled a closely watched lawsuit against a Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she went on Facebook to criticize her boss.

The National Labor Relations Board sued the company last year, arguing the worker's negative comments were protected speech under federal labor laws. The company claimed it fired the emergency medical technician because of complaints about her work.

Under the settlement with the labor board, American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. agreed to change its blogging and Internet policy that barred workers from disparaging the company or its supervisors. The company also will revise another policy that prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the Internet without permission.

Both policies interfered with longstanding legal protections that allow workers to discuss wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers, the board said.

"I think it certainly sends a message about what the NLRB views the law to be," said Jonathan Kreisberg, the NLRB regional director in Hartford who approved the settlement.

"The fact that they agreed to revise their rules so that they're not so overly restrictive of the rights of employees to discuss their terms and conditions with others and with their fellow employees is the most significant thing that comes out of this," Kreisberg said.

Terms of a private settlement agreement between the employee, Dawnmarie Souza, and the company were not disclosed, but Kreisberg said the parties reached a financial settlement. Souza will not be returning to work there.

Souza declined a request for comment. A representative for American Medical Response did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Souza posted the Facebook comments in 2009 from her home computer, hours after her supervisor said a customer had complained about her work. The expletive-filled posting referred to her supervisor using the company's code for a psychiatric patient. Her remarks at the time drew supportive posts from colleagues.

Chuck Cohen, a labor and employment lawyer and former NLRB member during the Clinton administration, said the case will have employers around the country re-examining their Internet policies

"It clearly has resonance because we know the NLRB's general counsel is going to take this position," Cohen said.

But Cohen warned that the case doesn't give employees free rein to discuss anything work-related on social media.

"The line can go over to disloyalty or disclosure of truly confidential information," Cohen said. "This is not without boundaries, but we just don't have a good sense yet of where the boundaries are."

Millions of Americans use Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Kreisberg said the board is looking at a growing number of complaints that explore the limits of corporate Internet policies. The board is an independent agency that supervises union elections, referees labor-management disputes and works to prevent unfair labor practices in the private sector.

Sara Begley, a Philadelphia-based employment lawyer, says image-conscious companies may be taken by surprise that the law protecting employees who want to discuss working conditions extends to social media sites, which can potentially be viewed by thousands or even millions of people.

"I think it's a natural evolution that the law is being broadly interpreted to include social media considering that it's become one of the most prevalent methods of communication," she said

 

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