Archives for November 2012

What do I need to do if I suspect an employee is stealing?

Additional Information:

I am a small business owner in Framingham, MA and suspect one of my employees is stealing from me.  What do I need to do?  Contact an attorney?  the police?  Can I install a video surveillance without notifying the employees?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

It’s probably unwise to install video cameras without telling your workers, though you may be permitted to do so as long as you do not invade privacy. Apart from the practicalities involved and the potential legal implications, why would you want to spend the substantial money required to videotape all of your workers just to catch the wrongdoing of one of them? This may both cost you money and, perhaps more importantly, lead to unhappiness among your other employees. The last thing you want here is to shift focus from the wrongdoing of one worker — whom you may or may not nab stealing though a new video camera — to you as an employer. No one likes to be secretly videotaped, a form of spying. Installing cameras openly, however, may be a different matter. This often deters theft or other wrongdoing by employees. [Read more…]

What can I ask (and not ask) a job candidate’s prior employers?

Additional Information:

As an employer at a Ashland, MA company what kind of information can I ask a job candidate’s prior employers?  Isn’t the onus on the prior employer(s) to say or not say certain things?  Is there anything definitely off limits?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

In terms of job references, there are few limits to worry about. You may ask pretty much any questions you want and think are important, with obvious exceptions for subjects that may touch upon an applicant’s race, gender, religion, etc. You are correct that a former employer faces more risk in the job reference process than a prospective new employer. He/she needs to be careful to provide only accurate factual information. In addition, and though former employers are legally free to offer opinions about their employees, they are normally careful to avoid derogatory remarks. That’s because making negative comments can lead to allegations of defamation, something every company wants to avoid, regardless of the merits of such a claim. [Read more…]