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Negative Social Media Comments by Employees

Employers have a myriad of questions and concerns about employees use of Social Media, especially when it comes to limiting what an employee may say about the company. No employer wants negative comments about their product, or their employment policies and procedures, put out for the world to see. However, as our world has become more entrenched with social media, disgruntled employees are able to easily reach a wide audience through various avenues of not only their own posting, but their followers/friends then re-posting any thoughts that they may have.

It is important that employers know the rules regarding social media and their employees use of such, and there are plenty of laws that surround an employees rights when it comes to social media.

A recent blog post by Eric B. Meyer, on The Employer Handbook blog, discussed a concluding opinion of a NLRB Administrative Law Judge that addressed negative tweets about employment matters by an employee, and whether or not the Employer could make the employee delete the tweets. The answer is No. “Section 7 protects employees’ right to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of mutual aid or protection”….The tweets concerned wages and working conditions and are protected matters. The issues raised were not purely individual concerns, but  issues common to many employees. “Concerted activities include individual activity where “individual employees seek to initiate or to induce or to prepare for group action, as well as individual employees bringing truly group complaints to the attention of management.”

“How can employers avoid this problem? Look, employees are going to talk about work. Count on it. And a blanket ban on social media discussions about work would violate the National Labor Relations Act. But, you can — and should — encourage your employees to address work issues directly with co-workers, supervisors, HR, other decisionmakers. In most situations, this direct communication is a more effective way to address workplace issues and resolve problems, than venting on social media.”

Source: Can you force an employee to delete critical tweets about the company? NLRB says no.

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Twitter Connected to the Liberty Bell? Read On:

  

The Liberty Bell was first rung on July 8, 1776: That’s 237 years from today! The Liberty Bell rang for the first time in the tower of Independence Hall, summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon. Early Americans used bells to get news and messages around, whereas now we use outlets like Twitter or Facebook. It’s hard to believe how far we have come as a country. What else do you know about the Liberty Bell? Have you seen it in person? In going along with this month’s patriotic theme, the bloggers at HR Strategies have been doing some research. We are interested in the steps our Founding Fathers took that have led us from tolling bells to tweeting. This month, HR Strategies is researching important events and information that have shaped our nation’s history, and we’re bringing them to you. Here are some interesting facts about the Liberty Bell:

  • The Bell was sent from England on the ship Hibernia, captained by William Child.

    Note: It is in error, though commonly believed that it came on the Myrtilla. Dennis R. Reidenbach, Acting Superintendent Independence National Historical Park, wrote, “According to newspaper accounts of port activity, the Myrtilla docked in Philadelphia at the end of September 1752. However, Pennsylvania’s Speaker of the Assembly, Isaac Norris (the man who ordered and oversaw the installation of the bell in the State House), wrote on Sept. 1 that the bell had recently arrived. The only ship from England that docked in Philadelphia during the month of August that year was the Hibernia, captained by William Child. The Hibernia was of modest size, transporting dry goods and passengers regularly between England, the colonies and Ireland. No known records identify the Hibernia‘s owner either before or at the time it transported the bell.” (Philadelphia Inquirer 9/22/02)

  • The bell cracked the first time it was rung.
  • The bell weighed 2080 pounds when it was cast.
  • The strike note of the Bell is E-flat Listen to the Normandy Liberty Bell
  • On June 6, 1944, when Allied forces landed in France, the sound of the bell was broadcast to all parts of the country
  • There are three known recordings of the Bell. Two were made in the 1940s for radio stations to play; the third is currently owned by Columbia Records.
  • About 1,500,000 people annually make a pilgrimage to the Bell.
  • The Liberty Bell Center was designed by the same firm (Bohlin, Cywinski, Jackson) that designed the Apple Store glass cube in Manhattan.
  • On the bell, “Pennsylvania” is spelled “Pensylvania”.
  • The Christmas-time favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was produced by the short-lived Liberty Films company. They used a Liberty Bell, without a crack, as their symbol.
  • When the Liberty Bell first cracked, it was given to Pass & Stow to recast. A replacement bell was ordered from Whitechapel Foundry in England. The Pass & Stow bell is the Liberty Bell.
  • As an April Fools (1996) joke, Taco Bell ran a full-page ad in various newspapers, including The New York Times, claiming to have bought the Liberty Bell. This Liberty Bell trivia is from US Histroy.org.

Here’s an excerpt from US History.org: “The Liberty Bell was rung to call the Assembly together and to summon people together for special announcements and events. The Liberty Bell tolled frequently. Among the more historically important occasions, it tolled when Benjamin Franklin was sent to England to address Colonial grievances, it tolled when King George III ascended to the throne in 1761, and it tolled to call together the people of Philadelphia to discuss the Sugar Act in 1764 and the Stamp Act in 1765.”

From ringing a bell in the town square to tweeting, the way we spread news has certainly come a long way. As technology has advanced at an alarming rate, we continue to hold on to what made us the country we are today. The bell early Americans used to transport information has lasted as a patriotic symbol in the Unites States to this day. We tend to hold these icons close during the 4th of July celebrations, and we hope you have learned something today that you will take with you. Just as early Americans used bells to get news and messages around, HR Strategies hopes that you will click on the link below to follow us on Twitter as we “ring” the latest HR news and information! 

follow us on twitter

The Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA)

social mediaOn April 27th, 2012, Rep. Eliot Engel, introduced the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA). SNOPA is being introduced with urging form the ACLU to pass legislation based on the rights to keep online accounts private; as concerns grow about employers asking applicants and employees for their login credentials to social networking sites.  SNOPA legislation prohibits employers from requiring a person’s login credentials to access their online content.

According to the ACLU website, “Such demands constitute a grievous invasion of privacy. Private activities that would never be intruded upon offline should not receive less privacy protection simply because they take place online. It is inconceivable that an employer or school official would be permitted to read an applicant’s or student’s diary or postal mail, listen in on the chatter at their private gatherings with friends, or look at their private videos and photo albums. Nor should they expect the right to do the electronic equivalent.”

SNOPA will make it illegal for employers to access personal accounts or devices that are password protected. In addition, SNOPA will make it illegal for any employee or applicant to be required to provide Facebook passwords or private material, for employers to pressure employees to accept an employer as a member of their social network, to discharge or discipline an employee who refuses access to their online social networking, and to refuse to hire anyone who refuses access to their online networking.

HR Strategies Regulatory Compliance

What:

It seems as though every year the Federal and State governments are adding more acts, mandates, and laws to the business of employment. As a small to mid-sized business, you probably don’t have the time to keep up with the names of all of the new ones, let alone how they can impact you as an employer. Large corporations have complete in-house HR departments and legal departments that work at not only keeping up with the new regulations, but also keeping their corporations in compliance. Are you that lucky? Or are you risking the chance of fines and work interruption?

How:

HR Strategies focuses on keeping you compliant by working as your off-site HR department, with the back-up of legal counsel from one of our strategic partners, Jackson Lewis, which is one of the largest law firms specializing in workplace law. HR Strategies team can help you reduce your risk and vulnerabilities to Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes. We maintain all of your employment related records in safe, professional, and government regulated ways.

Benefit:

We keep pace with changing governmental requirements that affect your business and help you stay compliant. By relieving your stress of whether or not you are in compliance, we give you the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issue of compliance.

See All HR Solutions Here

HR Strategies Regulatory Compliance Case Study

HR Strategies Assists in OSHA Compliance and Reduction of Penalties

Challenges:

HR Strategies provides aid and counsel on a variety of government regulatory compliance issues. One of the biggest issues which HR Strategies aids client owners in is OSHA compliance. Recently, a client owner received an “on site” visit from two OSHA inspectors regarding a complaint reported to their office.  Upon completion of the “on site” inspection, which included one-on-one interviews with selected personnel, a meeting was conducted to review the findings and closing remarks with the client. It became apparent the client was in violation of a number of serious OSHA standards; and that a citation and penalties would be forth coming.

Solution:

HR Strategies was notified immediately by the client at the time of the “on site” visit, and was able to meet with the inspectors and client, and was also able to attend the review meeting on the findings and closing remarks. Upon receipt of the citation letter, HR Strategies took a pro-active approach to address the citations and provide the necessary training and documentation in a timely manner in order to potentially reduce the penalties that were identified. HR Strategies was able to present the “corrective action” items in an informal conference with the OSHA area director.

Results:

The client was very appreciative of the timely and thorough action taken by HR Strategies, including the back-up of having a professional HR team present at meetings with them, and the training provided to allow them to be in compliance going forward. The meeting was favorable, resulting in the reduction of the penalties by half the original amount.

See All HR Strategies Case Studies Here

The Importance of Communication in 401(k) Offerings

We have discussed 401(k) plans in the past, either by simply mentioning retirement planning in passing or dedicating full posts to the subject. If you are a client or a follower of this blog, you know that HR Strategies offers 401(k) programs, retirement planning, college financial planning, and many other ways for you and your employees to save money.

Recently, an article came out by Stephen Miller concerning 401(k) matching. Miller is an online editor/manager for SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management. The article, entitled,401(k) Match: ‘Thresholds’ Drive Participation More than Rates: A sampling of the wide variety of matching formulas”, discusses the importance of employer-to-employee communication in regards to choosing a 401(k) plan matching formula. Miller draws from a July 2012 report by Brigitte C. Madrian, the Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her findings show that changing matching formulas can result in higher savings for employees, while keeping the employer contribution the same. Here is a basic scenario using two example formulas from the article:

Employee A and Employee B earn the same yearly salary: $100. Here are the two match formulas they have to choose from:

Employee A

Employee B

50% of the first 6% of Salary

25% of the first 12% of Salary

EE Contribution/Quarter=$6

EE Contribution/Quarter=$12

Remaining Yearly Salary=$94

Remaining Yearly Salary=$88

Employee A sees the higher match percentage and goes with the 50% of the first 6% of salary. Employee B does a few equations, and decides to go with the 25% of the first 12% of salary.

50% of the first 6% of Salary

25% of the first 12% of Salary

50% x (6% of $100)

25% x (12% of $100)

50% x $6

25% x $12

ER Contribution/Quarter=$3

ER Contribution/Quarter=$3

As you can see, the employer contribution is the same for both employees. However, as we go further, we see that there is a definite difference in the employee savings.

EE Qtly Contribution+ER Match=$9

EE Qtly Contribution+ER Match=$15

Employee Earns= $36/year

Employee Earns=$60/year

$94(salary)+$36(contribution)=

$130

$88(salary)+$60(contribution)=

$148

Madrain states that there is a risk that employees are more likely to perceive the higher rate/lower threshold as a better savings plan. However, in the example above, we can see that even though the employer match is the same for both employees, by choosing the lower match rate/higher threshold, Employee B is earning an extra $18 a year. Furthermore, the effect of higher savings is compounding! Employees contribute to their 401(k) on a pre-tax basis, thus increasing savings and take-home pay, while setting aside money for their retirement. In most cases, and with proper alignment of education and diversification tools available, higher deferrals typically result in higher returns, increasing the compounding effect of savings.

While those of you who are well versed in the language of 401(k) might see this as common sense, a majority of your employees may not see it that way. This is why the article stresses the importance of making sure your employees are in the know about 401(k) matching. The cost will stay the same for you, the employer, but your employees will be benefiting from increased savings and the knowledge that their employer has helped them work towards stability in their financial future.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) identifies the fiduciary responsibilities of plan sponsors to include education of participants and eligible employees. Lack of education often leads to inadequate diversification of assets and thorough understanding of the plan’s features. Each plan sponsor must ensure that they dedicate the proper resources and time to thoroughly educate their employees about their 401(k) plan.

Don’t forget, HR Strategies offers a variety of retirement savings plans. Our knowledgeable HR Consultants will help your employees with their 401(k) needs, while helping you to fulfill your fiduciary responsibilities.

Contact Us Today!

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