Couple Fined $3,500 For Truthful Negative Online Review Fights Back

I recently posted an article about a Utah couple who was “fined” by an online retailer for posting a negative review (see http://bit.ly/1dy07Yx). Products were ordered, but never received. The wife wrote a negative review on a customer complaint website that appeared to be accurate and truthful. The company fined the couple $3,500 for “disparaging” comments in accordance with the terms of sale on the retailer’s website. The retailer dinged the couple’s credit report for the unpaid fine.

Now, according to a recent ABA Journal article, the couple is suing the retailer for damaging their credit rating when they refused to pay the fine. The lawsuit alleges the retailer defamed its customers and violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Damages sought total at least $75,000.

By Robert Hawkinson

Not Everyone Wants to Keep Their Health Insurance Coverage

Brad Camp, Poulsbo business owner and Rotarian, was featured today in Seattle Times (http://bit.ly/1d6K8VN) and Washington Post (http://wapo.st/18gOcyB) articles regarding the Affordable Care Act. Our health care insurer cancelled us, too. We’re still waiting for a quote for a replacement small business policy. If that quote comes in high, it looks like a two-person individual ACA policy will provide us with better coverage for a little bit less monthly premium than we are currently paying. We can keep all our current providers.

By Robert Hawkinson

Olympic College & Western Washington University announce an expanded partnership at the OC-Poulsbo Campus.

OC FALL

Olympic College and Western Washington University announce an expanded partnership at the OC-Poulsbo Campus. North Kitsap Herald

This is great for the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. It is little known that there are lots of unfilled jobs available because employers can’t find qualified people. Local access to more four-year degrees will be a game changer, allowing many people like single mothers, parents with children and those who can’t afford to go to distant colleges or universities the opportunity for a good education and better job. This expansion complements the already successful Olympic College partnership with Washington State University in mechanical engineering at the OC-Bremerton campus.

Our Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club was at the forefront of making the OC-Campus a reality twenty years ago. North Kitsap Herald

NLRB Finds Costco’s Social Media Policy Violates Rights of Union Workers

The National Labor Relations Board has determined social media rules in Costco’s employee manual violate the rights of union workers under the National Labor Relations Act because the policies prohibited protected activities. See article posted by the Resnick Law Group, P.C., on The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog on November 9, 2012.

Employee manuals can be a problem for businesses without union employees, too. In addition to the risk of adopting policies which violate governmental laws and regulations, employee manuals can constitute binding contracts between the employer and employee. Business owners must be very careful when adopting employee policy manuals. Downloading employee manuals and other legal documents from the internet can lead to expensive problems. One also needs to be careful hiring non-lawyer consultants for such documents.

By Robert Hawkinson