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What should we do before we start taping employees’ phone conversations?


Q. For quality-control purposes and to ensure that workers are not making personal telephone calls, we would like to tape-record the calls employees make on company phones. Would that be legal?

Should we require a nondisclosure agreement?


Q. Should we require new employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement in order to protect our trade secrets, customer lists, etc.?

Are drug testing programs constitutional?


Q. An employee says our drug testing program violates his constitutional rights. What can I tell him to prove that we’re well within the law?

Preventing identity theft: 6 steps to protect employees’ data


Employers have a duty to protect their employees from identity theft. The federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) 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:

Hacked! Limiting employer liability for breaches of employee data


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?

Can we open employees’ ‘confidential’ mail?


Q. Can we legally open all mail delivered to employees at the office? What if it is stamped “confidential,” can we still open it? This is getting to be a problem because our mailroom opens all mail automatically.

Delphi learns the hard way: Don’t mess with medical records


Auto parts manufacturer Delphi has settled a suit with the EEOC alleging the company made prohibited medical inquiries into employees’ health and retaliated against staff who objected. Delphi required employees returning from sick leave to sign releases allowing the company to probe their medical records …

Exonerated, gone anyway: You can independently assess misconduct


A New Jersey appeals court has upheld the termination of an employee even though a government agency cleared him of the alleged misconduct that led to his dismissal. That means employers still have the right to make their own decisions about conduct and what they believe happened.

Monitoring the virtual water cooler: Facebook and beyond


Odds are that many forms of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are already thriving in your workplace. As an employer, it’s best to make a conscious decision about how to address social media issues with your employees. Proactively develop a policy so you don’t get stuck doing damage control—perhaps becoming the latest talk heard ’round the virtual water cooler.

Can we listen in on employees’ phone calls?


Q. We have a good reason to believe that one of our employees is divulging proprietary company information to a friend of his who works for our competition. We have a device that would allow us to listen in on his phone conversations, but not record it. Is it within our rights as an employer to listen in on his calls?