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Privacy

Warn staff of new e-Mail scams using IRS’ name

03/01/2008
The IRS last month posted a warning to taxpayers about e-mail and phone-based scams that falsely use the IRS’ name. The goal: Trick you into giving up your Social Security number, credit card info and other key financial data …

Warn staff of new e-Mail scams using IRS’ name

03/01/2008
The IRS has posted a warning about e-mail and phone-based scams that falsely use the agency’s name. The goal: Trick people into giving up their Social Security numbers and other financial data …

Shoot down the legal threat from camera phones

02/05/2008

Cell phones with camera capabilities can expose your organization to legal problems: privacy claims, trade-secret vulnerabilities, employee theft and more. Used inappropriately, camera phones can violate employee and customer privacy. Your best action: Write, and consistently follow, a camera-phone policy and distribute it periodically.

Can you force staff to participate in wellness programs?

02/01/2008

Your organization, like many, may have embraced a wellness program to help employees quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more or participate in screenings for high blood pressure or cholesterol. You may have even thought about requiring employees to participate. But that’s a controversial practice that is likely to step on laws ranging from HIPAA to the ADA …

A Georgia employer’s guide to creating restrictive covenants

02/01/2008

Georgia employees are generally free to compete against their former employers, solicit their customers and employees, and even use or disclose any confidential information that can’t be classified as a “trade secret.” This can be disastrous for employers. But there’s some good news for employers

Health incentive plans must comply with HIPAA rules

02/01/2008

As another year of double-digit increases in health care costs looms, employers are looking to save money wherever they can. Recently, many have tried to do so by implementing incentive programs designed to improve the health of their employees. But health incentive plans must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s privacy and nondiscrimination rules …

To google or not: Legitimate screening method or privacy breach?

01/01/2008

The popularity of Internet blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and Friendster is causing confusion and concern for some employers. At a time when it’s easy to search the web for information on just about anyone, what steps should a reasonable employer take to investigate the background of an employee? …

Caught on camera! Public employers can snoop on employees during fraud probes

01/01/2008

California has a tough statute that protects celebrities against the paparazzi. But California law doesn’t necessarily shield the privacy of public employees. Government agencies can order and conduct intrusive investigations if they suspect public employees are committing workers’ comp and benefits fraud …

New Jersey courts let air out of unions’ rat balloons

01/01/2008

Unions should think twice before inflating menacing rat balloons in New Jersey. The inflatable rat, long known as a symbol of protest against nonunion labor, has received a serious blow from New Jersey courts. In two recent cases, courts concluded rat balloons are not always protected speech under the First Amendment, nor are municipal ordinances banning sign balloons preempted by the National Labor Relations Act …

Can we search employees’ work areas while investigating a string of thefts?

01/01/2008

Q. I work for an Internet company with about 50 other employees. Recently, there have been several complaints around the office about theft of personal property. The problem has become a distraction in the workplace and I was asked to investigate the incidents.

Our employee manual does not have any policies prohibiting theft of personal property, and there are no notices that warn employees that their work areas may be searched. What right does my company have to search a suspected employee’s work space and personal items to try to locate property not owned or related to my company? …