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Privacy

Are employees twittering the day away?

06/01/2009

Whether they’re shooting off their own “tweets” or following others, workers using Twitter—the fastest-growing social networking site—are creating liability and PR risks with their 140-character rants, raves and company gossip. Advice: Draft a brief policy on  your organization’s expectations for employee’s use of Twitter and other social networking sites (plus video).

Are noncompete agreements legitimate in Texas?

06/01/2009

Q. Can noncompetition agreements be enforced against at-will employees in Texas?

Curiosity about co-worker’s accommodation not harassment

05/11/2009

Even though employers must maintain confidentiality when a disabled employee receives ADA accommodations, other employees are bound to notice. For example, they might ask how the employee got a good schedule or even if she has a disability. That doesn’t amount to disability harassment.

Firing suspected thief? Don’t broadcast the reason

05/06/2009

Employee theft is a huge problem, and employers are sometimes tempted to make an example of a thief. They hope to discourage other employees from stealing. It’s a bad idea, because the alleged thief may sue for defamation. Instead, keep the information as confidential as possible.

Texas Supreme Court upholds noncompete agreement

05/06/2009

Texas courts ordinarily reject noncompete agreements that require employees not to disclose confidential information if the employer has failed to provide the employee with that confidential information. But now the Texas Supreme Court has modified that stance.

Employers: ‘Keep Out!’ Beware intruding in employee web sites

05/06/2009

It’s becoming a common problem: An employer discovers disparaging comments on an employee’s Facebook, MySpace or personal blog. Maybe a post reveals internal company information. Can the employer take disciplinary action? A series of new laws and evolving legal doctrines have placed limits on how far an employer can encroach on the private and off-site activities of its employees.

Check your policy! No privilege when e-mailing lawyer from work

04/27/2009

A New Jersey court has held that e-mails employees send to their attorneys via work computers are not protected by the attorney-client privilege. The court’s willingness to rule that an employer’s right to control how employees use its computer equipment trumps attorney-client privilege is significant. The decision makes it clearer than ever that employers should carefully consider the language they use in their employee handbooks.

What are the privacy rules when searching an employee? We suspect theft

04/22/2009

Q. Can we open an employee’s personal space or belongings—such as her locker, purse or desk drawer—if we suspect she is stealing?

Secretly recording co-workers: A firing offense?

04/17/2009

Q. Some employees discovered that a co-worker has been secretly recording conversations with them and a supervisor. They’re complaining about the invasion of privacy. The company president’s first reaction was to have the employee arrested, but I’m not sure he broke any laws. Should we contact police?

Ignore privacy protests: You can review detailed call records from company cell phones

04/17/2009

Steelcase Inc. gave employee Patrick Morrissey two cell phones: one for business and one for personal use. Both billing statements went to his boss because Steelcase paid both bills. But the boss confronted Morrissey when he reviewed the bills and noticed Morrissey had made personal calls on company time …