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Posted in Discrimination
Last week in The Modern Workplace Week in Review, we posted a link to an article discussing the results of a survey that found that most people believe you should never friend your boss (81% of those surveyed). 

From an employment law standpoint, I think the more interesting question is:  should a boss friend an employee? I decided to conduct an informal survey of my peers here at The Modern Workplace.  I asked my colleagues if it was okay for a boss to friend an employee, and the resounding answer was NO. Why not? There are both legal and personal reasons why friending an employee, even if you do not ...
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The dance between cybersecurity proponents and privacy rights advocates continues. Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced that the Senate will not take up the House version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Picking up on some of the public's criticism of the bill, a Senate spokesperson expressed concerns that the House version does not provide sufficient privacy protections. The Senate will be drafting its own version of the cybersecurity bill.

Employers may want to keep an eye on how this legislation ...

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Posted in Immigration
Last week, the bi-partisan Gang of Eight U.S. Senators released an 844 page bill entitled The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. If you are like me and do not have 10+ hours to devote to reading the entire bill, the Senate has also released a 17 page summary that can be found here  

The bill addresses many aspects of the U.S. immigration system, but in the interest of brevity, I will limit my comments to a few key parts of the bill that directly impact employers. 
Mandatory E-Verify for All Employers

Under the proposed legislation, all ...

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 I can invade your privacy; you just cant invade mine. It seems like everyone wants to use the latest and greatest technology, but no one wants to suffer the consequences when that same technology is used in ways that harm their interests. Workers want to use social media to have their say about bad bosses, lousy customers, or unfair rules, but don't like it when their employers see the results and react badly. Employers want to protect their businesses and customers from the comments of employees, but also want to use technology to catch employees engaging in all kinds of bad behavior. This ...

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The United States Supreme Court will be deciding an important affirmative action case this term and has now agreed to hear a second, similar case. These are not employment cases, but the Court's decisions will still be of interest to those of us who advise employers and who have followed the twists and turns of affirmative action over the years. Some observers think that the Court's decision in Fisher is going to signal the end of affirmative action once and for all. Others predict a divided Court and decisions so narrowly tailored that they have no real impact on the future of affirmative ...

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This week, employers were reminded of some of the perils of going digital, including increased vulnerability of confidential information. Three different companies experienced three different types of a data breach. Merrill Lynch claims its information was breached by two former employees who used their company passwords to steal customer contact information in an attempt to get the customers to leave with them. Winn-Dixie was caught up in litigation after a class of employees discovered that their personal employee data was improperly accessed through the company's employee ...

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Many employers experience frustration and challenges when trying to obtain meaningful background check information. The cost to replace a terminated employee is high, and can add up quickly for an employer in a high turnover industry such as retail. Employers are wise to develop strategies, tools and resources that help them to recruit qualified workers who will be loyal and trustworthy employees. Background checks are common, and most employers rely on outside vendors to do them. Background check vendors - companies that specialize in gathering and reporting on criminal ...

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This was a good week for employers to pay attention to the news about technology and social media. There were a number of important developments that may impact how investigations of applicants or employees are performed.

Utah joined the growing number of states that have passed a ban on employers accessing employees' social media accounts. Washington is debating a similar bill; its version, however, has an exception that would allow employer access during a company investigation. In a similar vein, employers using employee-theft-tracking databases to screen potential hires may ...

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Later this month, Ill be giving a presentation on employee handbooks.  This has me thinking about what types of policies should be included in a handbook and which items might be better addressed separately and outside of the handbook.  In considering technology and social media policies in particular, I've concluded that it may be best to maintain these policies as stand-alone policies outside of the employee handbook and, in some cases, to incorporate technology and social media requirements into individual employment agreements.

One key reason for considering a stand-alone ...
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