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Management Buzz 02/05

Employee auctions, the value of employee reviews and more

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This story appears in the February 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Spy Games

Investigating employees just got easier: An amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that took effect last spring lets employers conduct third-party investigations of employees without having to inform them or get their written consent. Business groups believe the changes will make life easier for employers facing workplace misconduct allegations. "The threat of liability is the driving force," says Gregory Davis, a Chicago attorney with Seyfarth Shaw who co-chairs the firm's task force on the FCRA. He also worked with the Society for Human Resource Management to amend the FCRA's rules on employee investigations.But employees still have privacy rights, and companies must handle investigatory information on a "need to know" basis. Also, if an investigation persuades the employer to discipline or terminate an employee, the employee is entitled to an "adverse action" summary that discloses the nature of the complaint.Interview investigators to make sure they know the rules before hiring them, suggests Tom Shumaker, a senior associate with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot in Pittsburgh. It would be wise to consult a labor and employment attorney before making any moves, too.

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