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Showing 8 posts from September 2012.

Efforts to Restrict Employer Access to Social Media Passwords Pick Up Steam

Legislative efforts to prohibit employers and educational institutions from demanding social media passwords from applicants and employees picked up steam as California became the third state to pass such a law on Thursday, September 27, 2012.  California joins Maryland and Illinois as states making this prohibition law, though none of the statutes have yet to go into effect. More >

Workplace Politics: Cooling the Debates

With the Presidential election just around the corner, employees may be talking about a lot more than gossip around the water cooler. Given the argumentative nature of politics, every employer should be listening for potentially volatile discussions, with a goal of keeping the workplace comfortable and free of hostility this election season. More >

The evolving landscape of employee text-messaging privacy issues

On Wednesday we examined employee privacy rights in the context of work and personal email use.  In much the same vein, privacy laws surrounding employee text messages are an increasingly important concern to employers. Although personal phone calls are frequently addressed in company employment policies, the greater concern in our current smartphone culture is employee text messaging. The privacy laws surrounding employers’ ability to monitor and act on employees’ use of personal text messages are not well-developed and remain relatively unsettled. More >

Are Personal Emails Private in the Workplace?

Can companies monitor and read personal emails?  While this is no longer a novel question, companies continue to struggle with finding ways to protect their ability to access and monitor employees’ email activity.  A review of recent cases reminds us that while the answer is usually situational, the result almost always hinges on the strength and specificity of the company’s computer and email use policy. More >

Using Social Media to Assist With Crisis Management

It is hard to imagine a business or organization that has not had to deal with some sort of crisis that impacts, or has the potential to impact, its reputation.  Social media, and the speed by which it can be used to spread information, has enormous potential to accelerate a reputational crisis.  Conversely, social media can be one of your most valuable tools when it comes to crisis management.  Your ability to manage a crisis may, however, be directly impacted by how prepared you are to utilize social media in a focused and comprehensive way when a crisis occurs. More >

Who owns your Twitter account?

As more and more employees are tasked with -- or even hired for the express purpose of -- tweeting on behalf of their employer, it is important to think about ownership of the twitter account from which they tweet.  A twitter account can be an important asset to a business or organization because the account (and the owner thereof) amasses followers who can become customers, fans and/or contributors.  Those followers can also share the marketing and informative content your company or organization chooses to share with others by re-tweeting, liking or quoting your tweets, or by old-fashioned word-of-mouth.  If they suddenly disappear, it may take significant time and effort to amass those followers again, and some you may never get back. More >

Employee Manuals – Updating is the Best Defense continued…..

Rolling out policy changes appropriately is a necessary part of updating policies. A company can write and update its manual and have the most effective policies ever, but if they are not presented to the workforce in the proper way, policies are ineffective and just another stack of papers on everyone’s desk. Whatever your detailed course of roll-out, from individual meetings to a company-wide email, you have to go beyond announcing policy changes. Get written acknowledgements from every employee on every change. It is often common practice to issue updates and send out each policy change-by-change, like an addendum to the manual every few months. This is necessary to keep your employees aware of the changes occurring in the workplace policies. However, all those loose papers might get lost in the minutia of daily business and never actually make it into an employee’s manual. So the reality is employees may not be operating with an updated version of the manual. Re-issuing the employee manual in its entirety is the best policy to ensure that employees have the most up-to-date version; once a year should be sufficient, unless significant changes occur. This can be a mitigating factor in unemployment hearings – if an employee was terminated because of a policy violation and the employee had notice and acknowledged changes to the policies and procedures, the company generally has a better chance of justifying the termination for misconduct. More >

Employee Manuals – Updating is the Best Defense

An employer’s best defense to ever increasing employment claims is an employee manual, and more importantly an up-to-date manual.  If your company does not have a manual or has not updated its manual in several years, your company could be at risk.  Kentucky does not require that an employer have an employee manual.  However, the main advantage to issuing such a document is to create expectations and boundaries that are clear and consistent for your workplace. A good employee handbook goes further than merely outlining policies and procedures that pertain to conduct and safety in the workplace, it promotes positive employee relations. As well, adopting an employee manual substantially reduces the legal risks that often arise – especially surrounding discrimination, harassment or termination.  Even in an at-will state, a manual gives an employer more leverage with agencies, commissions and state boards who regulate employment concerns. A strong employee manual coupled with proper documentation of employee offenses safeguards against a “he said, she said” situation when serious issues arise. More >

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