Can employee theft be a protected activity? Unfortunately, yes. As I’ve written previously, employee theft of data and documents is so common it’s frightening-or should be-to any employer. See Your Employees Are Stealing Your Data; Your Employees Are (Still) Stealing Your Data. Continue reading
The Wall Street Journal recently reported some eye-opening results of a survey regarding information theft by employees. Here are some of the most disturbing (though not surprising) findings from the survey: Continue reading
The modern workplace presents a cornucopia of problems thanks to technology. As much as employers may want to restrict employees from surfing the Internet or checking Facebook during working time, it’s nearly impossible. After all, employees can just use their personal cellphones to get online. Add to that reality the fact the growing popularity of BYOD policies. Continue reading
Another case involving employer access to an employee’s personal email account. And the bad things that follow.
The plaintiff was an administrative assistant to the Athletic Director of a public school district in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In her complaint, she alleged that she had reported that the Director and two Assistant Directors had “endangered the health and safety of students” and had “misappropriated funds.” In other words, she was a whistleblower. Continue reading
At a seminar about Internet safety, the District’s IT Director gave a presentation designed to illustrate the permanent nature of social-media posts and how your posts could be embarrassing if published by third parties. One of the slides in the Director’s presentation, titled, “Once It’s There-It’s There to Stay” showed a photo of a student in a bikini and standing next to a life-size cut-out of the rapper Snoop Dog. Continue reading
Does an employee who communicates with his lawyer from a company email account waive the attorney-client privilege with respect to those communications? The answer is not terribly well settled-not in Delaware and not in most jurisdictions. But a recent decision by the Delaware Court of Chancery gives Delaware employers and litigants a pretty good idea of the analysis to be applied. Continue reading
Employee accesses her personal, web-based email account, such as G-Mail, from her employer’s computer. As a result, employer has access to the account. Employee resigns and sues the employer alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related claim. May the employer lawfully access the emails sent by the employee that are now available via the employer’s computer?
It depends, of course. (You didn’t really think I was going to give you a straight yes or no, did you?) Continue reading
BYOD at work is all the rage. What is BYOD, exactly? Well, it stands for “Bring Your Own Device” and, put simply, it means that an employee uses his own smartphone, tablet, or laptop for work as well as for his personal purposes. BYOD policies raise several concerns, including increased security risks and wage-and-hour issues for work performed at home. Another issue is one of particular interest to litigators like me-the question of how BYOD policies will affect e-discovery. In other words, will an employer be on the hook for the preservation of its employees’ personal devices if those devices are used for work and for personal purposes? Continue reading
The University of Delaware announced that confidential employee data was compromised, reports the News Journal. And the breach is a sizeable one-the University estimates that the names, addresses, and social security numbers for more than 72,000 current and former employees may have been stolen. As reported by the News Journal, the university “is working to notify everyone who had their information compromised” and the school will pay for credit-monitoring services. Continue reading
Employers’ access to employees’ and applicants’ Facebook accounts is legally limited in 12 states. The restrictions, though, vary widely. Most of these laws were, at least according to their proponents, intended to prohibit employers from requesting or requiring an employee’s or applicant’s password or account information for the purpose of gaining access to the account as a sort of back-door background check. Unfortunately, many of the laws go (or potentially go) far beyond that simple limitation. Continue reading