Winter Issue 2004

BRIEFS:

Human Recourses

Periodically ask employees to revise their job descriptions and account for the time they spend on each duty. You may often discover that employees have taken on responsibilities you were unaware of or may find some employees are letting certain responsibilities slide. (except from "Communications Briefing")

Computer Resources

There are a plethora of products to assist a company with monitoring their employees’ electronic activities to maximize employee productivity and computer resources as well as to minimize potential liability. Furthermore, such programs are designed to prevent an employee’s disclosure of confidential, trade secrets or other proprietary interruption and loss.

Many employees mistaken believe that they have a right to privacy in the workplace. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protection does not extend to an employee of a private company. The majority of US Courts also hold that employees do not have privacy rights in email that is sent, stored or received at work or in any other information electronically stored on the company’s computer system.

Notwithstanding the lack of privacy protection, companies should be careful in developing and implementing their employee monitoring strategies. Excessive monitoring may be detrimental to the company, as such monitoring may cause paranoia and low employee morale.

Employee perception and understanding of the company’s monitoring techniques is critical to a successful strategy and computer use policies should outline:

a) Email and other communications transmitted or downloaded via the internet that are defamatory, offensive or harassing are prohibited and may result in reprimand or termination.

b) The employer owns the computer system, and employees have no expectation of privacy.

c) All electronic communications received or stored in the computer system are considered business communications and may be reviewed and monitored by the company at any time without notice.

d) The company’s computer system, including email and internet access, is provided to assist employees in performing their work and is for business purposes only.

e) Specify retention and deletions procedures for electronic communications.

f) Provide employee training and education regarding proper computer usage.

g) Employees must acknowledge that the computer acceptable use policy was received and read.(except from "Document")


Because tax laws are complex and often change, you should consult with this office or your tax advisor in addition to reading the information in this document. The information presented is intended to inform and alert the reader of tax, accounting and other items of interest, but since it is presented in abbreviated form and not all-inclusive, it should be implemented only upon in-depth consultation with your appropriable advisors. Also contact referenced venders or online resources for additional specific information and application.

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