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Privacy

In case of he-said/she-said harassment, can we make employees hand over text messages?

01/22/2014
Q. One of our employees was recently accused of sending sexually harassing texts to another employee. The complaining employee said she was so upset by the texts she deleted them; the accused employee adamantly denies sending the texts. Can we search the accused employee’s cellphone or is there a way to retrieve the messages from the complaining employee’s phone?

Possible porn: Can we search computers?

01/03/2014
Q. An employee recently complained about re­ceiving inappropriate email messages and links to porno­graphic websites from some of her co-workers. We would like to review the messages to figure out exactly how large a problem we face. Can we do this?

What should we do about email still on former employee’s company-issued cellphone?

11/19/2013
Q. We give our employees company phones. An employee recently resigned and turned in her phone to her supervisor, in compliance with our technology policy. A week later, it came to my attention that the supervisor had not deleted the departed employee’s email that was still on the phone. A new hire who had been issued the phone could read those messages. What should we do?

Weigh pros, cons of surveillance in wired workplace

11/19/2013
As technology becomes more and more intrusive, today’s employees naturally wonder how far their employers can pry. Carefully weigh whether any form of employee surveillance is right for your organization. 

When settlement requires confidentiality, tell everyone to keep lips sealed

11/12/2013
Settling a case early on can have advantages. One of these is that you can include a confidentiality clause that bars a former employee from talking about the case. Now a Cali­­fornia court has said that such clauses are valid, meaning you can sue a former employee who breaks a confidentiality agreement.

What are the limits on employee monitoring?

10/29/2013
Q. How would an employer legally go about monitoring employees in the workplace?

What’s the law on surreptitious audiotaping?

09/27/2013
Q. One of the employees in our office has been taping conversations unknown to the people he is taping. Does the employee have a right to do this?

Can we demand employee’s Facebook password so we can access her postings?

09/16/2013
Q. Our company received a report that an employee who called in sick on a Thursday and Friday later posted photos to her Facebook page that indicated she was traveling in another city with friends at the time. It appears she lied to us about being sick. Can we require her to give us her Facebook password so that we can see her online postings?

What are the pros and cons of prohibiting workplace photography?

09/16/2013
Q. We recently saw a news report that an AOL employee was fired for taking a photograph during a meeting. Now we’re wondering: Should we include anything in our employee handbook prohibiting the taking of photographs or videos at work?

With new regs taking effect, update HIPAA privacy policies ASAP

09/09/2013
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued final regulations for implementing the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The regulations require entities covered by HIPAA to update their privacy policies ASAP. The looming deadline: Sept. 23.