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Employment Law Newsletters

Employer Liability for Employee Use of Company-Owned Computer Equipment

The rapid evolution of the personal computer over the last 20 years or so has resulted in widespread use of personal computers in business. There is an ever-increasing number of employees who use a personal computer in the workplace, including a large segment for whom the use of a computer is essential to their job function. A large percentage of employees who have access to personal computers in the workplace have an employer-assigned email address, access to the employer’s email system, and access to the Internet. The increasing use of personal computers in the workplace has forced employers to confront several legal issues, including the extent an employer might become liable for the tortious or criminal use of an employer-supplied computer.

Federal Worker Protection

American workers are protected by a number of antidiscrimination laws. The primary federal antidiscrimination laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. They do not, however, protect workers from discrimination based upon their marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a parent.

Hatch Act for State and Local Employees

Prompted by a concern that public employees might try to use the power of their offices to influence elections, Congress passed the Hatch Act in 1939. The Hatch Act limits the political activities of certain federal, state, and local employees. It does not, however, prevent these employees from participating in the political process. Congress made amendments to the Hatch Act in 1993 which broadened the types of political activities in which public employees may participate. This article summarizes the Hatch Act’s application to employees of state and local governments.

Medical Records and the Americans

with Disabilities Act of 1990)

Personnel File Retention Requirements–Title VII and ADA

Most American employers are subject to a number of federal statutes designed to prevent different forms of discrimination in the workplace. In addition to proscribing improper workplace practices, these laws provide enforcement mechanisms and means to compensate employees and applicants who are injured by employers who refuse to follow the laws.

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