Employees and Electronic Workplaces

Posted on December 30, 2014 in Employee Issues, IP & Social Media

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As my mother is fond of saying, “Watch what you wish for–you may get it.” That certainly applies to the ways in which technology has made an impact on our workplaces. On the one hand, it has opened up a wonderful world of flexibility, new business arrangements and ease of automation. On the other, it has opened up a hornet’s nest of new ways for employers to get stung in employee-related lawsuits.

Just think of the ways that computers and technology have changed the way we work: e-mail, voice mail, conference calling, videoconferencing, PDAs, smartphones, Treos, BlackBerrys, iPhones, internet, intranet, blogs, message boards, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, networks, ASPs… and the list goes on.

So does the list of legal issues that have emerged as a result:

  • Employees freely copying what they see on the internet;
  • Posting of inappropriate or offensive content on company bulletin boards or blogs;
  • Discrimination in hiring employees through internet job postings;
  • Badmouthing a company on personal blogs;
  • Using e-mail to discriminate against or to harass fellow employees;
  • Employees’ expectations of privacy on their office computers or in their e-mail;
  • Requirements for backing up electronic communciations in the event of litigation; and
  • Electronic communications policies.

It’s as if you took a bunch of rambunctious children and gave them potentially dangerous toys to play with. If you don’t show them how to use them properly, someone (probably you or your company) will get hurt. If you have employees, speak to an attorney to get guidance on how to handle these issues.

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