Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: workplace

Why You Can’t Delete Your Way Out of Your Social Media Mess

Naked pictures? Drunken celebrations? Sexist comments? A click of a button and all evidence of your “Weekend at Bernie’s” can disappear. Job seekers know to scrub clean their Facebook pages before they connect with potential employers, to remove all trace of their off-color on-line life. But here in Ohio you can’t delete your way out of the mess you created through social media. Employers can legally ask employees and recruits to surrender their social media passwords, and thanks to Facebook’s newly expanded access program, the result is a stunningly deep portal into private messages, deleted posts, photographs and everything you …

SHOCKING NEWS!! We Are Spending Too Much Time Surfing The Web For Personal Reasons at Work. What To Do About These Cyberloafers??

According to a news release issued by the university, a Kansas State University study to be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior concludes that between 60 and 80% of the time spent by people on the internet at work has "nothing to do with work." The study, which was profiled this morning on The Today Show, suggests that "cyberloafers" come in all ages. According to one of the researchers, "Older people are doing things like managing their finances, while young people found it much more acceptable to spend time on social networking sites like Facebook."

Certainly, while …

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 1 – Avoiding Holiday Party Liability When the Office Santa Tries to Teach His Employees a Few “Reindeer Games”

As much as everyone loves them, the holidays create increased risk of employer liability and can result in a long list of legal problems for an unprepared employer. As our holiday gift to you, we’ve put together our top five holiday headaches for employers, which will be provided to you in a week-long series starting today.

Numero uno on our list: Sexual harassment at the office holiday party. Who doesn’t have at least one inappropriate office holiday party story? If you don’t, you’ve at least heard a couple doozies. The mix of sparkly outfits, tasty snacks, free-flowing libations and people …

Employer Refusal to Provide a “Fragrance-Free” Workplace May Violate ADA

Presume for a moment an employee complains to Human Resources that a co-worker’s perfume makes her want to choke. The workplace sometimes brings us "closer" together and one worker’s scent can be another worker’s source of distraction or even discomfort. If the complaining employee’s problem is just a matter of personal preference, then the employer has no legal duty to take action, but may want to explore a diplomatic way to resolve the dispute. On the other hand, a recent decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio shows that, in some circumstances, this issue …

Endorsement Guides Create Concerns for Employers

While many human resources managers spend sleepless nights worrying about the negative things employees may be posting on the Internet about them, this post from our sister blog technologylawsource.com reminds us that the nice things they have to say can get employers into trouble as well. Lesson for employers: Make sure your social media policy makes clear that employees who endorse their employer’s products or services on-line must disclose their employment relationship so that consumers are not misled into believing that the endorsement is free from bias.…

HR Files Vulnerable to Misuse by Insiders

On December 1, 2008, we blogged about the risks of insiders improperly accessing personal data belonging to customers and the general public. Last Thursday’s Washington Post highlighted the vulnerability of human resources files to misuse by insiders. The Post reported that a human resources worker at the Library of Congress was charged with, and likely entered into a plea arrangement regarding, conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The worker allegedly accessed a Library of Congress database and obtained personal information, including Social Security numbers, of at least 10 Library employees. The information was then passed on to a third person who opened …

Sixth Circuit Applies Balancing Test In Retaliation Case Involving an Employee’s Disclosure of Confidential Documents

A recent Sixth Circuit decision addressed the issue of whether the disclosure of confidential, proprietary documents by an employee to her attorneys constitutes a protected activity for which the employee cannot be terminated or otherwise disciplined. In 2000, numerous individuals filed a class action against the Cincinnati Insurance Company (CIC), alleging that CIC had discriminated against women in violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA). Kathy Niswander, a claims manager at CIC, was one of the plaintiffs in the class action. 

In order to respond to CIC’s discovery requests, the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked each of the plaintiffs, including Ms. Niswander, to send …

Intentional Tort Amendment Found Unconstitutional

On March 18, 2008, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Appellate District struck down the portion of Ohio’s Tort Reform Act that created a heightened standard for employees bringing intentional tort claims against their employers. Specifically, Kaminski v. Metal & Wire Prods. Co., Case No. 07-CO-15 (7th Dist. March 18, 2008), was the first appellate decision addressing the constitutionality of this heightened standard, and it found the standard improper.

Normally, an employee who suffers a workplace injury cannot file a lawsuit but must, instead, seek compensation under Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Proof that the employer’s conduct was intentional, however, allows …

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