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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Court: Your policy can require employees to keep ‘spy cams’ turned on

A federal court has upheld an employer’s handbook rule requiring full-time camera monitoring of employees. The ruling is a victory for employers who want to track the behavior of employees they can’t directly observe.

Think twice before demanding workers’ social-media passwords

To get around social-media roadblocks, some employers require employees to either open their accounts or turn over their social-media usernames and passwords. This obviously raises privacy concerns and has caught the attention of state legislators in several jurisdictions.

Beware data-collecting email from your ‘boss’

If you get an email in the next few days that seems to be from your CEO requesting a list of employees and their Social Security numbers, watch out! It may be part of an elaborate phishing scheme in which con artists harvest employees’ personal data, use it to file fraudulent tax returns and then pocket income tax refunds.

Know your obligations for safeguarding employee data, preventing cyberattacks

Data breaches may seem inevitable, but that’s no consolation for employees who have been victims of identity theft. Many a lawsuit alleging negligence has been filed against employers that were lax about data security. To prevail in those kinds of cases, you must be prepared to show you made reasonable efforts to prevent data leaks.

Limit liability from data breaches that expose employee info

Imagine this nightmare scenario: You’ve contracted with a vendor to enter personnel data into a new computer system. You hand over confidential employee info, including Social Security numbers, addresses, names of dependents, health records and bank account routing numbers. Then the vendor notifies you that the employee information was somehow stolen. What will you do? It happens more often than anyone would like to admit.

Access to Personnel Files: 50 State Laws

No federal law grants employees the right to inspect their personnel files. However, many states do give employees that right and spell out the terms under which employees are allowed to inspect their files. Here’s a state-by-state list of laws governing access to personnel files.

Monitoring: Beware fixating on productivity

Are supervisors asking to install tracking software on their remote employees’ computers and devices? They may be suffering from what Microsoft has termed “productivity paranoia.”

Proposed regs would strengthen HIPAA’s privacy provisions

Proposed regulations issued April 17 by the Department of Health and Human Services would extend the scope of HIPAA’s privacy protections specifically to women who travel to other states to receive reproductive health-care services where those services are legal and would apply to almost all judicial or administrative proceedings related to this care.

NLRB okays secret workplace recordings

Here’s a new worry for employers, thanks to the National Labor Relations Board: Your employees may be secretly recording conversations you have with them for later playback even if you have robust “no recording” rules in place.

Keep it Legal: Tread carefully when monitoring employees

With rapid advances in technology, monitoring the workplace has become easier and cheaper. It’s no longer just cameras in common areas. Now it’s possible to examine productivity measures like keystrokes taken during a shift and out-of-office activity through vehicle location or company-issued cell phones and laptops. But there are definite areas managers should be aware of—and legal implications to keep in mind.