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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.


Phishing Scams – Remain Vigilant With Your Personal Data

social security

It’s Tax Time and this year there are several new phishing schemes to try and obtain your personal data during Tax preparation season. One of the newest is a phishing scheme via email, asking you to update your e-services information with the IRS.

The IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip Number 5 reminds us that “E-services will never ask you to do this. If you receive an email or requests like this, do not click on the links or take any other action. It is important to keep in mind the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. Never click on strange emails or links seeking updated information.”

Furthermore and “especially in families that use the same computer, students should be warned against turning off any security software in use or opening any suspicious emails. They should be instructed to never click on embedded links or download attachments of emails from unknown sources.”

For more tips on talking to your family about security online and at home, visit

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

Here’s an excerpt from US “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

Tips for Dealing with Valentine’s Day at the Office

candy heartsThe following article is an excellent answer to the question: Can I Give Coworkers Valentine Cards and Gifts? To read the article in its original form, click here.

The Office Is Not A School Room

As school children most of us looked forward to swapping Valentines with classmates. We all did it, working diligently from lists of classmates so no one was forgotten a

nd it was safe to give your secret crush a Valentine’s Day card without letting the secret out of the bag. But the office is not a classroom and the rules for Valentine’s Day at work are very different.

Why Giving Valentine Cards Is Not A Great Idea

Even if you plan on passing out seemingly benign, cute little cards to everyone at the office, unless you work in a year-round casual work environment, it could hurt your reputation. Your attempt to be thoughtful could be seen as being “cutesy” and unprofessional. At work, you want people to take you and your work seriously.

Even simple cards intended for school age children are not appropriate for the workplace. If you want to do something nice for co-workers bring in a big box of candy and place it in an open area for all to enjoy. But … skip those candy hearts with suggestive words and messages!

Valentine’s Day – A Prime Opportunity to Break Sexual Harassment Laws

You might think adult or sexy cards are funny, but they should never be given to anyone – male or female at the office. Any card the depicts, suggests, or alludes to a sexual or romantic act could be considered sexual harassment.

If you are particularly close friends with a co-worker and you want to share a card, do it after work hours and off premises. Even then, be careful. If your card can be considered a come on — even outside the office place — it could come back to haunt you.

too many valentinesDo Not Give Valentines Cards Or Gifts To Subordinate Employees or Your Boss

Do not give cards or gifts commemorating the day to people who work for you or above you – they could get the wrong message.

Because the very nature of the holiday is intended as a day to remind people you love them, or have “romantic” feelings towards them, it is easy for a recipient to misunderstand your intentions.

If you want to do something nice for your employees, take them out to lunch – as a group. If you single anyone out for a gift, card, or even lunch, or only take male or female workers, it could appear to others as sexual harassment or gender discrimination.

Do Not Send Valentine’s Day Emails

Your employer does not pay you to use company time and email to send personal emails. But more important, if you send an email to a coworker, they can forward it on too easily to other people. The way sexual discrimination laws work even if you person you sent it to thought it was funny, anyone else who saw it in the work place (i.e., the message was forwarded to) that is offended, could file a complaint against you.

Getting Flowers and Gifts At Work

Loved ones may send flowers or candy to your workplace. Some employers may not have a problem with this, but others might. It ties up staff who have to sign for or deliver the gifts, and it can be upsetting or distracting to employees who may have lost a loved one, or simply do not have a steady at the moment.

If you do get gifts or flowers at work, be discrete and sensitive to others around you. Do not make a big show of things and take the flowers home with you when you leave for the day.

Remember, Valentine’s Day was a holiday created by the greeting card companies as an opportunity to increase card sales, but most people see Valentine’s Day as a day set aside for lovers. And, attempting to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the office could be seen as a violation of discrimination laws.


If you have ANY other questions about Sexual Harassment or proper conduct in the workplace, call HR Strategies today! 770.339.0000

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


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?


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.


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

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