PRIVACY

How do we rein in our staff on social media?

09/19/2014
Q. What are the rules and laws about social media? We have employees who have generated Facebook pages with our company name. They are also posting information that we are not ready to publish—such as the opening of another store in a new city.

Drug tests: What to do about 'watered down' results?

09/12/2014
Q. We have a couple of workers who keep getting “negative dilute” results of drug tests. Our policy is to not accept the result and to retest. Can we require the retest to be an observed collection?

How far can I go to ban guns at work?

07/31/2014
Q. As the owner of a Texas company, I want to institute a policy that strictly forbids employees from bringing guns to work—both into the office building and in the parking lot outside. Can I legally draft such a policy?

Am I allowed to search a worker's backpack?

07/23/2014
Q. One of my workers brought a backpack into work today that I have reason to believe contains illegal substances. The worker stored the bag in his company-provided locker. Can I search his belongings?

OK to fire for Facebook complaint about work?

07/23/2014
Q. One of my employees recently made a post on Face­­book expressing his dissatisfaction with his job. In the post, he talked about being paid too little for the amount of work he performs, and that the whole office needs renovating, claiming, “rats don’t even want to work there.” Can I fire him for this, or at least discipline him?

Supreme Court rules public employee's sworn testimony is protected

07/07/2014
On June 19, declaring that “pub­­lic employees do not renounce their citizenship when they accept employment,” the U.S. Supreme Court held that the First Amend­­ment protects a public employee’s truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena.

Can we require lie detector tests?

07/02/2014
Q. We have experienced several incidents of employee theft over the past few years. Would it be legal to require all job applicants to take a lie detector test?

Can employee reveal names of his co-workers?

06/13/2014
Q. Can an employee let others know that a certain person works at his office? Or are there some hidden privacy issues involved?

How to handle requests for confidentiality

05/12/2014

Say an employee stops by your office with a troubled look on her face. She has a complaint, but wants to speak with you “off the record.” Can you comply with her request for confidentiality? Should you?

San Francisco's Fair Chance law limits criminal background checks

03/27/2014
San Francisco has “banned-the-box” on employment applications and has added other restrictions on private employers’ ability to obtain and use criminal history information. The City and County of San Fran­­cisco Board of Supervisors passed the Fair Chance Ordi­­­­nance in February, and the new law goes into effect Aug. 13.

Lesson from the Facebook 'Suck it' case: Tweak your confidentiality agreement

03/25/2014
Confidentiality agreements—whether they’re in employee handbooks or legal settlements—typically require employees to refrain from talking or writing about some type of company secret. But as this new case shows, it’s wise to make clear that such disclosures are also banned on social media.

Can we ask applicant for his social media log-in info and password?

02/28/2014
Q. I am thinking about hiring someone, but would first like to check his Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts to gain a more complete picture of the candidate. May I ask the applicant for log-in and password access to his accounts?

When can we order a drug or alcohol test?

02/26/2014
Q. An employee sometimes shows up looking like he came from a party, with glazed eyes and slurred speech. Can we make him take a drug or alcohol test?

Snapchat for business? Beware risks of self-destructing texts

02/24/2014
No laws specifically prohibit auto-destruct messaging in business, but employers should be wary of the potential employment-law downside.

How to handle confidential information when onboarding new hires

02/19/2014
Although most employers are sensitive to the need to protect their own company’s confidential information, they may not be as attuned as they should be to the other side of the coin. A recent trial experience provided an extraordinary lesson on the significant legal exposure an employer can face when hiring employees from a competitor.
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