Oh, Technology! It is forever on the move, constantly evolving into the next generation of devices with more bells and whistles than the last. Is your company ready for the next tech creation? We have so many capabilities with smartphones and tablets, our lives should be easier, right?
Employees would probably answer that with a resounding “yes”! However, for employers the devices in the hands of nearly every employee presents a danger. Now, don’t take them away or ban them, but rather be aware of what this means for you and your managers. Here it is, “Be careful what you say in the workplace.” Pretty simple!
The Practical Employer, Jon Hyman, shared in his blog at www.workforce.com the dangers of recording devices in the workplace. He cited the verdict in a New York racial harassment case between an African-American woman and her boss, also African-American. She had worked for the defendant for two years and was a manager. She lost her job in retaliation of her claim that he called her the “n” word eight times, which she found to be offensive and hurtful. He said it was a term that has different contexts that can mean affection or even tough love. She proved her claim by submitting a four-minute recording of his rant that she made on her iPhone. The jury found in her favor and awarded her a total of $280,000.
It may be difficult to entirely ban employee recordings in the workplace because of the National Labor Relations Board’s crackdown on employment policies, but there is a proactive measure you can take. The lesson for employers according to Mr. Hyman, is to “train your managers and supervisors to understand and assume that everything they say is being recorded, if not electronically, then via a mental note that an employee can later jot down.” Remember how important documentation is for HR, well it can be equally important for an employee who becomes a plaintiff!