Remember what a stamp was? You’d slap it on an envelope, and the letter inside remained private. But technology has changed—and so has privacy expectations of work communications. When employees send text messages on employer-provided phones, are those texts as private as a message in a bottle … or a message in the sky? The U.S. Supreme Court penned a long-awaited warning last week: For now, employees shouldn’t expect text messages at work to be private.
Case In Point
Mindy Chapman Esq. is the founder of the nationally acclaimed “Workplace
Training that Clicks & Sticks™” and co-author of the American Bar
Association’s best seller and authority on civil rights training, “Case
Dismissed! Taking Your Harassment Prevention Training to Trial.” Case In Point is an entertaining look at the employment law cases impacting you today, plus practical ways to protect yourself and your company.
Look, I keep warning you about the “new” EEOC and how it’s getting more and more aggressive. It’s keeping more cases, rather than issuing “right to sue” letters. It’s securing more smaller settlements, but in greater volume. And it’s creating more burdensome terms to settle consent decrees and conciliation agreements. Now, a new court ruling just gave the EEOC even more powerful ammunition to use against your company if it's accused of discrimination …
Listen up! Breaking news! It doesn’t really matter whom you label as a supervisor any more. As a way to hold a company liable for sexually harassing conduct by a “supervisor,” one court recently relabeled a co-worker as a “supervisor,” even though this person had absolutely no power to hire, fire, promote, demote or otherwise affect the harassed employee’s job status. The court, with the support of the EEOC, ruled that just being the “highest ranking employee on site” with the ability to set schedules and dole out discipline makes for a supervisor as a matter of law.
Who likes confrontation at work? Yet that fear of confrontation can drive a manager to write a glowing evaluation for an average or poor-performing employee—just to avoid conflict and hurt feelings. One court recently warned managers to get over the fear and document accurately … or you’ll lose key legal defenses needed to win discrimination lawsuits.
Read any good books lately? Maybe the next one you ought to pick up is your organization’s own policy and procedures handbook. If I were to quiz you about it right now, could you score 100%? If not, as one court recently warned, a judge may just... throw the book at you!