Posts Tagged ‘Employees’

What Cause Your Employees Out?

Ever changed jobs? What's your excuse? Salaries are low, there is no possibility of increasing career, moving residences, or other? Many reasons for someone to stop working. One of them big enough to make an employee decides to stop working is the boss. A survey published in Colourful Lives Report by the Future Foundation, said 28 percent of workers decided to stop working and find a new place because they want to find someone who can motivate them with a better way.

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How to Successfully Motivate Employees

Instead of it being about how to motivate the employees, with the emphasis on the manager, it could be looked at as: How can a manager induce self-motivation in their employees?

1. Your Employees are Individuals: Every person that is under your employment is an individual. They are people that have different interests, different tastes, and they each bring different talents to your company. This means that they must be respected and let flourish in their own way. Knowing the employee as an individual is as important as understanding that they each bring a unique quality to your company.

2. Open Communication through Feedback: It is important in any business that a manager keeps an open level of communication. This is easily done by offering regular feedback. By having an open forum to discuss employee progress the manager lets their employee know that communication is essential.

3. Award Productivity: Once a manager understands that their employees are individuals, it is also important for a manager to understand what motivates the individual employee. Sometimes employees are motivated by money, and offering money as an award may motivate that type of employee. Other employees may be motivated by different things. Understanding this and using an award system that initiates motivation can be an asset within any company.

4. Progressive Training: A big part of your company is having employees that are well trained. Employees respond to this because it allows them to gain another skill set that will further their career. Progressive training sessions not only strengthen the employee, they also strengthen your business.

5. Company's Vision: Another important aspect of running a productive company with motivated employees is making sure that the employees understand company goals and desired result. The company must be clear in its vision, and commutative in its explanation of that vision. It is no use having the foresight of a business model if your employees do not understand. Results are based upon the employee's knowledge of what the employer expects. They will be motivated to get results if they know what kind of results your company is looking for.

6. Let the Motivation Set In: Providing new methods or different perspective to employees may take a while to set in. Don't expect results right off the bat! Like a flower that grows from a seed, these things take time. Just make sure you plant that seed and keep it nourished!

All of these things take time, and remember that the onus to find ways to increase self-motivation falls on the manager. Motivation itself will be displayed through the Employee. A serious and respectable manager will take his time and asses his employees, get to know them as individuals and play to their strengths. An important part of being a manager is utilizing these techniques and being aware of how self-motivation will help individual employees.

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Office Matters: The Signs of Self-Motivated Employees

Psychologists believe that the best kind of motivation is self-motivation. This kind of motivation works outside of money and other forms of benefits.

While companies strive to give out the most competitive salary and the best benefits package, they should never fail to look at the internal motivation of their employees. They should never fail to recognize employees who are, in themselves, inspired to do their job without a frown.

Here are some sure signs of highly self-motivated employees:

1. They are results-oriented.

Today, many companies adopt a flexible schedule - meaning, there's no strict policy on the time in and out of employees. As such, it's up for them as to what time they will come in.

If your employees are self-motivated, then this kind of schedule would work for them. They would come in early if they have loads of things to do, and will come in quite late if their schedule for the day is a bit flexible. This way, regardless of the actual number of hours that they "physically" spend in the office, they can still get the job done.

Employees who are purely motivated by money, on the other hand, would see a flexible schedule as an avenue to abuse company time. As a result, they don't get anything done - anything official or related to their work, that is.

2. They maintain a positive disposition.

It's not easy to always have a positive outlook - especially when you are bugged by a lot of issues in the office. It's not easy to always keep your customer service level at its peak especially when your boss is constantly dumping a few more things on your already-full plate.

Self-motivated employees, however, can deal with this kind of stress effectively. They acknowledge that things will not always run according to plan, but this does not mean that they too will shatter together with those plans. Self-motivated employees know that if they stress themselves out for something that is beyond their control, then they will be in the losing end - they will be the ones whose emotional and physical state will be affected.

As such, self-motivated employees simply let things be. They simply take issues as they are, and find a way to make those glitches work for them. By doing so, they'd still be able to keep a happy countenance, even if things are not going their way.

3. They are willing to take in more work.

Now, this quality has to be differentiated from the kiss-ass. Self-motivated employees genuinely take on new assignments - usually those that are not directly related to their official duties. Kiss-ass employees, on the other hand, use additional work as a trophy - so they can then brag about them to gullible individuals.

For instance, self-motivated employees would volunteer to be part of the online newsletter team, or to be part of the Christmas Party committee - without necessarily asking for anything in return.

In a time that's plagued by the economic recession, employees have been holding to their jobs more dearly now. Companies are finding it hard to give them the best compensation and benefits packages. As such, they need self-motivated employee more. Companies need employees who can inspire and drive themselves to success - with less outside factors. Companies need these employees now - more than ever.

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Employer Liability When Employees Use Internet Communications For Offensive Purposes

What happens when you have a rogue or even out of control employee that uses an office computer to send or even post threats of great bodily harm or uses an office computer to generate other highly offensive communications? Can an employer who ends up being sued for such conduct assert a defense of immunity under the provisions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C. 230. This particular federal law defense of immunity actually does preempt inconsistent state law that might otherwise impose liability in certain circumstances. The Act immunizes "provider[s]... of an interactive computer service" (the employer) where "another information content provider" (the employee) has initiated the offending activity.

While the facts considered recently by a California Court of Appeal in Delfino v. Agilent Technologies, Inc. (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 790 are unquestionably extreme and will not likely be encountered in garden-variety employment situations, the CDA immunity defense could well apply in more benign or commonplace circumstances as a result of the court's ruling in this particular case.

In the Delfino case, the court considered a situation in which unbeknownst to his employer, a very angry and upset employee sends anonymous emails to various adversaries. He also created posts on Internet bulletin boards, threatening great bodily harm and death to these various individuals.

In making this illicit communications, the employee used the computer systems of his employer. The victims of these horrible threats and postings ended up contacting the FBI. The FBI in turn traced the emails and postings to the employee's office computer. This was accomplished by by tracking the emails and postings back through the originating IP address.

The employee admitted that he engaged in the in the conduct of which he was accused. In the end, criminal charges are filed against him.

The employer terminated the employee. The victims of the employee's threats sued the employee and the employer for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision or retention. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed the employer was aware that the employee was using its computer system to threaten them. The further argued that the employee took no action to prevent the co-defendant employee from continuing to make threats over the Internet.

The ultimate question before the court in the case was: Can the employer be liable under these circumstances?

Some may consider this particular scenario far fetched. The case was presented as one of first impression in Delfino v. Agilent. The California appellate court determined that an employer could in fact assert the immunity defense under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C. 230.

In asking the court to dismiss the plaintiffs' case, the employer filed a motion for summary judgment, in which it asserted that the employer was a "provider... of an interactive computer service", and therefore entitled to complete immunity under the CDA. Section 230(c)(1) states that "[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." The statute also preempts inconsistent state law that would impose liability, saying: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any State from enforcing any State law that is consistent with this section. No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section." Section 230(e)(3), italics added.

The primary goal of the CDA has been to control the exposure of minors to indecent material over the Internet. Nonetheless, one of its other important purposes is "to encourage [Internet] service providers to self-regulate the dissemination of offensive materials over their services." This was determined in the case of Zeran v. America Online, Inc. (4th Cir. 1997) 129 F.3d 327, 331, cert. den. (1998) 524 U.S. 937.

The CDA also been enforced in a manner so as to avoid the chilling effect on Internet free speech that would occur if tort liability ended up being imposed on companies that do not create potentially harmful messages but are simply intermediaries for their delivery. Id. at 330-331.

Accordingly, Section 230(c)(2) immunizes from liability an interactive computer service provider or user who makes good faith efforts to restrict access to material deemed objectionable. However, the provider must make a good faith effort to restrict access to material that is deemed objectionable.

Drawing on prior CDA cases that actually were beyond the employment context, the Delfino court ruled that there are three essential elements that a defendant must establish in order to claim section 230 immunity. These three elements are determined by the court are:

(a) the defendant is a provider or user of an interactive computer service;

(b) the cause of action treats the defendant as a publisher or speaker of information; and

(c) the information at issue is provided by another information content provider. Gentry v. eBay, Inc. (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 816, 830.

In considering the first element (whether the employer was a provider or user of an interactive computer service), the court ruled the question a matter of first impression. In its judgment, the court specifically held: "We are aware of no case that has held that a corporate employer is a provider of interactive computer services under circumstances such as those presented here. But several commentators have opined that an employer that provides its employees with Internet access through the company's internal computer system is among the class of parties potentially immune under the CDA." Delfino, 145 Cal.App.4th at 805.

Prior courts had interpreted the term "interactive computer service" broadly in their own decisions and rulings. (For example, in Batzel v. Smith (9th Cir. 2003) 333 F.3d 1018, 1030, fn. 15, cert. den. (2004) 541 U.S. 1085), the court held that the employer was a "provider of interactive computer services" under the CDA. Id. At 806.

Considering the second element of the test, (whether the cause of action treated the defendant as a publisher or speaker of information), the court found that plaintiffs, in alleging that the employer was liable for the employee's cyber threats, sought to treat the employer "as a publisher or speaker" of those messages. (sec. 230(c)(1).) Id.

On the last element of the test, (whether the information at issue was provided by another information content provider), there was no dispute that the employee was the party who had authored the offensive e-mails and postings. Moreover, there was no evidence that the employer played any role at all in "the creation or development" of these threatening and offensive messages and postings. Id. at 807-08.

In the end, the court concluded that the employer satisfied all three of the elements necessary to establish immunity under the CDA. Therefore, the court of appeal did affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer. The court of appeals agreed that the grant of immunity under the CDA was proper pursuant to the terms and conditions of that law.

In its decision, the court also noted that, even if plaintiffs' claims had not been barred under section 230(c)(1), granting summary judgment to the employer was nonetheless proper. The court reached this conclusion because plaintiffs failed to establish a prima facie case on their claims against the employer. Id. at 808. In this regard, the court specifically held that there was no indication that the employer ratified in any manner the employee's conduct, and that the employer could not be liable under theory of respondeat superior. Id. at 810-12. In addition, there was not even any evidence that the employer was even aware of the employee's conduct. Id. at 815.

In its holding and order, the court affirmed the long established principle that an employer will not be held vicariously liable for an employee's malicious or tortious conduct in a situation in which the employee substantially deviates from his employment duties for personal purposes. The court additionally offered what can be considered an important teaching point on the theory and principle of ratification under California law.

The court noted that imposing derivative liability on the employer for an employees actions need not be founded on respondeat superior. Such liability can also be based upon the doctrine of ratification as discussed in Murillo v. Rite Stuff Foods, Inc. (1998) 65 Cal. App.4th 833, 852). In that case, the court observed that an employee's actions may be ratified after the fact by the employer's voluntary election to adopt the employee's conduct. This is done, in essence, by treating the conduct as that of the employer's own. Id. at 810.

In considering what evidence can support the ratification theory, the Delfino court cited the California Civil Code 2339. The court, in citing that provision, determined that an employer's failure to discharge an employee after knowledge of his or her wrongful acts may be used as evidence that can support ratification of that employee's conduct.

In the end, there were a number of lessons that have been learned in the aftermath of Delfino. This includes the fact that although employers can take some degree comfort that the CDA can offer them immunity if out of line employees make offensive or threatening Internet postings or emails, conservative employers should take corrective actions immediately against offending employees when such conduct is discovered. This action potentially should include termination, if the circumstances so warrant. Employers should institute certain policies and procedures that prohibit employees from using the employer's computers to post or send threatening or offensive information. Moreover, since CDA immunity will be lost if the employer cannot establish that the information at issue was "provided by another information content provider", cautious employers will also need to avoid any conduct that would suggest the employer has promoted, sponsored, initiated, or ratified the offending material in any way, shape or form.

Robert Masud, Esq. is the principal of Masud & Company LLC, a law firm for the world of business, finance and the internet. Find out how our lawyers can help you at http://www.masudco.com.

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