Health Employment And Labor labor and employment law for the healthcare industry

Category Archives: Social Media & the Workplace

Subscribe to Social Media & the Workplace RSS Feed

Protecting Patient Privacy in Light of the NLRB’s Scrutiny of No-Recording and Social Media Policies

The increased use of portable electronic devices in the workplace and the popularity of social media pose unique challenges for health care employers, particularly when the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) conflict with the NLRB’s position on policies that could infringe upon an employee’s right to engage in concerted activity under the NLRA.

HIPAA governs the use and disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) by health care providers. HIPAA violations may occur when health care employees post images of patients or patients’ records or vitals on social media. Oftentimes, the disclosure is inadvertent. … Continue Reading

Federal Court Upholds Discharge of Employee on Medical Leave Who Shared Vacation Photos on Facebook

Denise Dadika

Denise Dadika

Everyone has “friends” who overshare their daily activities on Facebook.  Rodney Jones’ oversharing cost him his job.  Jones worked as an activity director for Accentia Health, a long–term care nursing facility.  Accentia Health granted Jones 12 weeks of FMLA and an additional 30 days of non-FMLA leave in connection with his shoulder surgery.  Prior to the end of Jones’ leave, Accentia Health learned that Jones was posting about his leave activities on Facebook, including his visits to Busch Gardens Amusement Park and his Caribbean vacation, where he spent time swimming in the ocean despite his shoulder injury.  It … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Critical Guidance On Employer Handbooks, Rules and Policies, Including “Approved” Language

My colleagues Steven M. Swirsky and Adam C. Abrahms published a Management Memo blog post that will be of interest to many of our readers: “NLRB Issues Critical Guidance on Employer Handbooks, Rules and Policies Including “Approved” Language.”

Following is an excerpt:

On March 18, 2015, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. issued General Counsel Memorandum GC 15-04 containing extensive guidance as to the General Counsel’s views as to what types employer polices and rules, in handbooks and otherwise, will be considered by the NLRB investigators and regional offices to be lawful and which are likely to … Continue Reading

NLRB Rules That Employees Can Use Company Email for Union Organizing – Affects All Employers

Our colleague Steven Swirsky at Epstein Becker Green wrote an advisory on an NLRB ruling that affects all employers: “NLRB Holds That Employees Have the Right to Use Company Email Systems for Union Organizing – Union and Non-Union Employers Are All Affected.” Following is an excerpt:

In its Purple Communications, Inc., decision, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has ruled that “employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be permitted” by employers that provide employees with access to email at work.  While the majority in Purple Communications characterized the decision as “carefully … Continue Reading

Complimentary Webinar – Eye on Ebola: Issues Impacting Health Care Providers

WHEN: November 17, 2014

TIME:    2:00pm – 3:30pm EST

To register for this webinar, please click here.

Please join us for a complimentary webinar addressing the professional and business challenges encountered by health care providers dealing with Ebola and other infectious diseases. This webinar will offer a clinical overview as well as a review of the guidelines which offer protocols for addressing concerns over Ebola and similar diseases, the health regulatory and risk management issues providers might consider in developing a response strategy, and the resulting labor and employment considerations facing health care employers. A question and answer period … Continue Reading

Trade Secret, Proprietary Information, & Regulatory Requirements Concerns Contribute To Veto of New Jersey Social Media Bill

By: James P. Flynn

The New Jersey Legislature was overwhelmingly in favor of a measure that would have barred employers from obtaining social media IDs and other social media related information from employees and applicants. Click here for A2878 as passed.  But Governor Chris Christie vetoed A-2878 because it would frustrate a business’s ability “to safeguard its business assets and proprietary information” and potentially conflict with regulatory requirements on businesses in regulated industries such as finance and healthcare. Click here for the Governor’s Veto Statement. While the Governor thought the bill well-intentioned, he conditionally vetoed it for painting “with too … Continue Reading

NLRB Administrative Law Judge Finds Medical Center’s Technology Usage Policies Violated Employees Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act

by: Steven M. Swirsky and D. Martin Stanberry

An NLRB Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) has found that two computer usage policies of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (“UPMC”) violated the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”) because they had an unreasonable tendency to chill employee activities, including union organizing and employee discussions about terms and conditions of employment, protected by Section 7 of the Act.

The policies at issue prohibited employees from using the employer’s email and other electronic messaging systems “in a way that may be disruptive, offensive to others, or harmful to morale” or “[t]o solicit employees to support … Continue Reading

April 2013 Take 5 Newsletter: Five Recent Actions Employers Should Consider

The April 2013 issue of Take 5 was written by David W. Garland, Chair of Epstein Becker Green’s Labor and Employment Steering Committee and a Member of the Firm in the New York and Newark offices.

In it, he summarizes five recent labor and employment actions that employers should consider:

  1. EEOC Releases Letter Addressing Wellness Programs and Reasonable Accommodation Obligations
  2. Paying Interns May Not Be Enough to Stave Off Wage and Hour Claims
  3. House Committee Votes Out Bill Prohibiting NLRB from Acting Without a Quorum
  4. New York City Human Rights Law Expanded to Prohibit “Unemployment” Discrimination
  5. New Jersey
Continue Reading

NLRB Continues Pro-Union Agenda

It is no secret that the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) is engaged in a purposeful and partisan attempt to issue rules and decisions that benefit unions, often to the detriment of employers, including attempts by the Board to assert itself into non-union workplaces.    The decisions that the Board has issued over the past few weeks illustrate that this trend is likely to continue during President Obama’s second term.  Indeed, the holiday season has provided unions with additional reason to celebrate as, among other things, the Board has overturned decades of precedent with regard to the law … Continue Reading

Take Five – Labor and Employment Views You Can Use

David W. Garland“Take 5: Views You Can Use – April 2012,” written by David W. Garland, a Member of the Firm in Epstein Becker Green’s New York and Newark  Offices, discusses a number of topics relevant to employment in the health care industry.    
 
 The April 2012 issue covers employer’s requests for Facebook access, a new EEOC publication on the rights of disabled veterans returning to the  civilian workforce,  EEOC’s amended rules governing the defense of disparate impact claims based on age, challenges to the use of unpaid interns, and a recent case regarding the application of  Title VII to the provision … Continue Reading

Are Employer Social Networking Accounts Protectable Trade Secrets?

By: Kara M. Maciel and Matthew Sorensen

Social media has become an increasingly important tool for businesses to market their products and services.  As the use of social media in business continues to grow, companies will face new challenges with respect to the protection of their confidential information and business goodwill, as several recent federal district court decisions demonstrate.   

Christou v. Beatport, LLC (D. Colo. 2012),  Ardis Health, LLC v. Nankivell (S.D. N.Y. 2011), and PhoneDog v. Kravitz (N.D. Cal. 2011) each involved former employees who took the login credentials for their employers’ business social media accounts when they left … Continue Reading

Physician Data Mining- Fair Credit Reporting Act Compliance

It is readily apparent that electronic media and the internet are making it much easier to collect, organize and maintain data regarding individuals in our society. This is as true with respect to health care employees, and physicians in particular, as it is of anyone else. Information about physicians’ conduct, publications, and interactions with industry, as well as their regulatory, investigatory, and disciplinary history, is increasingly available through public sources. Information about practice patterns and quality of clinical performance can be readily analyzed, as data gathering tools begin to proliferate, and “analytics” is a rapidly growing field. Perhaps by September … Continue Reading

Social Media and the On-Going Battle to Protect Patient Information

by Pamela D. Tyner

Social media have become de rigueur globally.  Today, millions maintain connections with their friends, relatives and business acquaintances via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube.  Recent studies indicate that social media popularity even predicts polling popularity and the stock market.  Translated to the healthcare arena, healthcare facilities and organizations are now trained to promote their business by communicating effectively via social media.  In addition, patients, physicians and employees of healthcare facilities and organizations frequently communicate and discuss patient status via cell phones, Facebook, YouTube and other social media.  However, many people do not realize that … Continue Reading

FTC Warns That Background Searches via Mobile App May Violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act

 by Jeffrey M. Landes, Susan Gross Sholinsky, Steven M. Swirsky, and Jennifer A. Goldman

On January 25, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) sent warning letters to three companies that market, in total, six mobile phone applications (“Apps”) that provide users with background check reports. In the warning letters, the FTC states that the Apps may violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). According to a press release issued by the FTC on February 7, 2012, the FTC cautioned the Apps’ marketers that, if they have reason to believe that the background reports provided will be used … Continue Reading

Social Media, the National Labor Relations Board, and Why Health Care Employers Should Be Concerned

Written By:  Ana S. Salper

Social media has revolutionized how we communicate with one another. From Facebook to Twitter, YouTube to blogs, social networking sites have permeated the workplace in ways that have significant implications for all employers.

Social media is both a source for marketing and promoting companies and products as well as an enterprise risk factor if not used appropriately or in a compliant way. In the health care industry, with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and other privacy laws at stake, employers must have a heightened sensitivity to ensuring that confidential health information is … Continue Reading

2012 HEAL Briefings for Healthcare and Wellness Executive and HR Professionals – EBG Atlanta Office

A monthly breakfast law briefing and networking series specifically  designed for health care and wellness company executives and human resources professionals.  This informative series will address labor and employment issues during these challenging times and offer solutions.

For additional information and to register,  contact Carla Llarena or by tel: (404) 869-5363.

February 8, 2012 
Today’s OSHA: What Healthcare Companies and Practices Need to Know

March 14, 2012
It Can Hurt to Ask: TMI in the Digital Age
(Focusing on Social Media & Background Checks)

April 11, 2012
Best Practices to Avoid Wage and Hour Liability

May 9, 2012
What You Continue Reading

Disruptive Behavior: Abuse in the Healthcare Environment

by Pamela D. Tyner

Physicians and healthcare workers devote years to improving the quality of their patients’ lives.  Despite the Hippocratic code and compulsory non-retaliation policies, incidents of disruptive behavior from physicians and healthcare workers, though largely shielded from the general public, continue to frequently surface internally at healthcare environments.  Amidst recent jarring headlines of workplace violence and bullying, news media have discovered this same trend is also on the rise as healthcare facilities across the nation struggle to effectively resolve these alarming concerns.  

Reasons for Under-Reporting of Disruptive Behavior

Most healthcare organizations will not readily admit there are … Continue Reading

Union Posting Rule Postponed Three Months

On August 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued a highly controversial and very pro-labor rule requiring employers to post notices informing employees of their right to join or form a union.  The rule was originally supposed to go into effect in November, but was subsequently pushed back to January 31, 2012 as a result of mounting criticism against the rule.  Indeed, several lawsuits have been filed by business groups alleging that the Board overstepped its discretion in imposing the rule on employers.  A federal judge in one of the cases recently asked the Board to further … Continue Reading