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Privacy

Federal computer law doesn’t cover misuse of trade secrets

04/12/2012
The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) doesn’t grant employers any legal recourse if an employee misuses information obtained from company computers, according to a recent Minnesota Federal District Court ruling.

Hacked! How to limit liability for employee data breaches

03/29/2012

Imagine this nightmare scenario: You’ve contracted with a vendor to enter personnel data into a new computer system, including employees’ Social Security numbers, addresses, names of dependents, health records and bank account routing numbers. Then the vendor notifies you that employee data was somehow stolen or lost. What do you do?

Government employees have limited privacy rights

03/19/2012
Public employees don’t lose all privacy rights just because they work for the government. But that privacy is subject to limitations.

Politics around the watercooler: Can you discipline ‘overly political’ workers?

12/26/2011

While today’s Iowa caucuses feel like the end of a long campaign season, it’s really just the beginning of a heated political year … one that could spill over into your workplace. Follow these tips for handling political activity in your workplace and employees’ political advocacy outside of work.

How to make the leap to electronic HR records

11/15/2011
Given the low cost and the easy accessibility of electronic records storage, many employers are making the digital leap to “paperless” HR. But despite the many benefits of going paperless, a host of legal problems could derail even the best-intentioned digital records plan. Carefully consider these legal issues when transitioning to an electronic personnel records system.

Freedom of speech: Does it apply at work?

09/23/2011
In private-sector workplaces, em­­ployees do not have First Amendment rights, as public employees do. But certain laws do provide em­­ployees with some protection for certain types of expression at work.

Not all employee online musings are ‘protected’

08/22/2011
While you shouldn’t punish employees who complain about working conditions (pay, perks, supervisors, etc.) on social media sites, you don’t have to tolerate overt insubordination or workers who violate confidentiality rules.

‘Can we talk?’: How to handle requests for secrecy

08/01/2011

Say one of your employees 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? It all depends on the content and context of the complaint.

What should we do? Employee almost divulged insider-trading information on Facebook

07/26/2011
Q. We recently learned that one of our employees posted comments on a friend’s Facebook page, coming to our company’s defense over a recent drop in stock price. The employee came dangerously close to disclosing information about earnings that were not yet public. What can and should we do?

Tell staff: Break data rules, risk prosecution

06/16/2011

When explaining your computer-use policy, make sure employees understand they may be criminally prosecuted if they violate the rules and gain access to information they have no business reading. That should make them think twice about obtaining confidential in­­for­ma­tion and passing it on to the competition.