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You will have a job . . . it may be as my mistress, but you will have a job

How do you lose a sexual harassment case if you are an Oklahoma employer?

Consider the pathway paved by the supervisor in this post:

A supervisor actually wrote the line in the title in an email to a woman he was supervising, as the woman was preparing to take medical leave to have surgery.  I came across this email while working on employment discrimination case.  Imagine that, an employer with a supervisor like this one getting sued for employment discrimination!?!  It happened, I defended the employer.   Here is the full email exchange:

Female Employee: Just reminding you I will be gone from tomorrow through the 14th, on medical leave.  I know I will be missed J  Hope I have a job when I come back!

Supervisor: You will have a job when you come back . . . it may be as my mistress, but you will have a job.

This exchange teaches two lessons:

  1. Don’t write anything you would be embarrassed for your wife, husband, mother to read.
  2. If you must write it, remember it could be read in court some day or even worse be published to the world through the Web.
Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Employment Law

Buying your competitor’s business name in Google’s AdWords: Shady Practice or Smart Competition?

This seemed like a simple question to me when I started to look at it for a client:  Of course one cannot buy one’s competitor’s name in Google’s AdWords, that would violate several laws and be confusing to consumers.  However, what I discovered was unsettled legal issues and different scenarios where purchasing a competitor’s name might be acceptable.  Some of my thoughts, in audio format, are below.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

A plethora of Microsoft Windows tips and tricks!

Paul Thurrott is a longtime writer and editor covering all things Microsoft, including the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office, Windows Mobile, the Zune and much more.  He maintains several websites, including  Paul participates in a podcast each on Leo LaPorte’s TWIT Network called “Windows Weekly”.  During the show, Paul gives out Windows and tips and tricks.  Over time, all these Windows “nuggets” have accumulated and posted, along with the podcast on Paul’s SuperSite for Windows.

I think you would enjoy listening to or watching the podcast, but even if you do not listen, you can access of all these Windows tips and tricks by just visiting the Windows Weekly Podcast website.  Some the recent tips and features include:

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Facebook privacy changes: sincere reversal or cynical distraction ploy?

Following a mini-firestorm of criticism about how it handles (or fails to handle) privacy, last week Facebook appeared to change course a bit.   26 year-old CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a simplification of the privacy settings, in what he said was a response to users’s number one complaint.  You can hear about the changes directly from Zuckerberg in the video below. Based on its pattern of gradually eroding privacy protections, it will take some time to determine if these recent changes are indeed Facebook changing it course.

Let me know what you think: (1) Is this the beginning of a new era of trust for Facebook or (2) only a cynical tactic to reduce public pressure and criticism over privacy?

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Definition of a podcast.

A podcast is a digital media file(s) (either audio or video) that is subscribable, released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication (RSS). From

You can listen to a podcast on your portable media player (iPod, iPhone, Zune, other MP3 player), your computer and many other devices.  You can get podcasts through software, like iTunes (which will download the newest episodes automatically) or on your computer or listen to them directly from Web.  See some of the podcasts I listen to, maintained in iTunes, below:

iTunes Screenshot

iTunes Screenshot

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Do you have your social media policy in place?

With the rise of social media, if you have not dealt with it in your business, you likely will be dealing with it at some point in the near future.  While there are fancier and more technical definitions, “social media” boils down to any service that allows a person to keep in contact with other people through digital means.

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), (product reviews), (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing) and, of course, Twitter (social networking & microblogging).

With so many outlets for employees to participate and share their views, it is not surprising that the opportunities for a business to be negatively impacted also increase.  Today, employees can communicate with the world from almost any place, at any time and through a number of different channels.  It is also fairly easy for communications (positive and negative) to attach to your business and shape the public image of your business.  Additionally, with employees communicating in a way that could be construed as on behalf of the company, there can be legal implications. A prudent business needs a policy to control and direct this potential torrent of information.

Your business may already have a communications policy that broadly addresses communications by employees with the outside world.  However, a specific or refined policy that addresses at least the points listed below is advisable.  If you are interested in seeing some of social media policy guidance I have create, please email me at

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

audio technica ATR3350 lapel microphone tests

This is a few test videos using the audio technica ATR3350 lavalier microphone (lapel), plugged into the Kodak Zi8 HD camcorder and comparing that audio to the Zi8’s built in microphone.  If your interested in approving the sound quality of a camera with an audio “in” jack this relatively inexpensive lapel microphone is worth a try. ATR3350

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

How to guarantee Oklahoma lawsuit defeat in 5 easy steps!

There is an axiom, familiar to many lawyers, that lawsuits are won or lost in moves made during pretrial, not so much at trial. I would take it a step further: many times the effective outcome of the lawsuit is determined before anyone even visits an attorney. It is the actions, plans (or lack thereof) and decisions made when entering into or winding down business relationships that create the foundation for lawsuit success or failure.  With that in mind, below are my 5 “easy steps” for guaranteeing you will lose your Oklahoma lawsuit:

  1. Avoid documenting your business relationship in writing.
  2. Make outlandish, unsupportable promises about what you can deliver during the business relationship.
  3. Write an email that undermines your strategic position because you are angry.
  4. Fail to take simple and routine action to protect your intellectual property (such as state trademark registration).
  5. Submit documents to a government agency that you believe in but which could reasonably be considered false or misleading.
Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

An App Store for Mac???– Bodega — [TechTipTuesday]

This week’s Tech Tip Tuesday is a part video/part text review of an interesting application for Mac OS X:  Bodega which aggregates Mac apps from many places.  It is essentially an application store (like the Apple App Store or Android Market) which categorizes Mac applications in categories such as “productivity”, “Business” “Audio” etc. . . and allows app purchase directly through the store.  Here is what it looks like:

Screen shot 2010-05-17 at 9.57.49 PM

For a video walk-through of the application, check out the video below:

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

iPhone Affidavit

Below is the affidavit which was used to get the warrant that allowed the search of Jason Chen’s (Gizmodo employee) home, and the seizure of a substantial amount of his property. It is long and tedious but there are some interesting parts.

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Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts