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Workplace privacy

In the age of social media, employers must constantly balance their desire for information about employees and applicants with the privacy rights of those employees and applicants. Effectively doing so goes a long way toward ensuring workplace safety and efficiency, improving employee morale and reducing the risk of privacy-related employment litigation.

Porter Wright attorneys help employers develop workable, effective electronic communication and social media policies and establish procedures to ensure Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance related to background checks and internal investigations. We also work with employers to determine when drug and alcohol testing is appropriate and whether applicant psychological and honesty testing furthers business interests. Employers also turn to us for advice about workplace surveillance and searches, including surveillance and investigations conducted using emerging technologies. In addition, we help employers navigate issues regarding employee lifestyle and non-work activity privacy rights and advise them as to human resources privacy protection, including outsourcing arrangements and medical records.

Our experience includes:

  • We have assisted municipal and corporate clients in responding to breaches involving human resources data and counseled them on their data security policies and practices involving such human resources records and data.
  • We regularly counsel clients regarding HIPAA compliance as it relates to their covered group health plans and on-site health clinics and EAP services.
  • We have worked with clients in a variety of industries to develop electronic communications and social media policies.
  • We regularly counsel clients with respect to the legal implications of disciplining employees for comments made on social media.
  • We regularly counsel clients to ensure that applicant and employee background check policies and procedures comply with FCRA.
  • We regularly counsel clients with respect to ensuring employee medical privacy in compliance with the ADA, FMLA and HIPAA.
  • We regularly counsel clients with respect to drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures and their implementation.
  • We help clients address the privacy concerns that arise in vendor contracts relating to the outsourcing of human resources functions.