Do companies that use workplace surveillance tools to make hiring and firing decisions risk violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)? According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) in a recent comment, the answer to that question is yes. The Bureau’s official comment comes in response to a request for information issued by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy on the impact of automated tools used by employers to monitor and evaluate workers. The CFPB’s position that the FCRA applies to automated worker surveillance tools is consistent with the Bureau’s March 2023 request for information on data brokers, discussed here, to determine whether the FCRA applies to modern data surveillance practices.Continue Reading CFPB Opines That Companies Using Automated Worker Surveillance Tools Must Comply with FCRA
Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. What’s the best approach to managing and getting the most out of your employees? Are there gender and generational challenges to administering performance management effectively? Is communication and training the answer? Partners Tracey Diamond and Evan Gibbs sat down with Laura Yehuda, a Principal with Ernst & Young LLP’s People Advisory Services, to talk about the popular TV show, The Bear, hoagies versus subs, and best practices when delivering performance messages.Continue Reading Making Sandwiches and Managing Employees: Hulu’s The Bear
Q. An employee has requested that the company give her an accommodation due to a religious practice I have never heard of. Do we have to comply with this request?
A. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees and applicants against religious discrimination and requires that an employer accommodate an individual’s religious practices unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the employer. Typically, employers are asked to accommodate more mainstream religions by way of scheduling accommodations or dress. However, lesser known religious practices also must be accommodated if the employee can establish a sincerely-held belief in the religious practice and that the accommodation would not impose an undue hardship on the company.
Continue Reading An Employer’s Duty to Accommodate Not So-Common Religious Practices
Q. Can employers prevent employees from recording conversations in the workplace.
As technology continues to advance, so does the likelihood that everything you say and do is being recorded, even in the workplace. With most employees having access to smartphones and other similar devices, there has been an increase in the number of employees engaging in surreptitious surveillance as a means of trying to document alleged wrongdoing and to assert and prove legal claims. These recordings are being used more frequently in discrimination litigation. Employees who secretly record workplace conversations often regret it, because the recordings usually depict an employer attempting to be reasonable, and it makes the employee look sneaky and manipulative. However, employers often want to prevent these recordings from happening in the first place. Whether an employer can prevent employees from recording conversations in the workplace depends on federal and state wiretapping laws, and the interests the employer is attempting to protect in relation to employee rights.
Continue Reading Surveillance in the Workplace
Q: Can a private employer limit its employees’ speech and political activity in the workplace?
A: Yes, but not speech that is considered part of a “concerted activity.”
Last year, former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick, kneeled during the national anthem to bring attention to racial injustice. On Saturday September 23, 2017, in a series of tweets, President Trump demonstrated his displeasure with NFL players who do not stand during the national anthem and called for their termination. In response to President Trump’s comments, NFL players across the country have been “taking a knee,” locking arms or staying in the locker room during the national anthem. These demonstrations have generated a lot of discussion about whether a private employer can limit an employee’s speech and political activity in the workplace.
Continue Reading Regulating Speech at Work
Q. Our performance review process seems outdated and I’m not sure what to do. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Employee performance reviews are probably one of the most loathed aspects of the workplace. Managers hate to do them. Employees hate to receive them. In some cases, they can do more harm than good.
Consider the employee whose performance is mediocre. He is friends with his supervisor, however, and they often grab a drink after work. Knowing that a negative performance evaluation may impact the employee’s annual salary increase, the manager looks the other way and gives the employee an evaluation rated as “effective.”
Continue Reading Drafting Effective Performance Reviews