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February 2016 Archives

You're right to monitor your employees

With ever advancing technology comes the ability for employers to monitor their employee's computer and telephone activity. Although this information is beneficial to employers, it may also seem overly invasive to employees. Staying informed of the rights and limitations of workplace privacy can help protect employers in the event of a lawsuit.

Employers operate in a globally integrated digital world. For many, an abundance of daily operation is done via email, Skype and phone. Many employers offer their employees full use of company-owned computers and telephones. In some cases, employees are even given a company smartphone. Just as employers monitor daily operation in the office, they must also monitor their employee's interaction in the virtual office as well.

As current technology grows, employers are able to better monitor their employee's telephone and computer usage. Although employees should always assume that their emails, phone calls and internet activity are being monitored, some may still find this management invasive. Fortunately for employers, so long as the monitoring is limited to company-owned property, it is generally legal.

Monitoring an employee's virtual activity allows employers to maintain a level of productivity while making sure that office equipment, such as computers and phones, are being used for business purposes. Some may argue that this monitoring is overly invasive, however the information collected can work to benefit of both the employer and employee in the event of a lawsuit. Although employees may request the information to support a case for harassment or discrimination, employers may also use the data collected to defend against these actions or support their decision to terminate an individual's employment.

There are several different benefits to monitoring an employee's virtual activity. Working with an employment law attorney can help employers identify safe ways to do this while staying informed of their rights and the rights of their employees.

Is it best to settle or go to trial?

Keeping a business running smoothly is difficult work. For many business owners, even the smallest bumps in the road can lead to significant damage. Of the many challenges a business owner faces, an employee lawsuit can be one of the most damaging. For this reason, it is important for business owners to work with a skilled legal team and identify if going to trial or paying a settlement will produce the best outcome.

Unfortunately, there is no recipe for success when it comes to defending against an employee lawsuit. Many individuals would like to avoid costly litigation opting to settle a dispute out of court. Although a settlement may help avoid a lengthy and damaging courtroom battle, it may also send the wrong message to employees and the public.

Battling an employee lawsuit in the courtroom can take months or even longer. These lengthy disputes can cost the company a significant amount of money. In addition to being expensive, the process of litigation may require that other employees take time off for depositions and testimonies. This can also cost the company money and added resources. In the event the case makes it to open court, the public may be made aware of issues and complaints that show the company in a poor light. While this may not cost money directly, it may cost the company in other ways like reputation and future business.

For some employers, litigation may actually be in the company's best interests. As unfortunate as it is, some employees file frivolous lawsuits on the belief that companies like to settle. Not only does seeing the case to litigation set an example for employees, but it may also help weed out cases that have no merit.

An employment law attorney can help employers identify whether litigation or settlement is in their best interests. Both options carry their fair share of risks, but fortunately, in most cases, only one option will offer the most benefits and provide a favorable outcome to employers.

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Kisner Law Firm, LLC
Gulf Tower
707 Grant St., Suite 2646
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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Phone: 412-880-5605
Fax: 412-235-6704

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