Vol. 3 No. 1 Spring 1997 Braun Consulting News Page 2
"Time Off" Alternative to Overtime Pay

AFL-CIO John Sweeney Opposes Proposed "Time Off" Alternative to Overtime Pay.

President Clinton (and others in Congress) have proposed that an employee be allowed to choose time and one-half off in another workweek instead of overtime pay. The President's proposal would permit the employee to accumulate up to 80 hr's of "flex time off" to be taken after two weeks' notice to the employer or "cashed out" at the employee's choice. (Note: more and more companies are pushing for careful study and restructuring of federal wage and hour laws, which basically have not changed for over 30 years.)

Did you know?:

Braun Consulting Group spends over $4000 per year for research materials to keep 'up to the minute' on all issues and laws relating to Human Resources and Labor Relations?

Making Braun your partner saves you both the expense of these materials, and the time and training required to incorporate and use this wealth of knowledge.

Please feel free to call Braun with any questions you might have regarding employee benefits, Human Resources or Labor / Union Relations issues at 623-5155.

Sexual Harassment In The News

It seems like every week there is a new report of sexual harassment in the news. New allegations surfaced recently against the top enlisted man in the US Army. Charges and counter charges mixed with some asserted racial discrimination and that women have lied about sex. What a mess!! Braun Consulting Group has been following these issues for years and has in-depth knowledge and experience with the concerns of employers and employees in this area. If you have questions, or need professional help regarding sexual harassment, feel free to call Braun. We are always here to assist you!
A prompt, appropriate response by management could save you a fortune. E-mail us at Braun@halcyon.com, or call 623-5155 anytime.

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"Internet Code of Conduct - Model Policy"

With many more companies, businesses and organizations coming on-line and accessing the Internet now, it is becoming necessary to consider policies regarding e-mail and Internet usage and their implementation. Here are some examples of a Model Policy for "Internet Code Of Conduct" developed by Braun to address these developing issues.

Acceptable Uses of the Internet - Use of company provided internet access is intended to be primarily for business related purposes. Internet access is monitored, and actual web-site connections are recorded. Employees accessing the Internet are representing the company. All communications should be for professional reasons. Employees are responsible for seeing that the Internet is used in an effective, ethical and lawful manner. Internet Relay Chat channels may be used to conduct official company business, or to gain technical or analytical advice. Databases may be accessed for information as needed. E-mail may be used for business contacts.

Unacceptable Use of the Internet - The Internet should not be used for personal gain or advancement of individual views. Solicitation of non-company business, or any use of the Internet for personal gain or entertainment is strictly prohibited. Use of the Internet must not disrupt the operation of the company network or the networks of other users. It must not interfere with your productivity. Use of company provided internet access for non business related purposes will result in loss of access privileges or discipline.

Harassment - Harassment of any kind is prohibited. No messages with derogatory or inflammatory remarks are permitted. Remarks about an individual or group's race, religion, national origin, physical attributes, sex, or sexual preference will be transmitted.

Violations - Violations of any guidelines listed above may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. If necessary, the company will advise appropriate legal officials (police) of any illegal violations.

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Braun recommends an employee agreement / acknowledgment like:

E-Mail Consent Form: I understand that all electronic communication systems as well as all information transmitted, received, or stored in systems used by the undersigned is the property of the company. I also understand that such systems are to be used solely for job-related purposes and not for personal purposes and that I have no expectation of privacy in connection with the use of this equipment, of the transmission, receipt, or information stored in such equipment.

I further understand and agree not to use a code, access a file, or retrieve any stored communication unless authorized; and I acknowledge and consent to the company's monitoring my use of this equipment at any time at its discretion. Such monitoring may include printing up and reading all E-mail entering, leaving, or stored in these systems. (Signed and witnessed etc.) (End of sample.)

EEO & Arbitration "Gilmer revisited in DC"

Court's are enforcing arbitration except when the rules are not equal: - Cole v. Burns International Security Services (DC Cir, Feb. 11, 1997) - Individual employee signed an arbitration agreement when hired, and later sued employer claiming race discrimination.

Court dismissed Title VII claim and ordered arbitration. (1) The FAA Section 1 exclusion of "employment" contracts applies only to workers actually engaged in movement of goods in interstate commerce. (2) Agreement to arbitrate statutory claims under AAA procedures is valid because it (a) provides for neutral arbitrators, (b) provides more than minimal discovery, (c) requires written award, (d) provides for all the relief that would be available in court, and (e) does not require employee to pay unreasonable costs or any arbitrator fees or expenses. (3) Employee cannot be made to pay any part of arbitrator's fees or expenses. (4) Courts can "review an arbitrator's award to ensure that its resolution of public law issues is correct." [2:1 split on point number (3).]

Comment on point number (4): Supreme Court has said that courts can vacate arbitration awards if they are in "manifest disregard of the law." First Options of Chicago v. Kaplan (1995). DC Circuit in Burns grants courts more power to review public law issues than do the 1st, 6th, and 7th Circuits.

The Contents of this News Letter are intended for general information
and should not be construed as legal advise or opinion.
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