Overview: Employers have a broad spectrum of choices for communicating with employees. Bulletin boards, while still a viable means of communication, have long been joined by email messages, tweets and Facebook postings.
Internal and external communications should be monitored and limited by employers to ensure consistency in organizational messages and compliance with federal, state and local laws. Employers should address communications issues in a comprehensive manner, referencing such topics as: confidential business information; media contacts; Internet use; at-will disclaimers; restrictive covenants; use of mobile devices; and communications training. Employers should also focus on keeping the avenues of communication open even in challenging times, such as during a corporate merger or upon an employee's exit from the organization.
Trends: Social media policies, at will disclaimers, and communications during internal investigations continue to be scrutinized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Union-free, partially unionized and unionized employers need to heed warnings from the NLRB regarding the unlawful restriction of employees' right to engage in protected concerted activities.
Marta Moakley, J.D., Legal Editor
XpertHR has added several new documents to its stable of resources on internal investigations, including a How To on conducting internal investigations, an internal investigation checklist, an internal investigation policy to be distributed to employees and FAQs dealing with common issues that arise with investigations.
Internal investigations are crucial for employers in responding to allegations of workplace misconduct. This internal investigations policy document informs your employees as to the purpose of conducting investigations, what their rights and responsibilities are during investigations and how the employer will use the results it obtains in the course of investigating. Having an effective policy is the first step toward conducting an effective investigation.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently provided additional guidance on the legality of restricting employee discussion of ongoing internal investigations. In a recent Advice Memorandum, the NLRB clarified how employers can lawfully restrict employee discussion of ongoing investigations and provided sample language for employers to include in their workplace investigation policies.
In Rockwell International Corp. v. United States, 549 U.S. 457 (2007), the US Supreme Court addressed whether a former employee whistleblower of a government contractor was an original source of information.
XpertHR's High-Tech Resource Center for HR: Talent Management and Employee Retention helps high-tech employers handle their most challenging employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
An employer need not actually violate the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) for its employees to receive SOX whistleblower protections, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.
HR guidance on the legal risks and benefits of employee communications.
Sorry, this feature is not yet available on the preview site