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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- Feb. 8 - 14, 2015

Below is a review of the posts (on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter) from the past week.  You can check out the full posts by clicking on the links.

In light of the upcoming holiday, on Sunday 2/8/15 the post was about whether an employer can prohibit employees from dating one another. Problems with employee romances include loss of productivity, security issues, favoritism, and charges of sexual assault or harassment. So can employers legally prevent employees from dating? Probably. But such a ban leads to its own problems (and tempts some to try to violate it anyway).

TAKEAWAY: Office romances happen, but to protect your business, put in place a policy that deals with it; one good provision is not to permit those in a romance to be in the same chain of command. An employment law attorney can help with others.

The post on Monday 2/9/15 was about a court refusing to punish an employer who wiped its employee’s cell phone. What happened? The employee, who worked in the construction industry, had to use his own phone but he could access the employer’s computer and email. He gave notice and was terminated; shortly after, the employer remotely wiped his phone and returned it to factory settings. He sued under federal law (because he lost personal photos, contacts and other information). The court ruled in favor of the employer, finding the law not to be applicable.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t count on a favorable court ruling – put in place a BYOD policy that includes (among other things) what happens on termination of employment, whether voluntary or not, and gives the employer the absolute right to wipe clean the employee’s phone.  

In the post on Tuesday 2/10/15, we broke from legal topics for mythbusting the scuba diving Advanced Open Water course. What is it? One of the courses after being certified to dive whereby divers learn additional skills and continue to dive.

TAKEAWAY: It’s always good to learn, especially when it's fun. Scuba diving is no exception. Whether just starting out or diving for many years, there is always something new just around that next coral.

The post on Wednesday 2/11/15 was about 7 things employees say that you should not forget at evaluation time. What are some of them? (1) So managers won’t hear “that’s not in my job description”, include “other duties as required” in the job description. (2) IF an employee mentions that someone else doesn’t have enough to do, remind them that they don’t either if they have the time to watch others. (3) Don’t be made into a playground referee when an employee says s/he can’t’ work with another employee any more. Instead, review the situation to ascertain where the problem is. Other tips are in the post.  

TAKEAWAY: Feedback for employees is important year-round, but certain things should be mentioned (or mentioned again) during performance evaluations.

The post on Thursday 2/12/15 provided a quick guide to stop abusive debt collection calls. You know, those calls you get, often robo-dialed, when you are behind in paying a bill. So what can you do? First, send them a letter (keep a copy!) and ask them to stop calling. Under federal law, they must then stop calling; if they don’t, you have a claim against them. You could also hire an attorney; the debt collector then must contact only the attorney going forward. If they continue to contact you directly, that is also a violation of federal law that gives you a claim against them. The third suggestion is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Creditors have laws they must follow when attempting to collect debts, but sometimes they don’t; you should know what you might be able to do.

In the post on Friday 2/13/15, we talked about sex discrimination in pay. Yep, it still occurs in this day and age. Here, it took a lawsuit by the Department of Justice to get Clark County, Nevada to conform to the law. The suit was filed alleging that the plaintiff was paid less than similarly-situated white and male county employees and that the County retaliated against her when she complained about the pay disparity. The County will be on the hook for $179,000 plus be required to take other actions.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t wade into deep (and illegal) water; pay employees according to their performance, not any other protected characteristic.

Finally, in the post yesterday 2/14/15, we wished everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day but also reminded you to keep love legal. For more, go to our post from 2/8.

TAKEAWAY: Employers may have in place policies regarding romantic relationships and the workplace; even without such policies, the workplace is for work, not dealing with personal relationships.

References (3)

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