International Door & Operator Industry

SEP-OCT 2017

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 16 of 118

14 International Door & Operator Industryâ„¢ LEGAL&LEGISLATION Continued from page 13 The use of smartphones also means employees can engage in socially questionable behavior while on duty. Your employees are representatives of your business when out in the field. If they are talking on the phone using salty language or saying objectionable things, anyone who can hear them may hold that behavior against your company. Worse still, texting and e-mail is not just ephemeral and exposed only to those within earshot. Those written communications last forever, and can be used as evidence in court proceedings for claims of harassment or criminal misconduct. The risks of letting employees use cellphones should not be allowed to outweigh the benefits though. The best approach for dealers is to establish a policy governing cellphone use by employees, and then following through on those rules. Such policies should restrict use of phones while driving to protect against distracted incidents. Cellphones should not be used on company time for personal purposes, and certainly not for things that might expose your business to liability. Customer etiquette should also include advising your employees to set their phones on silent or vibrate, and not having inappropriate or overloud ringtones. In short, common sense is key to managing the benefits and risks of this technology. Cameras I have been advising clients and IDA members for years that documenting projects is essential to protecting rights when they get into claims and litigation. One of the best forms of documentation is photographs. The advent of digital photography has made this method of recording job progress and worksite issues exceptionally less expensive than it used to be. And it needs to be used. There is no aspect of a garage door job for which digital photos would not be beneficial to have in there was a dispute. Your technician should be trained to take photos before starting a job, during the work when any unusual issue is encountered, and then after the work is completed. Photographs and/or video should be preserved and identified so that you can get the most benefit from them should they be needed for dispute resolution. This includes putting signs or labels in a photo to make it easy to identify something, and using everyday items (such as a pencil, a coin, or a tape measure) to provide context for size and location. As a security and preservation practice, dealers should make sure their technicians are using company cameras. This will benefit both the employer and the employee in the event of a dispute. Just as a personal cellphone can be subject to discovery, and thus open up privacy concerns for employees, the same is true when it comes to digital photo storage. Your workers do not want to risk their personal photos becoming part of a discovery disclosure in litigation. Similarly, employers do not want to have to confiscate or rummage through employee photo banks to locate pictures of the project if a dispute occurs. Tracking Technology Employers are able to monitor their workers like never before, and almost all of it is legal. For years, just about everyone has understood that employers were permitted to monitor e-mail and keystrokes on work computers. However, the range of tracking goes far beyond that. An IDA dealer can install a tracking device in a work truck, and know where the truck is, where it has been, and how fast it is being driven. You can utilize software to confirm appointments, client contacts, and all writings being transmitted. Wearable technology can monitor employees on the job site, and determine whether and when employees are engaging in unsafe behaviors, or going outside specific areas on the job site. All of these uses can save dealers money, and protect against legal headaches. On the flipside, there are dangers in turning your company into Big Brother. The ability to track an employee through an electronic device can be abused, especially if data is collected during off-duty hours. Companies have been accused of spying on employees, and making improper use of data such as friends and acquaintances, significant others, visits to medical professionals, and visits to entertainment establishments. For this reason, some states have passed "lawful off duty conduct" laws, to prohibit employers from using gathered information to take adverse employment actions. * "[Dealer] policies should restrict use of phones while driving to protect against distracted incidents. Cellphones should not be used on company time for personal purposes, and certainly not for things that might expose your business to liability. ...advise employees to set phones on silent or vibrate, and to not having inappropriate or overloud ringtones." Continued on page 16

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