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November 2014 Archives

Can I collect unemployment?

Your eligibility for unemployment benefits varies from state to state and depends upon the following general criteria:
  • The number of weeks that you have worked
  • The reasons for separation; and
  • Whether your employer challenges your benefits.
The poor economy has placed a huge burden upon the states’ unemployment compensation funds. As a result, it is likely that your unemployment benefits may be initially denied if your employer opposes to your application for benefits. While this means that initially, you will be denied benefits, you will still have the ability to appeal that decision. Pay close attention to the appeal timelines as you have a very short period to file your appeal and question the initial denial of benefits.As a general rule, you are entitled to receive benefits if you were laid off from a job. If you were fired because of a performance issue, you should still be able to receive benefits unless the employer is able to prove that you showed a willful and repeated disregard for the employer’s rules and policies. Routinely returning late from lunch or being warned about violating a particular policy more than two or three times will likely result in your termination and denial of unemployment compensation benefits.The Hamilton Law firm are Doylestown lawyers ready to help you with your unemployment compensation. Our attorneys will help you know your unemployment compensation rights.

Can my employer track my personal actions on my work computer?

Absolutely! Most employers have servers that retain any and all information downloaded or accessed on any computer. Whether they will actually access and review that information is another question but they absolutely have the ability to view it should they chose to do so. Also, since the information was downloaded on a work computer, network or server, you, as the employee, no longer have an expectation of privacy in that content. In fact, most employers have an employee handbook that outlines this policy. Accordingly, the employer will be able to view this data without requiring your permission. This means that you are potentially giving the company access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites as well as an idea of the types of websites you are browsing.As a best practice, you must always be concerned about the impression you are presenting of yourself to you employer. Fun but inappropriate pictures on your Facebook account may cause an employer to question your ability to do a job or decide that you are not a good fit for the team. While these pictures have absolutely nothing to do with your job performance or skill set, they may cast you in a negative light. Accordingly, you should absolutely never access your personal social media sites from work computers. Similarly, be extremely careful about the types of websites you browse while at work as it may give the employer reason to doubt your focus and effective use of work time.Have a question for our employment law firm in Langhorne and Willow Grove PA? Call today!

Can I be fired for writing about my employer on my social media sites?

Yes. Especially if you say something negative and disparaging about the company or its employees.In an “at will” employment context, you can be fired for any reason or no reason as long as it is not a discriminatory reason. Casting the company or its employees in a negative light on the Internet will definitely be grounds for termination.As a general rule, do not say anything at all about your employer or co-workers on your social media sites unless you have been expressly authorized or asked to do so by the company. Don’t assume that because you aren’t connected or linked to the employer on that site that the company won’t see what you are posting. Instead, assume that everything being posted online is public and permanent and that you shouldn’t being saying anything that you would not say directly to your employer.

Can my employer access my social media accounts?

Recently, recognizing that employees use social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, employers have begun asking employees for their passwords to access those accounts.   The employers argue that they need to monitor those accounts to ensure that their trade secrets and proprietary information is not being shared outside the company. Employees view this as an egregious violation of their rights. Recently some state legislators, including Pennsylvania, have introduced bills to try and limit an employer’s ability to seek access to these social media sites. However, the proposed legislation in Pennsylvania has been tabled for now.As it currently stands, an employer is permitted to ask for access to these accounts and your refusal to grant access may be viewed negatively and impact your job. But be aware-even if you don’t directly grant your employer access to the account, it is possible that they will become aware of content that affects them through other ways. For instance, if you “friend” co-workers or former co-workers, content on your social media site may be shared with your employer through their network. Further, if you access your social media sites through a work computer, any data downloaded or accessed on that computer may be saved by the employer’s server.Your best practice is not to use any social media sites while at work or to make any reference to your employer or co-workers on those social media sites. Keep work separate from your personal life.

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