How Should Employers Deal with Blogs, Tweets and Posts: Current Trends in Litigation
|Whether it is employees posting pictures of patients on Facebook, or whether you found information on Myspace that is "informing" your hiring decision, you are becoming entangled in the ever changing landscape of the social media and its evolution through our legal system. Employers are rushing to develop policies to protect themselves, concerned about such things as defamation, HIPAA and confidentiality laws, as well as protecting the employer's reputation. Is this a good idea? What are the real issues? Is it really all that different than conversation at the water cooler? I will be discussing the current trends in litigation and what you need to be aware of and steps you need to take to handle this new challenge.
- Specify through examples of current litigations the hot topics in the court
- Explain the issues relative to:
- Privacy – your employees have the right to privacy. Or do they? To what extent is this right protected? In work? Outside of work?
- Confidentiality – You have a duty to protect information about your patients and about other employees. Is a rogue employee who posts things on Facebook an "agent" of your practice? How far does your duty extend?
- Defamation – You have a right to protect your reputation. What happens if you find out that an employee is tweeting bad things about your organization? How bad do the things they post have to be before you can take action? How do you find out what they are saying?
- Information gathered on an applicant – What happens if you "google" an applicant? What if you find out things that you didn't want to know (such as they are pregnant, or they are disabled)? What do you do now that you know?
- Describe what processes/procedures need to be in place to protect your facility/organization
|Jim Southworth, ThM, JD|
James W. Southworth concentrates his practice in the area of labor and employment law. He represents clients in varying industries, such as health care, construction and manufacturing. Prior to attending law school, Jim worked as a Human Resource Manager for a large healthcare system.
Jim regularly counsels employers on all aspects of employment law, including hiring, firing, discrimination and other employment issues. He has good working relationships with government agencies in this area as well, such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Jim has strong court room and litigation skills as well for handling the claims that proceed to court. A main focus of our practice, however, is preventive to assist employers in obtaining their business goals while minimizing litigation expense.
As a former professional public speaker, Jim frequently presents seminars on employment-related topics including the ADA, FMLA, hiring and firing, drug and alcohol policies as well as wellness programs. He has extensive experience in presenting seminars to managers and supervisors, as well as executive leadership, customized to meet the specific needs of the client.
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