Employers Can Control Political Talk On The Job!

August 25, 2008

With the Presidential election fast approaching, and in the aftermath of the Democratic race and current convention, we have been asked in the past if an employer can prohibit political talk in the workplace. Absolutely! The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does gurantee freedom of speech to protect the individual against adverse action by the government. The employer is considered a “private person” and as a result can tell staff to quell such discussions because they can be time consuming. The only exception to this rule are people associated with political campaigns etc.

Not to mislead you, I want it clearly understood that there are certain communications that are protected. I am simply focusing this article on “Political Talk” because an employer can call employees on the carpet for disruptive speech associated with politics.

It is also important to note, since we have clients in many different states, that these laws can vary from state-to-state. As an example, under the California Labor Code, it is unlawful for an employer, by regulation or policy, to forbid or prevent an employee from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming a candidate for public office, or to attempt to control or direct their political activities or affiliations away from work.

As a final comment, the California Court of Appeal said it all when they held; “Unless specifically provided by state law, employers are not required to acknowledge their employees’ exercise of free speech at work.”

If you have any questions please let us know.


The Book Launch Was A Roaring Success!!

August 25, 2008

Just wanted to say “Thank You” once again to those who attended my book launch! Barnes & Noble had previously informed us that normally only 15 to 20 people attended book signings! We had over 100 and of the 125 books that we convinced them to bring, 125 were sold!! We now have an additional list for those who want an autographed copy! Send an email to Brenda (pottshr@pacbell.net) and we will forward it to you when the shipment comes in. The cost is around $15.00.

Anyway, we had such notables as Judge Terry Bork, a high profile case judge, representatives from the Federal Prosecutor’s office, Attorney General’s office, criminal defense attorneys and yes, we are in California, so we had a few actors with the most notable being Robert Hooks (Fled, Passenger 57, Posse etc). A host of clients attended, family, friends, and staff (no, they were not “ordered” to be there!).

I am already getting reviews back from people who have read it and the response has all been positive (so far!).

Please do me a favor. After reading it, please send your comments to www.Barnesandnoble.com as well as Amazon. That helps to make it to the best seller list!

I currently have my second book with my editor and have started on my third! More to come on these.

Thanks again!

Thanks For Your Support Regarding The Book Signing!

August 18, 2008

With the book signing fast approaching (this saturday) I would like to say “Thanks” for all of the support. We are still receiving RSVP’s and if you are planning on coming, please let us know asap. We need a head count for the number of books, drinks, food, etc. Barnes & Noble will physically be there  to accommodate purchases.  If you have never seen me nervous, be there, and bring your cameras!!

Please RSVP to pottshr@pacbell.net

Employees Must Tell The Employer They Have A Disability…

August 18, 2008

CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL-The Court ruled on behalf of the employer on the disability claim but watch using company forms that suggest the employee is applying for an authorized leave of absence. Here is a recap of the decision.

“Where plaintiff, who was discharged from employment for excessive absenteeism, claimed to have been discriminated on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, plaintiff’s evidence that he informed defendant that some of his absences were due to illness failed to raise a triable issue where there was no evidence that–prior to the date he was notified of his termination–he informed the superiors responsible for the firing that he suffered from a disability and not merely an illness. Plaintiff raised a triable issue on his claims that he was terminated in retaliation for taking qualifying medical leave, and thus in violation of the California Family Rights Act and public policy, by presenting evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact might conclude that plaintiff provided defendant with preprinted forms showing that he had been hospitalized on days that employer treated as unexcused absences and that the presentation of the forms constituted a request for CFRA leave although not designated as such.”

“CFRA” is the abbreviated form of the “California Family Rights Act” which is the California version of the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act-Federal). Remember, if they are only going to be out for a few days, especially unexcused days, DO NOT GIVE THEM FORMS THAT REQUEST A LEAVE OF ABSENCE. When in doubt, call us. 


Identity Theft-Protect Yourself!

August 11, 2008

We have received a number of calls whereby individuals are contacting our clients regarding possible identity theft. It’s a problem that is getting out of control. Everytime I work patrol, I take at least one report because someone has had their identity stolen. Here are some warning signs:

1. Your credit card statement has charges you did not make (carefully check your statements).

2. You get bills for accounts you never opened (duh!).

3. You are denied credit for no apparent reason.

4. Money is missing from you bank account ( and your spouse denies it! Just kidding!!!).


1. Review your credit report and check for accounts that you did not open.

2. Ony carry the credit cards and identification cards that you need and keep them in a safe place.

3. DO NOT respond to e-mail messages or telephone calls asking for personal information.

4. Get a shredder for your home. People will go through your trash!

If your identity is stolen:

1. Get a copy of your credit report and check it for accounts you did not open and balances that are suspiciously high.

2. Contact the major credit reporting agencies and have them put a fraud alert on your report.

3. File a police report and get a copy (usually takes a week).

4. Contact the companies that you did not open an account with and send them a copy of the police report.

5. Keep a record of your calls and records.

The Federal Trade Commission reported that there were 9 million cases of identity theft last year with losses to consumers of more than $5 billion. The simplest kind is credit card fraud, which accounts for over 60% of identity theft.

I would suggest that you pass this information on to your employees. When they end up with an issue, it creates a problem for the employer as well. Taking time off, changing records, and emotional instability all impact the workplace.

My Book Is Out!!!!! Book Signing, August 23rd, 2008!!

August 4, 2008

Whew! After many months of waiting I am proud to announce that my book is finally out!! I appreciate all of the inquiries and best wishes that I have received. On August 23rd, 2008, we will host the official book signing at the Altadena Town & Country Club. Some have asked should they buy the book beforehand, (www.jameswilliampotts.com) or wait until the event. If you are planning to attend the book signing I would suggest that you get it at that time. Some are purchasing it before hand, and bringing it to be signed. It’s good for me either way. We are going to be sending out official invitations within the next week and asking for RSVP’s to be able to accurately determine the number of copies that we will need for the event.

Thanks again for your support! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!