Legal Blog

Telebriefs®: Brian Williams Case

Brian_Williams_2011_ShankboneEarlier this month, NBC announced it would suspend news anchor Brian Williams for six months following the discovery that Williams had embellished his personal involvement in major news events such as the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina. The suspension period indicates NBC will likely not bring Williams back on air. It is difficult to imagine he would be able to return and maintain any credibility or journalistic integrity. Aside from its current domination over real news headlines, this story can offer employers a couple takeaways. One: the point of disciplinary action should be corrective, not punitive. Clearly, a six month suspension is not corrective; rather it is punitive in nature. By correcting the behavior of an employee—especially a high-ranking one—an employer deters other employees from engaging in similar actions. Second, employers can certainly always convert a suspension into a termination if new facts come to light during the suspension. As NBC combs through years’ worth of Williams’ statements, the company clearly intends to find out whether his recent assertions are anomalies or demonstrate a longstanding pattern of malfeasance. If such wrongdoing is found NBC will undoubtedly end up firing Williams. Other topics covered in this month’s first Telebrief® include the recent spike in EEOC retaliation charges, employment restrictions affecting potential hires, new developments surrounding the NLRB’s controversial “quickie election” rules, and an important sexual harassment case decided in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. To read more or to listen to the February 11th Telebrief®, or to listen to past installments, please click here.


Geared to executives with employee relations responsibilities (HR directors, supervisors, managers, business owners), Labor and Employment Telebriefs® are information-packed 30 minute briefings via the telephone. Telebriefs® provide information and insights to help executives stay current with latest workplace law developments and in front of trends so as to enable proactive policy making and management . On the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month, from 9 – 9:30 am ET, join Offit Kurman Labor & Employment Chair Howard Kurman, as he discusses developments occurring over the past two-three weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. The focus is squarely on the practical. Why is this event significant for employers? What are the lessons to be learned or actions taken? These twice-monthly teleconferences are an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest Labor and Employment law developments that will significantly affect you and your company.  Our guarantee: You will learn something useful, on every call! If you have any questions regarding  labor and employment issues please contact Howard Kurman: | 410.209.6417


Howard Kurman website Howard K. Kurman is Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Mr. Kurman regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues. He represents employers ranging in size from as small as 20 employees to those employers with geographically disparate locations consisting of over 4,000 employees. Mr. Kurman assures, through regular contact with his clients, that they promulgate and maintain the most effective employment policies that will, to the extent possible, minimize their legal exposure in today’s litigious workplace. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn. WASHINGTON | BALTIMORE | FREDERICK | PHILADELPHIA | WILMINGTON | VIRGINIA