At our Annual Employment Law Seminar last week, I spoke about the “Facebook Privacy” bill that was then pending in Delaware’s House of Representatives. The bill passed the House on later that day and is now headed to the Senate. For those of you who weren’t in attendance last week, here’s a brief recap of the proposed law. Continue reading
Employers, do you know what apps your employees are using? That’s the question posed by a recent article in the WSJ. (See Companies Don’t Know What Apps Their Employees Are Using). My guess is that the answer to this important question is, “No.” Here are my top tips for how not to be the employer discussed in the WSJ article.
First, have a policy about employees’ use of cloud-based apps to save work-related documents. Consider prohibiting employees from saving work documents to cloud-based storage accounts such as Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Box.net. Also consider prohibiting employees from backing up the contents of their work laptops to cloud-based back-up accounts, such as Mozy and Carbonite. Continue reading
Employers face a serious challenge when trying to prevent employees from taking confidential and proprietary information with them when they leave to join a new employer-particularly when the new employer is a competitor. When an employer becomes suspicious about an ex-employee’s activities prior to his or her last day of work, there are a limited number of safe avenues for the employer to pursue.
Generally, an employer should not review the employee’s personal emails or text messages if they were sent or received outside the employer’s network. But what if the employee turns over his personal emails or text messages without realizing it? The answer is, as always, “it depends.” A recent case from a federal court in California addresses the issue in a limited context. Continue reading
Delaware’s Governor has signed legislation related to the safe destruction of documents containing personal identifying information. The bill is effective January 1, 2015, and requires that commercial entities take all reasonable steps to destroy a consumer’s personal identifying information within the business’s custody and control, when the information is no longer to be retained. Destruction includes shredding, erasing, or otherwise destroying or modifying the personal identifying information to make it entirely unreadable or indecipherable through any means. Continue reading
The Heartbleed Internet-security flaw has compromised the security of an unknown number of web servers. This is just one story in a string of recent headlines involving the vulnerability of the Internet sites. But consumers aren’t the only ones affected. The companies whose websites have been attacked are employers, after all.
Although data security has become increasingly impossible to ensure, it has also become increasingly critical to employers’ viability. So employers are looking for ways to mitigate the exponentially increasing risks associated with the Internet. 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
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
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