Are you intruding on your employee’s privacy rights?

Your policy handbook contains a series of rules to ensure business is done in accordance with the company’s best interest. It lays things out so everyone knows what to do and consistent treatment can be applied. But sometimes, it’s unclear what the boundaries are when setting rules at the company, especially when it comes to privacy – you’ve got to find the correct balance.

An example of this came up recently in a New Jersey Supreme Court case where an employer provided an employee with a laptop on which to perform company business. The company had a policy that stated that the company had the right to review, access, and disclose activity that occurred on the company-owned product. When the employee left the company, the employer took forensic images of the laptop and uncovered private emails between the employee and an attorney, discussing a discrimination claim at the company.

The Court found that the employer’s policy was not specific enough. The Court believed the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy using her personal password-protected, web-based email. Be sure that your company’s actions and your policy are consistent so there’s no confusion.

For additional information on this topic, read “Computer Use Policies – Is Yours Enforceable?” by our partners at Troutman Sanders LLP. Click here for the article.


What was a big change for you?

Were there updates or changes you think others should know about? Post suggestions in the comments section below and we’ll hunt down some useful information.

Mo documents, mo problems

Overheard from the HRidiot: “Always ask for a driver’s lisence and birth certificate, but also about any identifying body marks, scars, and tattoos.”

Besides it being inappropriate to ask candidates about tattoos and scars, asking for too much proof of identification may appear to be discrimination.

The Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, a division of the Department of Labor, recently brought forward two cases where employers requested extra documents during the I-9 process for non-U.S. citizens, while allowing native born U.S. citizens to pick which documents they provided. With fines, penalties, and settlement fees being what they are, can you afford to make such a mistake?

To learn more, read “Requesting Too Many Documents Can Be Costly” by our partners at Ogletree Deakins by clicking here.

We want it to be easy for you to understand these important rules, so let’s review the “dos and dont’s” of I-9 forms. To access the I-9 chapter from our Employment Verification – An Employer’s Guide, click here.

Check out these sexy pin-ups!

Everyone knows employers think of getting in compliance every seven seconds. Why not indulge the fantasy and decorate your breakroom with the all the sexy, federal compliance posters?

There are six posters every employer must have up in the workplace:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (includes GINA updates!)
  • Minimum Wage
  • Overtime
  • Child Labor
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

ACCR offers all six of these required posters in one easy-to-use poster. And our price won’t break your back either – other companies will charge your more than $50 for a poster. Ours are only $5.

You can place an order online by clicking here or by calling us toll-free at 866-439-2227.


Wage and Hour Grinch

The holidays bring all sorts of love and good cheer, but with the good comes the bad. High up on the cliffs, it’s the Wage and Hour Grinch! He’s biding his time, hoping you make a mistake when calculating holiday hours worked and year-end bonuses.

Our partners at Barran Liebman LLP have written “Don’t Let Year-End Wage & Hour Issues Be a Lump of Coal In Your Stocking” which covers what you need to know about holiday shutdowns and non-discretionary year-end bonuses:

  • When does a company have to pay employees during a shutdown?
  • Can an employer require an employee to use accrued paid time off to cover the week closure?
  • What is a non-discretionary bonus?
  • Must non-discretionary bonuses be calculated into an employee’s regular pay rate?

Make sure you’re in compliance with these important wage and hour laws and avoid a headache when you return to work in the new year. Read the Barran Liebman article by clicking here.

To listen to the classic song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, click here.

Today’s tip for Massachusetts Employers: Don’t ask about criminal history until the second date

I know. I know. You get started with the employment relationship and you want to know everything right away: his name, where he lives, and where he has worked before. But be sure your employment application isn’t moving too quickly – it’s illegal to ask about criminal history in an employment application.

Want more info? Get the scoop when you read “New Massachusetts Law Bans Criminal History Inquiries on Initial Employment Applications” by our partners at Shawe Rosenthal LLP. Click here for the article.

For Pennsylvania Employers: Developing a sample inclement weather policy

Looks like it’s going to be a White Christmas for Pennsylvania employers this year! That means HR professionals and employers have to dust off their inclement weather policies and make sure everyone is on the same page when the next snow storm hits.

The HR Library’s Sample Inclement Weather policy reads:

“If the local public school district is closed due to weather creating bad travel conditions, then the office will be closed. In the event of bad weather that would create unsafe travel conditions and the public schools have not yet announced whether they will close, please stay in touch with the main reception voice mail box for announcements of office closure. Above all employees should use prudent discretion regarding their ability to report to work under such conditions.”

You may want to further personalize it by addressing the following topics:

  • payment for hourly employees
  • how employees will be notified of the business closing
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements (if you are unionized)
  • guidelines for working from home.

A great reference for our Pennsylvania readers is “The Weather Outside is…” by Kathy Speaker MacNett of Skarlatos & Zonarich, one of our partner firms. Click here to read the article.