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Ensure email policy spells out access rules

When it comes to securing em­­ployees’ email accounts against internal hacking, leave nothing to chance. Make it clear that you forbid employees from illegitimately accessing co-workers’ email—and that it’s grounds for dismissal.

Federal computer law doesn’t cover misuse of trade secrets

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


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

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?


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

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?

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’

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


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

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?