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Briefing The Cost Club Senior Regional Staff

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Autor:  mistory  07 October 2011
Tags:  HRM546,  Cost Club
Words: 861   |   Pages: 4
Views: 447

Employee Privacy

• Public sector employees are protected by the Constitution from governmental intrusion and excess

o The Fourth Amendment – Protects against unreasonable search and seizure

 Formal written notice of intent to search without notice should be given prior to searching any employer-owned property

o The 5th and 14th Amendments – The state may not restrict rights of government employees' unless it is justified

o The Privacy Act of 1974 – Regulates the release of personal information about federal employees by federal agencies.

o Employees are granted two options of relief: criminal penalties and civil remedies, including damages and injunctive relief.

• Private sector employees may be afforded protection either by common law or statute on a state-by-state basis

o State legislatures have to the issue of private sector employee privacy

o Common law identifies torts as it relates to invasion of privacy in the private sector: intrusion into solitude or seclusion, the publication of private information, and publication that places another in a false light.

• Allowable monitoring includes: telephone calls in connection with quality control, e-mail messages, voice mail system messages, and Internet use on company resources

• Genetic Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on genetic information with regards to health insurance and employment and provides a series of privacy provisions prohibiting the collection of genetic information.

o Employers can collect genetic information if health or genetic services are offered, certain information is needed to comply with certification provisions of FMLA or with state family and medical leave laws, information is learned through public documentation, or where necessary to monitor the effects of toxic substances in the workplace.

• State or local laws may prohibit or limit drug testing in the workplace.

o Publish company policies if drug testing will be used in the workplace

o Drug testing can be considered an invasion of privacy and legality of drug testing relies on the reliability and effectiveness of the testing procedure itself

Employee Unions

• The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) encourages collective bargaining, protects the rights of employees to form, join, decertify, or assist a labor organization, and to join together to improve terms and conditions of employment through concerted activity.

o Employers cannot interfere with employees in their rights to form, join, or assist a labor organization for collective bargaining, or from concerted activity.

o Leading allegations in complaints issued include employer failure to bargain, and illegal actions against employees for protected activity.

o Penalties cannot be assessed however reinstatement and back pay of discharged employees and information remedies may be imposed.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

• Private sector employers and employees in all states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions come under OSHA's jurisdiction

• Federal agencies must meet the same standards as the private sector and although they cannot be fined, they are monitored and respond to workers' complaints

• Adequate safety measures must be taken involving the physical layout of the worksite

o Proper ventilation where necessary, adequate means of emergency exit if the need arises, guard rails, safety nets

• Employees must be trained and informed regarding protective measures

o Continual training every time an employee is hired or transferred to a new position, even if for a short time

• Medical examinations must be provided by the employer where the employee has been exposed to toxic substances

• Inspection resources focused on the most hazardous workplaces

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

• Covers two basic types of plans: welfare plans and retirement and pension plans

o Welfare plans provide medical, dental, life insurance, disability, vision, and sometimes severance

o Retirement plans provide retirement income such as 401K, profit sharing, and employee stock ownership

• Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) provides temporary continued health care coverage

o Available only when coverage is lost due to certain specific events such as termination of employment.

o COBRA participants pay entire premium themselves

o Guaranteed coverage for an employee who leaves employment for a relatively short time for up to 18 months at 102 percent of the rates originally charged

• The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects individuals from discrimination based on their health status and the security and privacy of health information

o Cannot deny coverage or charge more for coverage based on an individual's past or present health conditions

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

• Nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour

• Overtime (OT) pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek

o OT rate is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay

o OT requirement cannot be waived by an agreement

o Violations may result in a change of employment practices to be compliant with the Act, request for payment of back wages, criminal prosecution and a $10,000 fine, imprisonment for a second conviction, and repeat violations are subject to civil money penalties up to $1,100 per violation

• FLSA also establishes recordkeeping standards

o Employers must display an official poster outlining the provisions of FLSA

o Payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records should be preserved for at least three years.

o Wage computation records such as time cards, work and time schedules, and records of additions to or reduction from wages are to be retained for two years

• Children or prohibited from working below a certain age, with exceptions


Bennett-Alexander, D. D., & Hartman, L. P. (2007). Employment law for business (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Occupational safety & health administration. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.osha.gov/workers.html

U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Health benefits, retirement standards, and workers' compensation: Employee benefit plans. Retrieved from

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