November 2013 MVHRA Connections
Newsletter - November 2013
Volume 2, Edition 10
Are you ‘Using’? A slightly different meaning in today’s context!
Erin K. Henry, Servant Leader
Certainly by now, we’ve learned that part of being a strategic Human Resources professional means developing solid relationships with all levels of our organizations. It’s that concept of ‘management by walking around’ that helps us be more effective (and efficient) in our roles. It’s what helps us have compassion when dealing with employee relations issues because we ‘know’ our people and can treat them with dignity and respect (like the humans they are). It’s what assists us in crafting communication about benefits information, policy changes, or other important human resource initiatives because we can envision how it will be received by the people that we’ve come to know; those whom are the greatest assets of the organization.
Have you adopted the power of what it means to be social in today’s context? Yep, social media. 238 million users on LinkedIn. 1.1 billion users on Facebook. 218 million users on Twitter. Nearly 300 million users on Google+. Those numbers are astonishing but more importantly, it gives Human Resource practitioners great insight and offers us an even greater opportunity! Not only are your current employees ‘using’ but so are your future employees and your external customers! It’s not a fad; it’s a fact. Information is power. This information can assist you in leveraging your power in branding your company, recruiting for positions, or getting you connected with other HR professionals who can offer advice when you are faced with a problem and the C-suite looks to you for answers. Better yet, you can be proactive by understanding the challenges of your business and use your social network to brainstorm then offer a variety of solutions to the C-suite or Board. The challenges you face in your roles are typically not isolated to just you or your business. However, it can feel that way if you are isolated and keep yourself boxed internally. There are others that likely have worked through those same challenges. We now have the opportunity to connect with the world in ways never before. Are you leveraging this new social world to assist you in being all you can be? If not, start today! Build your profiles on these social media sites. Become a lurker (those are people who watch but don’t engage in the constant conversation). Eventually, you’ll begin to participate and it will enlarge your territory in ways you couldn’t imagine. Connect with MVHRA on our social pages: (include quick links to LinkedIn page, Facebook, and Twitter account). Being social will help you, your employees and your business!
Learn more by clicking HERE
November 2013 Professional Workshop
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 from 7:45 AM to 11:15 AM
Hot Topics in Employment Law
This program has been pre-approved by the HR Certification Institute for 3.0 General Credits. The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.
Please visit mvhra.org for more information and to register.
2013 Chapter Luncheon - November 12, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 from 11:15 AM to 01:00 PM
The Effects or Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Recruiting
MVHRA Social Event
Thursday, November 21, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
JOIN US FOR OUR MONTHLY MVHRA WINE & SOCIAL EVENT
Please visit mvhra.org for more information and to register.
SHRM Foundation News:
Please welcome these new members to MVHRA!
Total active MVHRA membership is 288
It is time to Renew your MVHRA Membership Now ONLINE…
The time for 2014 membership renewals is here. 2013 has been a great year at MVHRA with interesting professional development workshops and luncheon speakers. We thank you for your membership with MVHRA, and look forward to your continued membership in 2014 and another great year of professional development and networking with HR practitioners in our community!
As a reminder – MVHRA membership offers many benefits to you – some of which are:
To make the 2014 membership renewal process easy for members - use the online membership renewal tool on our MVHRA website. Your membership renewal can be completed in just a few simple clicks.
Step 1 – Login to the system
Step 2 – Renew your membership
All renewal forms must be submitted online.
What is the deadline for membership renewal for 2014? Deadline for 2014 membership renewals is December 31, 2013. MVHRA membership is for a calendar year, i.e. January – December. If payment is not received by December 31, 2013, your membership benefits will end on December 31, 2013.
It’s just that easy!
Thank you for your support - we look forward to having you with us as an MVHRA member in 2014! Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Jim Vose, Membership Director
The Technology Paradox in the Workplace: Tips for Balancing the Legal Risks and Rewards of Monitoring Employees’ Electronic Activities on Company Devices and Networks
Jeffrey A. Mullins, Esq.
Ryan T. Smith, Esq.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
40 North Main Street, Suite 1700, Dayton, Ohio 45423
Thirty years ago, Donald Norman wrote about the “great paradox” of technology: The more it simplifies our lives, the more complex it becomes. Nowhere is this more evident than in today’s workplace, where the internet is both a resource and a distraction, where information is more preserved yet less secure, and where technology continually finds new ways to makes our lives both easier and harder at the same time.
As a result of these concerns, most employers have begun to monitor the electronic activities of their employees. Such monitoring can yield many benefits for the employer such as detecting and deterring inappropriate use of employer-provided systems, ensuring regulatory compliance, and capturing documentation of important events, just to name a few.
Once again, though, we see the paradox of technology in monitoring employee conduct. The steps an employer takes to prevent such liability can, in some instances, create another type of liability. To successfully navigate this minefield, employers must choose their steps carefully. This can be done by understanding the general rules regarding electronic monitoring, having a well-drafted electronic monitoring policy, and prudently considering the appropriate level of monitoring in the context of the particular workplace.
A. Understand the Legal Parameters Regarding Unauthorized Personal Account Access
The federal Stored Communications Act (SCA) prohibits employers from obtaining unauthorized access to electronically stored communications. Similarly, Ohio invasion of privacy laws prohibit employers from making offensive intrusions into places in which employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy. As a result, employers who access the personal e-mail or social media accounts of employees without authorization could face liability.
In one case, for example, an employer coerced an employee to disclose her MySpace account information. The employer then used her credentials to access the private MySpace page of another disgruntled employee, Brian Pietrylo. Pietrylo subsequently sued the company under the SCA, and ultimately he was awarded damages of $17,000 by a jury. In another case, the court allowed claims for violation of the SCA and invasion of privacy where the employer guessed what the employee’s Hotmail account password was and then accessed emails on the employee’s work computer which were stored with her Hotmail service.
In contrast to the cases above, a more complicated situation arises when the employer simply monitors private employee activity on its own devices. Here, the court must balance two competing interests: the employee’s expectation of privacy in personal communications activity, on the one hand, and the employer’s property interests in devices and networks on the other.
So what happens, then, when an employee uses an employer-issued blackberry to access a personal web-based email account? The employer owns the device and indisputably has a right to use it, but does that give the employer the right to access the e-mail account? The answer, according to a recent case from the Northern District of Ohio, is no.
In Lazette v. Kulmatycki, an employee left the company and returned her company-owned Blackberry on which she had installed her personal g-mail application. Over the next few months, her former manager allegedly read some 48,000 personal emails on that account. The employee filed suit, claiming an invasion of privacy and a violation of the federal SCA. Although the employer argued that it owned the device—and, therefore, it also owned the e-mails that were stored on the Blackberry—the court disagreed. It distinguished between accessing the Blackberry and accessing the employee’s personal g-mail account, which the company did not own and which it did not have the right to access, and reviewing company emails which it did have a right to access.
B. Get Employee Consent in Writing
Employers do, however, have a right to monitor and intercept communications by employees on their system, if the employee gives clear consent. In the Lazette case, for example, the court conceded that the employer could have a valid defense if it was able to show that the former employee specifically consented to the activity that occurred.
In this context, consent need not be actual—it can be implied as long as the employee has knowledge of the specific activity that is being monitored—and this knowledge could simply be imparted in an employer’s policy or handbook provision. Implied consent is not sufficient, however, if the employee merely has knowledge that the employer has the capability to monitor. The employee must instead be aware that actual monitoring is occurring. Additionally, further issues arise when the access occurs after the employee terminates, when the provisions of an employee handbook arguably no longer apply.
Because of these and other complications with implied consent, companies who engage in substantial electronic monitoring are best advised to obtain express agreement from each employee. This agreement should clearly establish (1) that the employee has no reasonable expectation of privacy in any activity that occurs or that is stored on company devices or company networks; (2) the company will monitor and access all such information, including specifically, if applicable, personal social media accounts and e-mail; and (3) the monitoring and access may occur with or without notice.
C. Consider Limiting the Scope of Monitoring Activities
As these cases illustrate, the exact legal parameters of electronic monitoring are still unclear. While an employer generally has the right to monitor electronic activity that occurs on its systems, employees also have the right to keep their personal, password-protected communications and social media use private. Without clear consent to monitoring such communications, employers who view messages do so at great peril. Accordingly, employers should consider obtaining express agreement from all employees who use their electronic devices and networks.
Additionally, while some monitoring may be necessary, more is not always better. Excessive monitoring, in addition to violating the law, can lower employee morale and productivity. Employers should also consider the scope of their monitoring activities and carefully weigh the marginal benefit of that activity—in the context of that employer’s particular workplace dynamic—against the legal risks that each type of activity imposes.
Check out these exciting Human Resources job opportunities:
· HR Coordinator – Brower Insurance
· Human Resources Business Partner – CareSource
· Benefits Analyst – CareSource
· Human Resources Generalist – seepex, Inc.
· Internship Position: Human Resources Assistant – Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
To see full job descriptions and/or apply for these employment opportunities, please visit the MVHRA website and click Job Opportunities
New Birthday Rule for Certification!!
Beginning in 2014, HRCI will be implementing a new “Birthday Rule” for recertification deadlines.
Here’s how it Works: Effective February 1, 2014, your new recertification date will be the end of your birth month. You will continue to have at least (3) three years to complete continuing education to obtain your recertification. You will not need to earn more than 60 credits during this one-time extended cycle.
What are the Benefits?
With this change, no one will have less than three (3) years to recertify. You will also receive a new certificate in late March 2014 with your new recertification cycle end date.
Additional details are available about the Birthday Rule through HRCI’s website.
Advance into the Global Marketplace!
Two years ago your organization acquired a company overseas. You’ve been expanding your knowledge….learning as you go!
Now it’s time to expand your career with the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) certification.
The GPHR is a globally relevant credential designed to validate the skills and knowledge of an HR professional who operates in the global marketplace. This certification acknowledges your mastery of cross-border HR responsibilities including globalization strategies, development of HR policies and initiatives supporting global growth, employee retention, and creation of organizational programs, processes, and tools that achieve worldwide business goals.
Eligibility for this certification program includes:
· A minimum of 2 years of global experience in an exempt-level (professional) HR position with a Master's degree or higher, OR
· A minimum of 3 years of experience (with 2 of the 3 being global HR experience) in an exempt-level (professional) HR position with a Bachelor's degree, OR
· A minimum of 4 years of experience (with 2 of the 4 being global HR experience) in an exempt-level (professional) HR position with less than a Bachelor's degree
So, what’s your next step? There are several learning options for you to prepare for the Global Certification. Here are a few: 1) Self-Study Program with the SHRM Global Learning System, 2) The GPHR Certification Preparation Seminar, 3) College/University programs and Virtual GPHR Certification seminars to name a few.
The GPHR Certification will validate your experience and knowledge, establish your strategic credibility, elevate your professional profile and is a mark of distinction. So what are you waiting for….take the next step!
Get Certified. Get Noticed.
MVHRA Needs You!!
Miami Valley Human Resource Association has Board Positions open and available beginning January 2014. We are in need of an Assistant Secretary, a Newsletter Committee Chair and a SHAPE Assistant. The Board meets once a month, the 1st Tuesday of each month starting at 4:00 pm at Sinclair Community College. Go to http://mvhra.org/board/board-jobs.cfm to learn more about these volunteer positions. If you are interested please contact Linda Wells at email@example.com.