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When a call comes in requesting an employment reference, employers often say too little out of fear of lawsuits. To make matters worse, gone are the days of writing your worst employee a glowing reference, a la Bartleby, the Scrivener, so you don't have to feel guilty about kicking them to the curb for poor performance.

Believe it or not, providing a good reference for a bad employee can get you sued. Have you heard the one about the company that failed to disclose during a reference check that the employee in question was fired for drug use on the job? That company got sued.

So what's a company to do? Change their policy?

Professional development is a major key to success, not just for lawyers, but also across many industries. Many firms and organizations happily pay for professional development that is related to your position, or to help you advance within the firm or company. Some will even provide employees with their own budget for any kind of education.

But, when your firm or company won't foot the bill for courses to help you advance, let alone your CLEs, do you really owe it to them to do job-related development? What about when they're only willing to pay for job-related courses?

Can You Use Keylogger Software on Employees?

If you want to spy on your employees, can you consider using keylogger software? The answer is "no" because they have privacy rights.

However, you can use keylogger software if you tell your workers first. That's not spying. That's protecting the company.

Will Grubhub Trial Resolve Independent Contractor Question?

Silicon Valley lawyers have their eyes on Grubhub, one of the hottest, publicly traded tech companies on Wall Street.

It's not because the company can get them lunch faster than an elevator on a San Francisco high rise. It's because Grubhub's business model is on trial in a California courtroom.

And the legal question -- whether its drivers are employees or independent contractors -- could redefine the "gig economy."

Does Your Company Have an Anti-Harassment Policy for LGBT?

In recent legal evolution, few subjects have changed as much as gender rights.

When a man can become a woman, for example, it represents a 180-degree turn-around that can be dizzying. It cuts across fields as broad as constitutional rights, civil rights, privacy rights, health care, and family law.

In the midst of it all, there is the workweek life of the employer trying to keep their company's anti-harassment policy up to date. This article can help with that. is about considering an anti-gender harassment policy.

Summer vacation requests aren't normally handled by in-house counsel, but there may be rare times when your input is sought on a vacation request denial. While you can still make HR be the bad guys, if the request is being denied outside normal policy, or there is no policy, then you might have your work cut out for you.

Regardless, if a manager or a member of human resources is bringing you a vacation request to deny, you may want to take a closer look at the true motivation. If the denial is motivated by discrimination or retaliation, it could lead to more than just an unhappy employee, but government agency complaints and lawsuits.

Does Company Culture Matter? Ask Uber

A week before Uber's founder resigned under pressure from investors, a board member blurted out a sexist remark at a staff meeting.

David Bonderman was meeting with fellow board member Arianna Huffington and others on the same day a law firm released a report on sexual harassment and gender bias at the company. Huffington said that having one woman on the board often leads to another.

"Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking," Bonderman said.

Essential Management Skills to Limit Employee Turnover

Robots may take over many jobs in the future, but one position is not going to an automaton: personnel manager.

After all, you can't really expect a robot to have empathy with a human. The human touch is so important that, according to studies, employees often quit just to "get away" from a manager who doesn't care about them.

Based on a Gallup study of 7,272 adults on the "State of the American Workplace," here are some characteristics to look for in a manager to avoid employee turnover.

Creativity Required for Creating New Jobs as Robots Take Old Ones

Technology is like an unstoppable wave, rushing upon the shore and scattering countless grains of sand.

In the same way, technology will wash away workers in the coming economic sea change. Smart machines will take their jobs, and they will need new ones.

Darlene Damm, writing for the Harvard Business Review, says it's time for companies to get creative.

Fake Email Puts Barclays CEO on the Spot

At a roast, at least one joke cuts so close that the audience laughs only because people aren't sure how to react.

It happened at a roast recently for Jes Staley, chief executive officer for Barclays. The bank was hosting its annual shareholder meeting, where Staley got the brunt of jokes about a prankster who fooled him with a message posing as the bank's chairman.

Staley had to laugh it off for the shareholders, but the spoofed email was a serious matter. It resulted in a government investigation and a pay cut for Staley over the way he handled it.