I was in a court proceeding recently involving a termination. The proof consisted of numerous text messages between the employee and a manager. It struck me as we sorted through the electronic discussion just how much communication occurs in the job setting via text message.
It is a good idea to review your employment policies to make sure that they contemplate all the different types of electronic communication that are being used in your workplace. Do you specify how an employee must give notice about attendance or request time off? Odds are, you have some employees requesting time off via text. If you require a more formal means, you’d best spell it out in your policy. Do you have a communications tree for getting information disseminated? If so, it is likely that text messages will go to cell phones rather than phone calls to home land lines. Does your harassment policy make clear that harassment can occur via text messages (not to mention photos and videos sent via text)?
You get the picture. This is definitely an area of communications that has changed profoundly in the last decade. Make sure your policies have changed with the times.
Read the latest Wilson Worley employment newsletter: The National Labor Relations Board Revives its “Ambush” Election Rules
The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has once again proposed amendments to its rules that will further hinder the ability of businesses to defend against union organizing efforts. Those proposed amendments, commonly referred to as the “ambush election rules,” would allow union elections to be held in as little as 10 days after a union representation petition is accepted by NLRB. . . .
To read the full newsletter, click here.
By October 1, 2013, employers must provide a written “Exchange Notice” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to employees. The employer must give this to all current and new full-time and part-time employees and seasonal employees. This notice is required even if you provide health insurance.
The notice tells employees of the option to purchase health insurance coverage through an insurance exchange. The notice also outlines benefits and consequences of choosing that coverage.
The U.S. Department of Labor has guidance for contents of the notice, which as a threshold, must include the following:
- The contact information of the health exchange available in the state;
- The services provided by the exchange available in the state; and
- Possible eligibility for premium tax credits or cost sharing reductions when health coverage is purchased on the exchange.
There are reports of increasing litigation over credit reporting activities by employers. That is due in part to the fact that more employers are routinely conducting background checks. It is also due to the fact that employers may not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it applies. Penalties under FCRA can range from $100 to $1,000 per violation. Also, in addition to actual damages such as lost wages, punitive damages are also available even when actual damages cannot be proved.
There are three disclosure provisions under FCRA. First, an employer must obtain a written authorization form from applicant or employee before running a consumer report. This authorization must be a stand-alone form, not a notice or clause in an application. Second, there must be a pre-adverse action notice when negative information is found. This requirement is often ignored because it can hamstring or slow the employer’s attempt to fill an open position. The law intends that the applicant or employee will have an opportunity to learn the negative information and respond to it. Third, an employer must provide a post-adverse action notice if a decision was based on the negative consumer report. Then, the applicant or employee has a reasonable time to dispute and correct the information.
A federal court in Washington has issued an injunction delaying the date on which employers must post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA. The final rule requiring the posting was slated to take effect on April 30, 2012, but has now been postponed indefinitely pending briefing and argument, with argument expected in September. Due to conflicting federal court opinions regarding the final rule, the court issued the injunction. The NLRB has instructed its regional offices to comply with the injunction.
New Wilson Worley Newsletter Available: “Court Pulls Teeth From NLRB Posting Rule, But Employers Still Required To Comply”
As we have previously discussed, the National Labor Relations Board now requires that most private employers post a notice of employees’ rights given by the National Labor Relations Act. The requirement goes into effect on April 30th. A copy of the poster may be found here (note that the poster must be at least 11” x 17”). . . .For the complete newsletter by attorney Aaron Duffy, visit the Wilson Worley website by clicking here.