Articles and Updates
Article 1: How Your Business Can Recover From a Natural Disaster
A Business Insurance Update
Hurricane Harvey’s impact will be felt for the next three to five years, or even longer. Many affected businesses may not survive. It is our hope that all the people and businesses impacted by Harvey will recover as soon as possible. For those businesses that had flood insurance, the recovery will be helped through the insurance resources. There are other kinds of disasters, or losses, which can cause your business to be shut down. Now is the time to have us complete a business insurance review.
We can offer many coverage and pricing options for your business.
Disaster Planning for Your Business
• Review your commercial insurance. Being proactive can help in the end. We can help you determine what coverage is best suited for your individual business needs.
• Put together a crisis team and a plan. Design a plan for the kinds of disasters you are likely to have. Have contingency plans for continued operations. This may mean developing agreements with other businesses for use of their facilities or locations for a short term.
• Meet with your insurer as soon as possible. Developing a relationship with your claims adjuster is critical. Be willing to provide all information required.
• Request an upfront partial payment. This will help you fund your recovery.
• Be prepared to document all expenses. It might even help to hire an accountant to help you with post loss expenses and documentation.
Article 2: Employee Rights in 2017
We live in a changing world. Employers now must effectively manage the privacy of their company as well as the privacy of their employees. Today, more than ever, employees know their rights, and it is up the employer to manage the many aspects of privacy. Commercial insurance offers some protection in this area as does employment practices liability. However, there are some things you can do in addition to insurance to reduce your privacy risk.
It is important for employers to have a comprehensive set of policies and procedures and to train employees on the following:
Employers are generally free to set reasonable guidelines concerning neatness, dress, appearance, and hygiene. Each state has laws regarding this, so be careful about mandating “strict” restrictions.
Employees could be subject to discipline for off-duty behavior if it embarrasses the company or causes disruptions in providing services. Obtaining information about off-duty activities may infringe on privacy rights. However, obtaining information on public social media sites like Facebook would not generally interfere with privacy rights.
Personal Use of Company Computers and Other Technologies
Employers do have the right to restrict the use of company technology to business use only. Employers also can monitor technology as needed. Employees are given some protection from computer and other forms of electronic monitoring under certain circumstances, such as agreements found in union contracts.
Employees generally have a right to privacy in their personnel records, except in a few specific circumstances. Disclosure must be approved by the employee.
Email and Voice Mail
Generally employers have the right to review and monitor work email and voice mail communications of employees. One exception might be confidential communication with a doctor, lawyer, or other health care professional.
We recommend every employer develop a social media policy and require all employees to follow it. Employers may be prohibited from disciplining employees for social media postings, unless the posting damaged the company in some way. An example might be an employee posting a comment about the owner’s health problems or recent litigation against the company that was privileged.
The information provided is intended to be a general overview of privacy issues.
This information is not intended to be legal advice or opinion.