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Watch out for pitfalls, risks of using social media in hiring

12/01/2010
Employers are increasingly using web-based social media—such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—to screen potential employees, in addition to the usual applications, interviews, references, and background, credit and drug tests. But they don’t always recognize the potential pitfalls and risks.

Conducting online background checks? Beware the pitfalls

11/16/2010
Online tools can be highly valuable in recruiting and selecting the best candidates and screening out bad hires. Despite the potential advantages, those activities come with potential employment law risks that are still evolving due to the relatively recent emergence and growth of social media. Some of the obvious and not-so-obvious legal risks:

EEOC issues final GINA regulations

11/09/2010
The EEOC has just issued final regulations implementing the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), the federal law that makes it illegal for employers to use genetic information to make decisions about health insurance and employment. Download the final regs here, and then use them as the basis for reviewing your wellness program and other work processes that might violate GINA.

HR gossip girl: The risk of divulging employees’ secrets

11/09/2010
As an HR professional, you have an open door. And you’re always encouraging employees to ask questions about their benefits. But sometimes, that door needs to be shut … and so should your mouth. As a new lawsuit shows, repeating even the question asked by an employee can trigger a multi-claim lawsuit …

How should we go about implementing a system for recording employees’ phone conversations?

10/15/2010
Q. Many of our employees spend most of their time dealing with customers over the phone. For quality control purposes and to make sure workers aren’t making personal telephone calls, we would like to record the calls employees make on company telephones. Is that legal?

Bay Area worker files sexual orientation harassment suit

10/15/2010
A former clerical worker is suing a San Francisco Bay Area-based trucking company, claiming he was harassed and subsequently fired for asking about medical benefits for his same-sex partner.

How to draft a social networking company policy

10/12/2010
According to a recent survey, 22% of employees say they use some form of social networking five or more times per week, and 15% admit they access social networking while at work for personal reasons. Yet, only 22% of companies have a formal policy that guides employees in how they can use social networking at work. Here’s why you need one—and what it should include.

Supremes start work: 3 employment law cases on High Court docket this year

10/05/2010
The Supreme Court term that began yesterday will decide three important employment law cases. Here’s our round-up of upcoming High Court arguments that could affect background checks, discipline and firings and the tricky issue of determining the employment eligibility of foreign-born workers.

You can insist on investigation confidentiality

09/10/2010

Make it a policy to keep it confidential when conducting internal investigations into discrimination or harassment. That way, rumors and exaggerated claims won’t influence other employees who haven’t yet told investigators their side of the story. Employers that terminate employees for violating that confidentiality needn’t worry that doing so is retaliation, at least according to a recent 11th Circuit decision.

How should we handle a deceased worker’s e-mail?

09/08/2010
Q. A deceased employee’s spouse has asked us for copies of personal e-mails that were on the employee’s work computer. Can we provide her copies?