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New Reports Show Compensation Is Key To Happiness For Cubs & In-House Counsel

Lawyers and bear lovers, come on down!

The latter, at least, is a phrase most people will remember from the iconic television game show The Price Is Right. Former host, Bob Barker, has fully embraced his second calling as an animal rights advocate.

Barker is providing $50,000 to a Manitoba couple to build the Canadian province’s first black bear cub rehabilitation center on their property, according to CBC News.

The couple, Judy and Roger Stearns, plan to take in orphaned cubs and care for the creatures until they reach a size and weight appropriate for re-release into the wild.

“My husband and I were going to be building the facility with our own funds,” said Judy Stearns on Wednesday (via CBC News).

“Now it can be that much larger and more complex, and we can help the bears even more. It’s fabulous.”

The center will be able to hold about 10 cubs in total. By caring for the cubs at the center, Judy and Roger Stearns, along with Barker’s financial assistance, will help spare them from being sent to a zoo or, worse yet, killed in an animal shelter.

“A life in captivity for bears is a life filled with suffering, so giving orphaned bear cubs a second chance at a life in the wild is a campaign worth supporting,” said Barker.

A life in captivity—not just for animals, but also attorneys—is what many in-house counsel fear these days, according to a recent survey.

Another Bob Barker—this one, a partner at the legal recruiting firm BarkerGilmrore—is looking to improve the lives of others. Instead of bears, he looks at barristers, conducting surveys that ask in-house counsel to compare themselves to firm lawyers by asking them to rate their pay relative to their “peers.”

According to Barker—the lawyer, not the animal-lover—respondents were free to interpret that word “peer” however they saw fit.

And, with that in mind, although salaries for in-house attorneys are on the rise, increasing by 4.2 percent across all industries, a surprising 44 percent of respondents considered their compensation, including cash bonuses and equity awards, “below or significantly below that of their peers,” reports Bloomberg Law.

In fact, roughly 40 percent said they were likely to consider a new position next year because of compensation issues, despite the fact that their career boasts a wage rate rising well above the 2015 national inflation rate of 0.1 percent.

Alas, corporate counsel can be such a bear. But, it doesn’t have to be.

The successful law firm manager knows how to:

  • Engage Employees
  • Promote Their Strengths
  • Motivate Them to Work Together
  • Maximizing Your Resources in Your Team
  • Handle Conflict in Your Team

This means, finding what inspires workers to be more productive, whether it’s a pro-bono pet project or flexible vacation policy.

A successful manager knows the personality traits of each employee and therefore how to promote their strengths. Spend more time investigating a person’s past to identify the specific skills—technical writing, diligent research, bi-lingual—that they can use in the future.

Finally, a productive law firm is one that promotes teamwork. Proper organization of case matters, standardization of documentation, an understanding of technology and other legal resources, and delegating tasks to the appropriate staff member are easier said than done. But, with proper strategies and training, your law associates don’t have to belong to that 40 percent seeking other employment.

Take the Center for Competitive Management’s webinar, “The Successful Manager’s Guide to Managing A Team.

Jam-packed with key strategies, practical tips, and techniques used by today’s top managers, this must-read guide explores:

  • Identifying Team Objectives
  • Teams Are Made of People
  • Managing Individuals
    • Engagement Strategies
    • Understanding Individual Needs
    • Different Personality Types
  • Managing the Team
  • Get To Know the Team
  • Maximizing Your Resources in Your Team
  • Improving Competencies within the Team
  • Identifying Growth Opportunities and Capacity Constraints in the Team
  • Handling Conflict in Your Team
  • Managing Difficult Employees

One of your most important roles as a manager is to make sure that your people have the support, tools, and resources they need to do their jobs. This essential guide outlines those six steps needed to equip your team for success.

Just one more thing… Bob Barker reminding you: Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.


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The Rise of Social Media Moguls & FTA Compliance: What Law Firms Should Explain To Clients

Some of the most influential people on the planet don’t sit in the White House or on a judge’s bench. They’re not necessarily famous faces on the television or popular singers of Top 40 radio.

The most powerful names today are often unrecognized and incognito—they’re the names of billionaire bloggers.

Social media has sprung a new type of celebrity. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s not a name most people would recognize, but he created a $60 million wine wholesale business after adding video blogs (he’s the host of Wine Library TV—it’s on the Internet) to his modest $3 million a year wine retail store. Ever since, Gary has been featured on GQ, Time Magazine, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

You may not think that the owner of is pocketing $50,000 a month. But, that’s exactly what Pat Flynn is doing with his inspirational story, which he first told on a blog. After Pat lost his job, he had to do something—anything—to provide for his family. He started to track his money-making projects online. However, soon the website gained notoriety due to its complete honesty and transparency about money. Now, Pat operates a podcast and, of course, still posts his income. Not too shabby.

For lawyers, the name Harvey Levin is household. The founder of is a lawyer, legal analyst, blogger and these days, celebrity reporter. TMZ is a infamous gossip website, on which Harvey is a host, guest, and certainly his own brand.

Finally, let’s look at one last rags-to-blog-riches story. Timothy Sykes, whose website is the not-so-subtle, transformed $12,000 of Bar-Mitzvah Money into over $1 million through smart Penny Stock trading. His blog still gets hundreds of thousands of visitors, which has allowed him to pivot into other businesses—launching companies like

The list of bloggers who dominate the financial world goes one. Read more at Lifehack here.

In fact, even lawyers are now viewing blogs as a key part of their online presence and business model.

But, the moral to learn from this story has nothing to do with wealth gained from websites. Instead, it’s about the morally tenuous link between being a social media influencer and advertiser.

See, social media moguls have a secondary profit line from their exposure: marketing products for companies.

No need to look further than the Kardashian/Jenner clan, explains Jane Genova for, a tribe that has been highly visible with X or Y product or service, which can be a well-compensated venture.

“The problem, though, Kathryn Rubino reports on Abovethelaw, is that those Kardashian/Jenner promotions are not labeled as such. Yet, each post aka “posing” can pay $300,000 to the tribe.

The folks in Truth in Advertising have sprung into action. They are pushing back on this. They want the influencer type of advertising explicitly labeled as such. However, they lack the power to prosecute. That could happen with the FTC.”

Actually, when talking about the Endorsement Guide, the FTC explicitly states that they apply to social media.

Yes. Truth in advertising is important in all media, whether they have been around for decades (like, television and magazines) or are relatively new (like, blogs and social media),” answers a representative on their website.

Then, however, they are quick to respond that they do not monitor blogger activities and whether they violate parts of the FTC act. Instead, if something comes to their attention, they’ll “evaluate them case by case.”

The Truth in Advertising campaign has taken up this cause, but Jane Genova has an idea:

“Truth in Advertising needs to assign some mystery shoppers to answer those help-wanted. Then blow up that game with an expose,” she proposes.

“Sponsored content—every type of it—must be labeled as such.”

And that’s a message all lawyers—knowledgeable on the ethics of marketing their own legal services—should convey to their clients.


Navigating social media ins-and-outs can be difficult.

Employees’ social media activities frequently play an important role in workplace investigations. Yet, when investigating harassment, discrimination or other employee-related claims employers must be aware of specific laws that restrict employers’ requests (and access to) an employee’s social media accounts and posts.

Fifteen states have passed laws that limit the employer’s authority over employees’ social media accounts, and many more are not far behind. No matter how serious the investigation, one peek at an employee’s social media account could become a costly, non-compliance nightmare!

Take The Center for Competitive Management’s webinar, “Workplace Investigations: Using Social Media Legally & Effectively while Limiting Risk,” to learn more about employers need to know about using social media in internal workplace investigations, and offers best practice solutions for conducting workplace investigations legally and effectively.

The course will address:

  • Key restrictions under state social media laws
  • Legal pitfalls to avoid when conducting discrimination investigations in the workplace
  • How to conduct compliant discrimination/harassment/threat/defamation investigations
  • When you can and cannot ask for an employee’s passwords
  • What employee conduct the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protects and the finer points of the guidelines it has provided.
  • Employee privacy dangers and what defines a ‘Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’
  • Discussion of cases where social media was misused
  • Broader implications for using social media in applicant screening/hiring
  • What multi-state employers must consider when drafting social media policies for investigations
  • Steps to take right away to be sure your current social media and investigation practices and policies are compliant
  • And more!

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How Robot Lawyers Are Defeating Traffic Tickets: Translating Millennial Beliefs & Bots Into Firm Profitability

An Internet bot, also known as web robot, or simply a bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks, called scripts, over the Internet, which are otherwise simple or structurally repetitive (enter paper shuffling sounds).

Sounds like something you’d want in a law office, doesn’t it?

It turns out, somebody else thought so, too. Joshua Browder, a Stanford student born in the United Kingdom, created a “bot attorney” to help hundreds of people dispute parking tickets in London and New York City.

In fact, Browder told Venture Beat that he had successfully challenged 160,000 of 250,000 British parking tickets as of June with his bot DoNotPay. The same parking-lot hero bot helped 9,000 New Yorkers.

Here’s how it works. You log on to and chat with a bot (don’t forget, he’s just an automated robot) that asks questions like, “Was it hard to understand the signs?” or “Do you think the parking lot was too small.” If a parking lot is legally too small, it is unreasonable to ticket drivers.

“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society,” said Browder.

“These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government.”

And that’s how bots help busy drivers.

But that’s not the only area where the Victor Frankenstein of legal help hopes to affect change.

“I feel like there’s a gold mine of opportunities because so many services and information could be automated using AI [artificial intelligence], and bots are a perfect way to do that, and it’s disappointing at the moment that it’s mainly used for commerce transactions by ordering flowers and pizzas,” Bowder said to Venture Beat.

As a result, Browder is working on a bot to help people with HIV understand their legal rights, a bot to help collect compensation for people whose flights were delayed beyond four hours, and a bot that helps refugees apply for asylum (part of the Highland Capital summer startup accelerator program). For the latter, Bowder will use IBM’s Watson to translate from Arabic to English.

Bowder and his bots are a bone fide legal aids at this point; In August, Bowder unveiled a bot to help people apply for emergency housing. His pro bono actions will help combat homelessness in a way thousands of law school grads could not.

By consulting some real-life lawyers and analyzing FOIA-obtained documents, Bowder hopes to “figure out trends in why public housing applications are approved or denied,” according to Slate.

Although this latter venture may require less automation and more human attorneys to take full effect, it’s an amazing start to ending a real-world epidemic.

Outsourcing repetitive work to robot lawyers can no longer be seen as a trend to look out for; it’s a reality (law) practice faces today.

Did you first hear about “bots” from your Millennial colleagues? Millennials, the group of tech-toting, flip-flop wearing adults born after 1980, have been the subject of eye-rolling. They’ve been stereotyped as expecting rewards just for participating and believing that spending long hours at the office is overrated.

Yet, legal professionals say that depiction as applied to their younger colleagues is wrong. In fact, they may work differently, taking full advantage of technology, like bots, making them smart and productive.

Properly incentivizing and compensating this new generation of lawyers is essential for your firm’s profitability, retention and key to attracting like-minded clients.

Take C4CM’s webinar, “Compensating Millennial Associates: Customizing Compensation and Rewards for Increased Productivity and Firm Profitability,” and explore real-life methods for embracing the goals, expectations and ambitions of today’s millennial associates, and how to ‘meet in the middle’ when it comes to compensating this new generation.

During this power-packed session, our expert faculty will examine the most current factors affecting millennial associate compensation, including:

  • Specific non-monetary rewards that are certain to improve job satisfaction
  • Why tiered compensation works for millennials, and how to structure it properly
  • Details on the types of alternative compensation models firms are using and how these alternatives compensate millennial associates
  • Beyond compensation increases, what matters most to millennial associates
  • Types of goals and initiatives to set forth for millennial lawyers, and three crucial ways to reward achievements

Plus, in just 75 minutes, you will learn: 

  • Surprising attitudes millennial lawyers have about total compensation
  • Who millennial lawyers are, and how they differ from other generations in terms of pay
  • Common misconceptions and truths about millennials lawyers
  • Mentoring, evaluations, and feedback tips that emphasize professionalism and increase associate self sufficiency

The Center for Competitive Management (C4CM) provides you, today’s business professional, with the information you need to stay on top of your career. C4CM is dedicated to bringing you the information you need to succeed. Our many products include audio conferences, Training Resources, conferences, research papers and more.


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The Future of Technology In Law: Should Your Law Firm Build A Balcony For Drone Landings?

Is it time for luxury apartments to start offering balconies for drone landings? Some people think so.

Charles Bombardier, mechanical engineer, wrote an article for Wired Magazine touting just that. He opens his persuasive article with the question: “Make no mistake: Drones are coming, and they’re going to change a lot of things about how we shape our lives. So why shouldn’t we change how we shape our buildings to get ready for them?”

Drone Tower—that’s what we’d call it. As Americans mentally prepare for Amazon packages or their next grocery order delivered via drone to their doorstep, engineers are technically ready and already making plans to incorporate this technology in consumer life.

At one point, it seemed far-fetched that information could travel from a computer to portable music player or mobile phone through a USB port, let alone charge the device completely, but now USB ports are built into every new electric socket of your house.

So the idea of drone landing strip in your home may seem a bit futuristic now, but it’s hardly far out.

In fact, 65 percent of Americans already believe that within 50 years robots and computers will “definitely” or “probably” do much of the work currently done by humans, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center.

With so many technology advances in the law industry of late, it’s easy to see why the majority of Americans consider lawyers replaceable.

Over the past decade, for example, court reporters and deposition stenographers have been replaced by real-time, digitally-recorded transcripts. And, first-year associates—once bogged down with mounds of paper Discovery—are, instead, being substituted for computer software.

Automated indexing and keyword searches in eDiscovery software make it possible to conduct hours of billable work in a matter of minutes. In a 2011 article in The New York Times titled, “Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software,” author John Markoff reported that Blackstone Discovery, out of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.

“From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out,” said Bill Herr to Markoff in The New York Times.

Herr, as a lawyer at a major chemical company, used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. Now?

“People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.”

Another Silicon Valley e-discovery company, Clearwell developed software that analyzes documents and identifies concepts, as opposed to simple keywords. In 2010, law firm DLA Piper used Clearwell software to search through a half-million documents under a court-imposed deadline of one week in just two days. Talk about streamlined (and mechanized) operations.

Are androids, not attorneys, powering the legal industry?

“The legal profession needs to do a better job as a whole of embracing and leveraging technology,” asserts Brian Powers, attorney and founder of legal tech startup PactSafe, to the Indiana Lawyer.

“The firms and lawyers who do both of those over then next 25 years are the ones that will be thriving. The rest will be extinct.” 

The future is here for legal technology. Although your law firm may not need a drone-landing balcony quite yet, it’s safe to say, we’re not that far off.


Need help getting started incorporating legal tech in your practice? Take a look at The Center For Competitive Management’s offerings here.

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When Is Discipline For Political-Related Behavior Appropriate & Legal? How To Have Controversial Conversations In The Workplace

Should We Respect A Law No One Follows?” is the deliberately inflammatory question titling a blog post by Matt Kaiser on Above The Law blog today.

He introduces the topic of respecting laws that are meant to be broken with a few personal stories, among them:

“At some point, I started running an experiment to see how long it would take for a middle-aged white guy in a Prius with a suspended license to get pulled over.

It took about 20 months.

I was given a warning. Which I am grateful for.

Speeding is an odd offense. Under a certain point, no one thinks that speeding is morally problematic. And no one thinks that you should actually drive exactly the speed limit—going 56 in a 55 is illegal, sure, but it isn’t really illegal.”

After other anecdotal evidence, from bogus traffic tickets, speed cameras, or guys being prosecuted for killing fish facing 20-year sentences, the post concludes, “Virtually no one follows the law to its letter. No one respects the law. Do we promote it by slamming the unlucky few?”

“Or, rather, would it be better—if we worry about respect for the law—to write laws that are actually enforced as written?”

It’s easy to sucked into Kaiser’s argument. Anybody who has ever been ticketed for jaywalking, or actually given a $50 fine for throwing out “household trash” in a public street garbage bin, understands the predicament of enforcing laws that don’t really describe illicit behavior.

There are some stranger laws, too, that will rarely be enforced but remain on the books. For example, in Woburn, Massachusetts, it’s illegal to drink alcohol while standing up. Or, in West Lafayette, Ohio, it’s illegal to keep ducks as pets (an Iraq War vet was actually fined for it once).

If you care to look, there are likely dozens of laws that are outdated in your local precinct.

Nevertheless, respect for the law should not be a personal decision, it’s a criminal one—obey the rules or submit to the consequences. What exactly is Matt Kaiser arguing here? (Actually, Kaiser is most peeved about speed cameras, which he calls “a moral abomination that is offensive to the idea of a free society,” but we digress.)

Matt Kaiser, ATL author, writes about white-collar crime from a defense-attorney point-of-view. He has represented stockbrokers, tax preparers, doctors, drug dealers, and political appointees in federal investigations and indicted cases, according to his ATL bio.

Although you may or may not agree with Kaiser’s take on the law, he probably sounds like a few—if not many—of your peers.

Law firm associates love to talk about controversial cases and news items. The more inflammatory the debate, the better.

Whether it’s the current U.S. Presidential candidates, the newest judge appointments, or discussions about whether or not that Trump supporter who suction-cupped his way up Trump tower yesterday should be prosecuted, these topics are provocative and also occupying. Everybody has an opinion.

So what happens when political talk interrupts workflow or escalates to bad behavior? It may surprise you to know that there’s a host of legal concerns surrounding barring political talk or disciplining employees for engaging in political behavior in the office.

To avoid these legal landmines, take C4CM’s webinar, “Politics in the Workplace: How to Legally Manage Politically Charged Activity at Work,” on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 2:00 PM To 3:15 PM Eastern. In it you will learn what employers can do to manage political activity in the workplace, including: 

  • What employers can do to manage political discussions and fundraising
  • How to address political discussions in the workplace under federal and state laws
  • What employers should never do when it comes to political activities or chatter
  • How the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies
  • How the new SCOTUS ruling Heffernan vs. City of Paterson impacts employers
  • When an employee’s political discussion is protected by the First Amendment

By the end of the information-packed session, you will know more about:

  • When discipline for political-related behavior is appropriate and legal
  • What defines political harassment in the workplace
  • What constitutes business harm from employee’s political speech
  • How to handle controversial or political social media posts by an employee
  • How to handle office sponsored political functions supported by management
  • Dress code do’s and don’ts as they apply to political speech 

It’s ok to ask the question. But, as a law firm manager, you should know the liability issues that come along with answering.



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ABA Adopts Disputed Antidiscrimination Rule: The Law Finally Catches Up To Businesses It Represents

A new ethics rule by the American Bar Association (A.B.A.) sounds more like a satirical headline than a legitimate news article: “The [A.B.A.] says it is professional misconduct to discriminate against or harass opposing counsel, or anyone else for that matter, in the course of practicing law,” writes The New York Times and not, surprisingly, the Onion.

“It is time for the A.B.A. to catch up,” Myles Lynk, chair of the A.B.A.’s ethics committee, said during debate over the rule Monday (via the WSJ Law Blog).

The “new” ethics rule now prevents comments or actions that single out a person based on race, religion, sex, disability or other factors (duh!). Although almost two dozen U.S. State bars, including the District of Columbia, have already enacted such a rule, there was never a national ban on such behavior.

Without a strict rule prohibiting demeaning and misogynist behavior or parlance, it has been easy for opposing counsel or others in the legal profession to use it as an intimidation tactic with zero to no consequences.

“I got the pat on the head,” Jenny Waters, chief executive of the National Association of Women Lawyers, explained to The New York Times earlier this month, discussing a memorable incident while working in private practice (via the Huffington Post). Other attorneys also spoke of receiving “grating” remarks or being victims of demeaning actions, such as having an arm draped around their shoulders.

Shocking as it may seem, the rule has been controversial, igniting debate in the legal industry for months. Some claim the rule limits a lawyer’s personal freedom to practice law as he sees fit. But, to most, the rule was long overdue—now limiting hackneyed “honeys” and “darlings” to courtroom dramas, rather than courtrooms.

“I think it’s absolutely shameless that as lawyers we’re not the model for how businesses should run,” New York lawyer Wendi Lazar told the Wall Street Journal a few months earlier.

Nevertheless, opponents of the rule were able to dampen the language of the original text; in the end, the rule only applies where “the lawyer knows or reasonably should know [behavior] is harassment or discrimination,” which is a demonstratively weaker version than the original, reports the WSJ Law Blog.

Luckily, the rule still spells out what constitutes sexual harassment and which settings are included in this when it comes to practicing law. For example, settings include the courtroom, as well as “interacting with witnesses, co-workers, court personnel, lawyers and others” and “managing a law practice or law firm” or “participating in bar association, business or social activities in connection with the practice of law.”

On that, there seems to be no debate.

“Half my students are women. A quarter are students of color,” legal ethics expert Stephen Gillers, of New York University School of Law, told the Wall Street Journal (via the Huffington Post).

“The ABA has looked to them like an organization of old white guys. This vote will help.”

Let’s hope so. It’s about time.


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Silver-Linings Playbook? Olympic Upsets, Rio Controversy & Managing Politically-Charged Activities In The Workplace

They say, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. But for a few Olympic athletes knocked out in the first rounds of Rio competition, that’s easier said than done.

In tennis, tears were shed on both sides of the court—for Juan Martin del Potro, they were tears of joy at his surprising defeat of frontrunner Novak Djokovic, and for Djokovic, tears of disappointment after his dreams were dashed.

“No doubt it’s one of the toughest losses of my life, in my career,” Djokovic said after the match (via Rolling Stone). 

“It’s not the first or the last time I’m losing a tennis match but Olympic Games, yeah, it’s completely different.”

Djokovic can still snag an Olympic medal in men’s doubles with his partner Nenad Zimonjic, which remains the silver lining after such a clear upset for the gold medalist.

It is rare that the clear favorite goes out in the first round of competition, but the same thing happened in women’s tennis this year. Venus and Serena Williams lost in the first-round at Rio against Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, who defeated the infamous sisters 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday (via Bleacher Report).

The three-time doubles gold medalists will go home without a victory for the first time in their Olympic careers. The good news? Now Venus can prepare for the U.S. Open, where she will enter at her highest ranking since 2011, without further distraction in politically-charged Rio.

In fact, the Rio Olympics has stirred nothing but controversy since it started. The first American gold metal in the games came from shooter Ginny Thrasher, who set an Olympic record of 208.0 in the 10-meter air rifle event, snagging victory in scandalous upset. Instead of cheers, Thrasher got jeers from gun control activists overshadowing the win with discussions about gun rights and associated political debates.

“I just tried to focus on the competition,” said Thrasher about the political distraction (via USA Today).

Nevertheless, the attention her sport gained via the controversy is clear. Air rifle events have never gained so many headlines. 

Outside Olympic rifle ranges and inside law firm boardrooms, what happens when political talk interrupts workflow or escalates to bad behavior?

As an employer trying to retain productivity, keep the peace, and avoid legal landmines can be more challenging than you may think. There are rules for what employers can and can’t do to manage political activity in the workplace, including:

  • How to manage political discussions and fundraising
  • How to address political discussions in the workplace under federal and state laws
  • How the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies
  • How the new SCOTUS ruling Heffernan vs. City of Paterson impacts employers
  • When an employee’s political discussion is protected by the First Amendment 

To learn how to avoid being the target of bad policies and possible lawsuits, take C4CM’s webinar, “Politics in the Workplace: How to Legally Manage Politically Charged Activity at Work,” on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 2:00 PM To 3:15 PM EasternBy the end of the information-packed session, you will know more about:

  • When discipline for political-related behavior is appropriate and legal
  • What defines political harassment in the workplace
  • What constitutes business harm from employee’s political speech
  • How to handle controversial or political social media posts by an employee
  • How to handle office sponsored political functions supported by management
  • Dress code do’s and don’ts as they apply to political speech

For now, no need to be upset by Olympic upsets—for each competitor, losing gold may lead to even better silver linings.


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