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McBrayer Blogs

Showing 10 posts from August 2012.

Smartphones - 24/7 Access: When are employees off the clock?

With instant access to all things via smartphones and the internet, it has become increasingly easy for employees and employers to stay connected to work all the time. Smartphone access and being constantly connected is part of our professional make-up, and necessary to keep pace with the speed of the information highway. Right? Connectivity is firmly woven into everyday business practices but at what price?

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After-hours Supervision Policies

Do you need to have a supervisor present when associates are working after hours or on the weekends? There is no law that requires that all work be supervised. So, it is perfectly legal and acceptable to have employee’s work after hours or on the weekends on company premises.  However, doing so raises some legal concerns.

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Discrimination in the Workplace Continued….

Following up on our blog post from Wednesday, Progress for Transgender Employees Seeking Protection from Discrimination in the Workplace, the topic really isn’t so far removed from what is going on right in our own community.  In late July the Fayette County Board of Education updated the language of their anti-discrimination policy to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes.  The decision was approved unanimously and applies to students, teachers and school district employees. This adds Fayette County to the list of approximately six other public school districts that have specific prohibitions for these protected classes.  Gender discrimination is banned by all 174 public school districts in Kentucky. More >

Progress for Transgender Employees Seeking Protection from Discrimination in the Workplace

Kentucky currently has no laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  However, since 1999 Louisville-Jefferson County and Lexington-Fayette County and Covington (in 2003) have had local ordinances banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations due to sexual orientation.  In June 2008, Governor Steve Beshear reinstated an Executive Order banning discrimination of state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  On April 23, 2012 the EEOC delivered a landmark ruling, in favor of protection against discrimination for transgender people working for the federal government.  With the introduction of HB 188/ SB 69 Statewide Fairness Act and the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act on the horizon, we are prompted to encourage every employer to give fairness policies and procedures a serious review. More >

Passwords, Privacy and Protection – The Social Networking Online Protection Act

The Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA) prohibits employers from requesting or requiring a potential candidate or employee to provide passwords for personal email, private accounts or social networking sites, while protecting said candidates and employees from repercussions of refusal to provide passwords.  Introduced in April 2012 by Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), after the pressure was turned up on the intersection of privacy and technology by an Associated Press report of a 2011 incident where an employer required access to an applicant’s Facebook account, the SNOPA attempts to draw a line in the sand on social media access.

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The Slippery Slope of Social Media in Hiring

In the age of the electronic workplace, technologies like email, cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging and the internet all make for a much more mobile and accessible workforce. The advantages of nearly unlimited access can be profound for companies, increasing efficiency and productivity. Working smarter includes hiring smarter. Human Resource Departments are usually on the forefront of the technology curve, understanding, using and regulating how a company interacts with the fast moving world of the web. One of the fastest growing concerns around the HR water cooler is social media.  How do we, as a company, use social media to our advantage? Beyond marketing, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become one of the best ways to recruit new employees – a primary concern for HR. Sounds logical to research the candidates applying for new openings, using every means you have to insure the potential employee will fit into the company culture and become a productive member of the team.  It’s no different than checking references or running a background check, right?  Well, it is different.  With social media personal and professional lines are blurred. While information willingly submitted to the public domain is just that “public,” a general search through social media may reveal both factual and inaccurate information about a candidate.

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Essentials for Social Media Policies: Surviving the NLRA

Developing a social media policy that will survive the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 151, et. seq. while still protecting the company is a primary focus of every employer. The key is providing specific definitions or guidance as to what an employer considers inappropriate social media activity which will be regulated and that the policy does not limit protected activity.  Policies cited by National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Acting General Counsel, Lafe Solomon issued in three reports aimed at providing employers guidance on what are and are not permissible social media policies under the NLRA include the following:

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The NLRB’s View On Acceptable Social Media Policies

The rise of social media, and the desire of employers to both control and police it as to their employees, has served to expose, to many for the first time, that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 151, et. seq. applies not just to unionized work places but to virtually all private employers of any significant size engaged in interstate commerce.  Section 7 of the NLRA protects employees’ rights to engage in what is commonly referred to as “concerted protected activity” for their mutual aid and protection in both unionized and un-unionized work places.  Pre-social media this activity was typically not that difficult to spot because it commonly manifested itself as two or more employees talking face-to-face about working hours, pay, work conditions, etc. If an employee was acting alone, and thus, not part of concerted activity, it was typically easy to spot as well.  However, with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets, what is and is not protected activity has become less clear due to the lack of clear employee interaction, and the question of what is in fact protected activity is an increasingly important question as employers struggle with what to do about employee electronic posts or communications which they do not agree with and feel merit adverse employment action.  This is especially true where these communications concern what is felt to be confidential or proprietary information.

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How to be Prepared: When an Employee’s Misconduct Leads to Termination

Terminating an employee can be one of the most difficult tasks for a business owner or human resource manager. It is however the responsibility of both positions and a necessary part of doing business. Termination is difficult under most circumstances because of the personal information an employer may know about an employee. After an employee becomes part of the workforce supervisors often discover personal information, such as an employee’s financial hardships or family difficulties, which makes difficult decisions uncomfortable. More >

How to Handle Difficult Employees: Documenting Misconduct

In a perfect world, all employees would report to work on time and in a regular manner, perform their responsibilities with competence and be a productive team player. In reciprocation, each employer has an obligation to pay the employee an agreed up on amount for the work performed, treat every employee fairly and provide a safe work environment. Of course, we do not live in a perfect world and inevitably every employer will be faced with employee misconduct. The challenge is handling misconduct appropriately, to avoid financial and legal repercussions in the form of unemployment claims, discrimination or wrongful termination suits. More >

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