D+AS MAGAZINE

LEGAL — Hire Too Soon, Fire Too Lates

© 2007 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2007
Author: Naomi Angel
Page 68


LEGAL TIPS
Hot Legal News for Dealers and Manufacturers
By Naomi Angel, DASMA Legal Counsel

Hire Too Soon, Fire Too Late

As many as one-third of all resumes contain serious falsehoods or omit information, and up to one-third of employees have stolen on the job. These reports come from Runzheimer International, a company that provides employment screening and hiring services.

Another worrisome statistic: a bad hiring decision can cost an employer from 30 percent to 300 percent of a bad hire’s compensation. Runzheimer says these are just some of the problems that result from not being sufficiently thorough when hiring new employees.

Tip: Good hiring decisions are a key to a door dealer’s success, and bad ones can really cause problems. Think of wasted management and training time, severance and possible litigation, bad performance consequences, possible theft or fraud, etc. It’s better to do a thorough evaluation and background check than face the consequences of a bad hire after the fact.


Are Managers at Personal Risk From Lawsuits?

The answer appears to be yes. Executives and managers are more likely to be sued personally along with employers for alleged discrimination involving their workplace decisions.

State courts have become more open to such claims in recent years, and federal courts are entertaining claims they might have turned away in the past. Plaintiffs’ attorneys say that it often takes the threat of personal liability to obtain management attention to claims and to work out settlements.

Tip: Such lawsuits are a two-edged sword. They increase the attorneys’ workload (and thus the legal costs), and they extend the time it takes to resolve such claims. Just be aware of the trend, and use care in personnel decisions.


Congress Extends the Ban on Internet Taxes

On Oct. 30, Congress passed and sent to the president a bill to extend for seven years the ban on taxing the Internet. This was a compromise between the four years previously approved by the House and the permanent ban sought by some.

This means state and local governments cannot tax Internet connections, e-mails, and related services. The legislation does not prohibit sales taxes on retail transactions taking place across the Internet. These sales transactions are currently subject to the same state and local sales taxes that apply to catalog and telephone sales.

Tip: This is good news for any manufacturer or dealer that uses the Internet. For another seven years, state and local governments cannot impose Internet taxes such as all the add-on fees imposed on telephone and cell phone bills. And seven years is the longest extension of the ban since the original ban was enacted 10 years ago.


Should You Use Personal E-mail for Business Purposes?

As a number of prominent people have learned the hard way, personal e-mails are frequently subject to discovery in civil and criminal litigation.

For example, an employee sends work-related materials to his personal e-mail account so he can work from home. From home, he e-mails others regarding those materials.

In the course of a lawsuit, an adverse party learns that the employee worked on work-related materials at home. The plaintiff’s attorney then seeks access to the employee’s personal files on his home computer.

Courts are generally reluctant to provide such access on personal privacy grounds. However, if a litigation party can demonstrate that relevant materials are likely to reside on a person’s personal computer, a court is likely to grant access to a person’s private computer files.

Tip: Companies should review their policies regarding access to company files. Consider prohibitions that deter employees from putting such materials on personal computers and in personal e-mail accounts.

Warn your employees of the dangers of using their personal e-mail accounts for business purposes. Companies involved in litigation should also warn employees that work-related information on personal computers or in personal e-mail accounts should not be deleted pending discovery proceedings.

These articles are provided solely for informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions or concerns about a legal issue, consult your company’s legal counsel for guidance.