Vol. 3 No. 2 Summer 1997 Braun Consulting News Page 4.
button E-mail Policy...
A Fact Of Life!
Having an appropriate and effective e-mail policy is now part of most businesses daily existence. With the enormous growth of electronic communications there is a growing potential for lawsuits stemming from a firm's interception of e-mail, or other related privacy issues. Having established an e-mail policy for client's use, Braun Consulting Group advises that every firm should have a policy so that there is no "gray area" surrounding workers' privacy rights. Employers are recommended to have all workers sign a written consent form that includes the following: a statement about company policy on e-mail: a ban on personal correspondence; a declaration that e-mail transmissions can and will be monitored by the company; and a warning that violations of the policy could result in disciplinary action or termination. A case in Pennsylvania demonstrates how a written policy is needed. A school system tried to reprimand an employee for sending out e-mail messages that blasted decisions made by the employer. While an arbitration panel found that the worker had no right to use the employer's equipment in sending scathing messages, it also found there was no clear policy against it. The worker won by default. The case may have turned out differently if the employer had a form signed by the employee, agreeing to abide by a properly designed and well-communicated e-mail policy. If you need help or guidance in creating a new policy, or refining your existing e-mail policy, please call Braun Consulting Group. We monitor these cases, and understand the day to day uses and legal ramifications of these newly developing areas of employment law and human resources concerns.
button No Tort of Wrongful Transfer in Violation of Public Policy in Washington
"A recent decision by the Washington Supreme Court held that there is no tort, or personal injury-related action, available in Washington state for "wrongful transfer in violation of public policy." The court acknowledges that a cause of action does exist for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. In the case "White v. State, 131 Wn.2d 1, 929 P.2d 396 (1997)", the court observed that recognizing a cause of action for employer actions short of an actual discharge would open a "floodgate to frivolous litigation" and substantially interfere with an employer's discretion to make personnel decisions. The court specifically noted that "courts are ill equipped to act as super personnel agencies." One of the judges argued that any action in violation of public policy, both short of and including discharge, should provide the basis for a course of action. At this time, however, this is not the law in Washington.

button Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMI's)...
CA takes the lead, can WA be far behind?
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted a revised ergonomics standard to protect workers from repetitive motion injuries and address concerns that resulted in the rejection of an earlier version. These standards were adopted in April of this year. The measure adopted (Section 5110 of Title VIII of the CA Code of Regulation) would apply to all CA businesses with 10 or more employees.

(Repetitive Motion Injuries.. continued:)
It would be triggered when two workers performing identical tasks have been diagnosed with repetitive motion injuries within a 12 month period. The affected employers would be required to conduct work write evaluations, control exposures to repetitive motion hazards, and provide employee training. In a conversation between Bob Braun and Mark M. McDermott during his stint at US Dept. of Labor as the "OSHA Czar", McDermott opined that OSHA should adopt similar standards as CA. in regards to RMI's. It is inevitable that this issue will remain in the news... so stay tuned with Braun Consulting Group to stay updated on developments and advice on how to best handle these concerns. Tips to help prevent RMI's: 1. When typing, move only the fingers - always maintain a straight wrist position 2. Periodically perform stretching exercises. 3. To strengthen the muscles - clench fist tightly, then release, fanning out fingers. Repeat five times. 4. Gently press the hand against a firm, flat surface, stretching the fingers and the wrist. Hold for five seconds. These tips brought to you by Braun Braun.. . we don't just present the problems, we have the answers!

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