Archives

Complaining Employees: Firing Workers Who Use E-Mail To Gripe Is Now Risky

E-mail has fast become an efficient and popular way of communicating in the workplace. But it has also raised legal issues for employers, ranging from privacy problems to possible liability for harassment when employees use e-mail to send off-color messages. Now there’s a new concern: if an employee sends an e-mail message criticizing your personnel […]

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Union Organizing: Employer To Pay $1.3 Million For Firing Workers Before Election; Do You Know Your Rights?

Have your employees become discontent, asked for higher pay and better benefits or grumbled about recent management changes? If so, beware-it’s these workers who are most likely to become interested in forming a union. And if this happens, it’s critical that you know exactly what the law allows you to do in response to their […]

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Personnel Manuals And Handbooks: Surprising Danger Lurks In Common Disclaimers; A 4-Point Update Checklist

Your employee handbooks and manuals probably state that the policies are not intended to create a contract and are subject to change. This is a common provision employers use to maintain the flexibility to modify their personnel practices and procedures. But now, in a recent case many employers will find startling, one company learned this […]

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News Notes: Is Same-Sex Horseplay Harassment When It Involves Heterosexuals?

Same-sex harassment is illegal under California law if the harassment is “because of” a person’s gender. The concept is easy to apply when the perpetrator and the victim are gays or lesbians of the same gender. But is crude behavior by a heterosexual employee against someone of the same gender-such as making sexually explicit jokes […]

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News Notes: Study Reports Many Employers Were Sued But Few Had Insurance

Even though employee lawsuits are skyrocketing, most employers don’t carry insurance for employment practices liability, according to a report by Aon Risk Services, an insurance brokerage. Of 2,200 employers from various industries surveyed, 61% said they don’t have insurance. Nevertheless, three-quarters of the respondents reported being hit by an employee lawsuit within the past year. 

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News Notes: IRS Extends Electronic Tax Deposit Deadline

The IRS has postponed the deadline for businesses to begin making payroll tax deposits electronically until the beginning of next year. The agency backed off the original July 1, 1997, deadline because of pressure from Congress and complaints from smaller employers that they were having trouble complying. Now, if your company pays more than $50,000 […]

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News Notes: Electronic Surveillance Common In The Workplace

A new American Management Association survey reveals that 63% of mid- and large-sized U.S. firms monitor their employees. Financial sector employers utilize electronic observation the most, and manufacturing companies use it the least. According to the report, 35% of the employers surveyed record employees’ phone calls, review voice mail, check computer files and e-mail, or […]

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News Notes: Phone Company To Fork Over Millions To Settle Overtime Claims

In a development that highlights the expensive consequences of misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime, San Francisco-based Pacific Bell has reportedly promised to pay out huge damages-$27.8 million-to settle a class action lawsuit involving claims for unpaid overtime. The case involved 600 current and former sales support managers who were classified as exempt from overtime. […]

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Employer Alert: Government Expands Use Of Undercover Testers In California

Last year we warned about “testers”-individuals who act as job applicants for the sole purpose of scoping out whether your hiring practices are legal. A new report has concluded that testers can help expose bias in hiring, and the government now plans to deploy these undercover applicants in California workplaces.

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