Parking lots and employee handbooks?

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rp_photo
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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby rp_photo » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:08 am

Dave2 wrote:What compels companies to have policies on every topic, conceivable or otherwise? When (if) I'm in charge of a company, there'll be a section in the handbook on how to do your job, followed by, "Dave's Company's policy on everything else is 'Don't do anything illegal on company time or property, and you'd better have a really good explanation if you give someone a reason to sue us'."


Attorneys, insurance companies, and government regulators largely tell them what their policies shall be.

We cannot move forward until we come to grips with fear of lawsuits and regulation.

I for one would gladly give up some of my rights to sue in exchange for greater personal freedom.
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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby JKTex » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:21 am

Dave2 wrote:What compels companies to have policies on every topic, conceivable or otherwise? When (if) I'm in charge of a company, there'll be a section in the handbook on how to do your job, followed by, "Dave's Company's policy on everything else is 'Don't do anything illegal on company time or property, and you'd better have a really good explanation if you give someone a reason to sue us'."


See rp_photo above. And it's even more complex than that. It's the world we live in.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby seamusTX » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:24 am

Dave2 wrote:What compels companies to have policies on every topic, conceivable or otherwise?

  • It's what bureaucracies do.
  • Many actions—thousands in certain industries—are legally required or prohibited by multiple levels of government. Companies are assumed to know and conform to the law. It would be risky and a huge waste of resources to have every middle manager trying to learn and interpret the law.
  • It protects managers from having to think through every situation and possibly treating employees inconsistently and unfairly.

    I don't know if you've ever been in a situation where the boss ate lunch and socialized after work with certain employees other than yourself, and it seemed like those employees got away with things that you couldn't. :grumble
  • It gives the company a rational basis for firing people, without having to pay unemployment or be sued for wrongful termination.
The problem with illegal actions or actions that result in lawsuits is that employees are considered "servants" of their employer, and the employer is responsible for nearly everything employees do in the course of their employment.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby Dave2 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:37 am

seamusTX wrote:The problem with illegal actions or actions that result in lawsuits is that employees are considered "servants" of their employer, and the employer is responsible for nearly everything employees do in the course of their employment.

Which is why I said "Don't do anything illegal on company time or property", and "you'd better have a really good explanation if you give someone a reason to sue us" (not a flat-out ban on such actions, because you can be sued for breathing if someone wants to and "I wanted to stay alive" qualifies as a good explanation).
I am not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, nor should anything I say be taken as legal advice. If it is important that any information be accurate, do not use me as the only source.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby seamusTX » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:50 am

Dave2 wrote:Which is why I said "Don't do anything illegal on company time or property", and "you'd better have a really good explanation if you give someone a reason to sue us ..."

That's not sufficient. This isn't my idea. There is plenty of legal precedent for employers being held responsible for failing to properly train and manage employees.

This is often the case with sexual harassment. The employer has been held liable many times for failing to make some effort to deal with it. (BTW, I happen to think that sexual harassment charges sometimes are bogus, but often they are legitimate.)

In the end the employer on the losing end of a lawsuit will be paying the legal fees and megabucks in settlements. The employee generally has no assets worth suing for.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby Dave2 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:28 pm

seamusTX wrote:
Dave2 wrote:Which is why I said "Don't do anything illegal on company time or property", and "you'd better have a really good explanation if you give someone a reason to sue us ..."

That's not sufficient. This isn't my idea. There is plenty of legal precedent for employers being held responsible for failing to properly train and manage employees.

How about including a copy of the <state> penal code at the end and a note saying "follow these"?
I am not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, nor should anything I say be taken as legal advice. If it is important that any information be accurate, do not use me as the only source.


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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby rp_photo » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:56 pm

Dave2 wrote:Which is why I said "Don't do anything illegal on company time or property


It's hard to get through a day without breaking some law given ever-increasing regulation.
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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby seamusTX » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:57 pm

Dave2 wrote:How about including a copy of the <state> penal code at the end and a note saying "follow these"?

That's not good enough, either.

We can't agree on this forum about the meaning of individual words in the penal code. Neither can supreme court justices. Nobody really understands the whole thing.

The state penal code does not include everything that is potentially illegal. There's the Labor Code and Tax Code. If your company owns vehicles, you run into the Transportation Code. If it is in a regulated industry such as insurance, medicine, or alcoholic beverages, you have to deal with those codes.

Then there is federal law. If you do business overseas (which is more and more common these days) you have to deal with the laws of other countries and treaties like NAFTA that regulate international trade.

You can't hire either minimum-wage workers with limited education or specialized professionals and expect them to understand all that. You certainly would not want to pay them for the time it took to read all the codes.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby Dave2 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:52 pm

seamusTX wrote:
Dave2 wrote:How about including a copy of the <state> penal code at the end and a note saying "follow these"?

That's not good enough, either.

We can't agree on this forum about the meaning of individual words in the penal code. Neither can supreme court justices. Nobody really understands the whole thing.

The state penal code does not include everything that is potentially illegal. There's the Labor Code and Tax Code. If your company owns vehicles, you run into the Transportation Code. If it is in a regulated industry such as insurance, medicine, or alcoholic beverages, you have to deal with those codes.

Then there is federal law. If you do business overseas (which is more and more common these days) you have to deal with the laws of other countries and treaties like NAFTA that regulate international trade.

You can't hire either minimum-wage workers with limited education or specialized professionals and expect them to understand all that. You certainly would not want to pay them for the time it took to read all the codes.

- Jim

If the point of an employee handbook is to make a "one size fits all" set of rules that complies with all laws and regulations in every location that the company does business, it's hopeless. The lawmakers themselves can't keep it all straight and they wrote the bloody laws in the first place! What hope could someone who's just trying to get their job done have?
I am not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, nor should anything I say be taken as legal advice. If it is important that any information be accurate, do not use me as the only source.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby seamusTX » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:14 pm

Dave2 wrote:If the point of an employee handbook is to make a "one size fits all" set of rules that complies with all laws and regulations in every location that the company does business, it's hopeless.

That's not necessarily the goal.

Large companies that have multiple locations in multiple states or countries have local versions of policy manuals. I think in the case of my employer there is one manual for California, one for the other states, and other versions for other countries (which I don't deal with).

There are places in the policy manual where it says, essentially, "consult with the legal department on this issue," because there is no one-size-fits-all policy.

The people who deal with complicated issues like international procurement are specialists. An employee or manager who is not qualified in that area is not allowed to do anything on his own initiative. (There are stories in business publications about stupid blunders in this area by people who don't know what they are doing.)

If the company policy violates some obscure combination of laws, the individual employees are protected from prosecution by following company policy in good faith. I'm not talking about obvious violations like fraud. I'm talking about the stuff like record-keeping and reporting that are always debatable.

- Jim

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby Tamie » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:58 pm

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=44726&p=542453

Mr. Greene noted, “In all my years of writing commercial insurance for businesses, schools, churches, and the like, I have never had an underwriting questionnaire ask or even allude to whether or not the insured allows CHL holders to carry on the premises. I inquired of my underwriters, and not one indicated that this had ever been an underwriting question.”


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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby GEM-Texas » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:09 pm

But if you search legal journals, you will find several law review articles that suggest the company will be liable for actions of their employees with guns (carried legally or in the car) or customers allowed to carry guns.

They even suggest that legislation limiting liability may not hold.

So the liability issue is out there as more than street wisdom.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby seamusTX » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:23 pm

GEM-Texas wrote:But if you search legal journals, you will find several law review articles that suggest the company will be liable for actions of their employees with guns (carried legally or in the car) or customers allowed to carry guns.

That is true.

However, they cannot find solid evidence that companies that lack a no-weapons policy or allow their employees to have weapons on company premises incur greater liability (that is, get sued or lose more often or lose bigger amounts) than those that have such policies.

In reality, nearly every workplace shooting results in lawsuits. The courts hold in general that employers or property owners are not responsible for the random acts of criminals. This is true even for jobs like pizza delivery, where robberies are frequent. The injured parties occasionally win such lawsuits because of real negligence by the company (ignoring threats, usually).

It also defies logic to think that a person who plans to "go postal" and commit murder (and often suicide) is going to be deterred by a company rule that might get him fired. However, this goes back to my earlier point about bureaucracies having a stubborn thread of mindless stupidity.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby GEM-Texas » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:37 am

Obviously, I think the employer rules are complete bull. However, to play devil's advocate - if there is a workplace shooting that occurs because an employee breaks the rules, the company is in the clear (according to the lawyers). If you are an employee and you get hurt and argue that you were prevented from armed self-defense - the lawyers argue that the company is not responsible for the acts of criminals and they are not liable. That seems to be the doctrine in the law articles.

There hasn't been to my knowledge a successful suit for not being able to carry and then getting hurt in a crime or rampage. The suits after such are usually because the perpetrator should have been known to be violent and removed or during a rampage, response was inadequate. Virginia Tech is a good instance of such.

I've been told by work place lawyers that they regard the financial risk of the legal gun owner going nuts or shooting an innocent in a rampage outweighs the financial risk of paying off victims.

Since companies and schools only care about the corporate health or institutional health and not much about YOUR health, I've supported the idea than employers, etc. have no right to control your behavior or carry privileges. No king of the castle or parking lot for me. Unless, there is technical reason to ban carry - ex. - no guns by the MRI as they can drag you in or discharge by the magnetic field - the JOB KING-EMPEROR is an inappropriate model.

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Re: Parking lots and employee handbooks?

Postby sjfcontrol » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:44 am

GEM-Texas wrote:Obviously, I think the employer rules are complete bull. However, to play devil's advocate - if there is a workplace shooting that occurs because an employee breaks the rules, the company is in the clear (according to the lawyers). If you are an employee and you get hurt and argue that you were prevented from armed self-defense - the lawyers argue that the company is not responsible for the acts of criminals and they are not liable. That seems to be the doctrine in the law articles.

There hasn't been to my knowledge a successful suit for not being able to carry and then getting hurt in a crime or rampage. The suits after such are usually because the perpetrator should have been known to be violent and removed or during a rampage, response was inadequate. Virginia Tech is a good instance of such.

I've been told by work place lawyers that they regard the financial risk of the legal gun owner going nuts or shooting an innocent in a rampage outweighs the financial risk of paying off victims.

Since companies and schools only care about the corporate health or institutional health and not much about YOUR health, I've supported the idea than employers, etc. have no right to control your behavior or carry privileges. No king of the castle or parking lot for me. Unless, there is technical reason to ban carry - ex. - no guns by the MRI as they can drag you in or discharge by the magnetic field - the JOB KING-EMPEROR is an inappropriate model.



Really? I understand the magnetic field attracting the gun, but is there any evidence anywhere that they can cause a discharge? If so, what's the mechanism? Is the cartridge fired by the gun? Or is the primer somehow directly detonated by the field?
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