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H1N1 virus alert: Complying with the ADA during an emergency


The H1N1 influenza virus has added a note of urgency to the need to understand the ADA’s privacy requirements. Although some of the rules are relaxed in emergencies, employers that use confidential medical information to discriminate against workers will have to answer in court for their actions.

Family ties: Discrimination trend … and trap!


Discrimination against employees because of their family caregiving duties has become a hotbed for litigation against employers, and every indication is that this trend will continue. So it’s critical for employers to recognize the potential for liability and take necessary steps to avoid being the next defendant. Here’s how.

Can we require employees to get flu vaccine?


Q. Can I require my employees to be vaccinated against the flu? I am concerned about the impact H1N1 will have on my business if it spreads among my employees, and a large group needs to take time off.

Do we need a ‘HIPAA form’ for personal information unrelated to employees’ health?


Q. I’d like to know if our company needs a HIPAA form for employees to sign when we release personal information to others. Is HIPAA only for the medical field?

Can you muzzle employees who compare their paychecks?


It’s no secret that employees gossip about pay. And it’s no secret that those conversations often cause resentment and tension in the workplace. Wouldn’t it be great if you could forbid employees from discussing compensation? Don’t even think about it until you’ve read this comprehensive guide to the requirements of the National Labor Relations Act.

Confidentiality depends on good e-mail policy


Employers that don’t enforce reasonable e-mail and computer-access policies—consider yourselves warned. Without such policies and practices, you won’t be able to use the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to punish employees who send information through your system to other persons or computers.

Can we require employees to get flu shots?


Approximately 3 million doses of the vaccines designed to prevent the H1N1 flu virus—swine flu—shipped last week. Local health authorities are preparing to offer vaccines as early as this week. Can you—should you?—demand that your employees get flu shots?

A HITECH world: New law expands HIPAA enforcement power


The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, was designed to advance the use of health information technology, such as electronic health records. Among other important aspects, the HITECH Act expands the scope and enforcement power of HIPAA, with greater penalties for noncompliance.

Attorney-client privilege: It does apply when e-mailing from work


The rise of electronic communication has forced employers and courts to take a fresh look at many issues that used to be considered routine. The age-old concept of attorney-client privilege is the latest one to whipsaw through the courts.

6 steps HR must take to prevent identity theft


Employers have a duty to protect their employees from identity theft. The federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) of 2003 says employers that negligently or purposely let employees’ personally identifiable data fall into the wrong hands can face fines of up to $2,500 per infraction. Here are six tips on developing a data security strategy.