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Investigating Employee Conduct.

A century ago employees had limited or no workplace rights. Fortunately, those rights have increased over the years through statutory protections and the judicial erosion of the at-will employment relationship. One of the most rapidly evolving divisions of law involves individual employment rights, encompassing record keeping and disclosure, labor relations, health and safety, labor standards, and fair employment practices.

Employers expect employees to be honest, loyal, and productive, and they use a number of investigative tools to ensure that employees meet all three expectations. This book is geared toward anyone who investigates employee conduct for hiring, evaluation, demotion, promotion, or termination purposes. That means anyone dealing with human resource or security management functions, including attorneys.

The book discusses current issues concerning the investigation of employees, suggested answers, and probable future problems. It encompasses the concerns of the employer and the employee. Methods of investigation discussed include searches, medical examinations, interviews, polygraphs, surveillance, wiretaps, eavesdropping, credit reports, arrest and conviction records, fingerprints, and pen registers. The right of the employer to terminate an employee, the employer's obligation to rehabilitate the employee, and the employer's liability for the wrongdoing employee are reviewed.

The book explains employee rights, including statutory rights available under discrimination laws, labor laws, privacy statutes, and unemployment laws as well as common-law torts such as defamation, emotional distress, false imprisonment, and outrageous conduct.

It also includes sample policies, contracts, applications, checklists, and pleadings for the employer; sample letters requesting reasons for termination, information on available benefits, and similar information; and sample pleadings for the employee. The appendixes list constitutions and statutes relating to federal rights, privacy, medical examinations, interviews, surveillance, wiretaps, access to records, polygraphs, handicaps, insurance, physical and emotional signs of drug and alcohol abuse, credit reporting laws, and arrest and conviction records.

Hartsfield's book is well written and has much up-to-date information for anyone dealing with individual employment rights. It is also supplemented yearly to remain current. Human resource and security management professionals will find the book valuable in confronting problems dealing with employment investigations and in gaining practical insight into successfully limiting employer liability.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Decker, Kurt H.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1991
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