On January 15, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg released its ruling in the cases of four Christian employees who argued that they suffered from discrimination and that their employers encroached upon their right to religious freedom at work. . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Foreign Law’
The High Court of England and Wales (Technology and Construction Court) has held that an employer has no proprietary right in emails sent by the company’s CEO that would give the company the right to see the content of the emails. The case is Fairstar v Adkins  EWHC 2952 (TCC). (For various reasons no claim arising from copyright or confidentiality could be made, and the employment contract did not deal with the question.)
The court reviews a great deal of English (and a bit of Canadian) law on the point. It also considers the practical implications of holding that . . . [more]
Nobody likes it when someone cuts the cheese. But if it happens at work, repeatedly, is that grounds for claiming a "hostile work environment?"
The U.S. Social Security Agency (SSA) issued this warning letter to one of its employees on December 10, 2012.
The employee was warned during a performance review by his supervisor on May 18, 2012 that his co-workers were complaining, and was warned again on July 17 and August 14. He provided medical documentation at one point that he was lactose intolerant, but the supervisor stated in the letter, "It is my belief that you can control this . . . [more]
We know from Crookes v. Newton that a link “by itself” is not a publication for the purposes of defamation in Canada. But what about a right by a publisher to collect royalties when being linked to?
It seems bizarre, but newspapers in Ireland are attempting to do exactly that. In a piece titled 2012: The year Irish newspapers tried to destroy the web McGarr Solicitors state:
By now you have probably read, heard or seen the story that has been circulating this week about the 15 year old girl in Iceland whose name has been deemed illegal. Blaer, a 15 year-old girl whose name translates into "a light wind" in Icelandic, has been told that she will have to change her name as her name was incorrectly registered when she was born and is not on the national register of acceptable names. While the story seems absurd on the surface, there is some context that has to do with the nature of the Icelandic language and . . . [more]
Last Thursday, Irving Pinsky filed a complaint with the Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. requesting permission to sue the State of Connecticut for $100 million on behalf of a six-year old girl who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting. The young girl heard screaming and gunfire. The claim states,
As a consequence, the claimant-minor child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined.
The State enjoys general immunity from actions without consent of the Commissioner.
Pinsky claims that Board of Education, Department of Education and Education Commissioner all failed to . . . [more]
Last Friday the Supreme Court of Iowa upheld a summary judgement decision by the Iowa District Court which found that a dentist who terminated his assistant for being too attractive had not engaged in gender discrimination.
The plaintiff was hired in 1999 when she was only 20 years old, and the defendant conceded she was an excellent employee. The relationship was generally without incident, with exception to a few occasions when the dentist commented that he was distracted by her tight fitting uniform. The defendant acknowledged he made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature towards the plaintiff, who was also married . . . [more]
A German state has declared that Facebook's policy requiring that a user identify himself by his real name violates that state's law allowing the use of pseudonyms and contravenes the fundamental right to freedom of expression on the Internet (see here for an Associated Press article).
The Facebook Name Policy states:
Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you're connecting with.
It further explains that this helps keep the Facebook community safe. Given this concern for safety, Facebook will remove all fake accounts.
This is not . . . [more]
Wikipedia's article of the day on its main page today is a reference ot the House of Lords decision in Pepper v Hart. The case established the ability of English courts to use legislative history in interpreting unclear provisions of legislation. The full article goes into some detail about why the history had not been available before (parliamentary privilege under the 1689 Bill of Rights – the courts must not criticize Parliament) and why it might be a bad idea now (it would be too much work for lawyers giving advice or drafting to have to wade through Hansard . . . [more]
Search engine rankings are largely the result of mathematical algorithms and repetitive bots which crawl the Internet. Search engines have historically enjoyed considerable immunity from defamation and libel claims, given that they present themselves as automated organizers of information and not publishers of the information itself. That may change soon, especially where the statements are false and the plaintiff contacts the search engine requesting that the results be modified or removed.
The Supreme Court of Victoria in Australia has ordered Google and Yahoo to pay damages for failing to modify their search results. Michael Trkulja, a prominent member of the Yugoslav . . . [more]
Two privacy stories raise interesting issues.
1. Journalistic violation of privacy: PIPEDA s. 7(1)(c) gives an exemption from the rules about collection of personal information for journalistic purposes.
Section 32 of the Data Protection Act (UK), by contrast, provides a journalism exception only if, in addition,
(b) the data controller reasonably believes that, having regard in particular to the special importance of the public interest in freedom of expression, publication would be in the public interest, and
(c) the data controller reasonably believes that, in all the circumstances, compliance with [the provision being violated] is incompatible with the special
. . . [more]
I have always loved law reform commission reports. They are great sources for legal research. Many of the reports provide historical background on an issue and you can often find comparative information about how other jurisdictions have responded to a legal problem.
This past month, 3 law commission reports from England and New Zealand caught my attention for how they incorporated a comparative law approach: