Archive for November, 2012

Our employment law colleagues blog on another employment law decision relating to the use of social media by an employee. Appears to protect an employee’s right to privacy when using social media.

Brodies Employment Blog

The recent case of  Smith v Trafford Housing Trust illustrates the extent to which an employee’s posting on Facebook can impact upon their job.

Mr Smith was demoted after he had been found guilty of gross misconduct for posting comments on Facebook opposing ‘Gay Church marriages’, describing them as ‘equality too far’. The Trust believed this amounted to gross misconduct because:

• an employee had been deeply offended;

• Mr Smith’s Facebook wall disclosed that he was a manger of the Trust;

• the terms of the Code of Conduct and Equal Opportunities policy had been breached; and

• as a manager Mr Smith had failed to uphold the Trust’s policies.

Mr Smith suffered a 40% salary cut and brought a claim for breach of contract. The High Court held that Mr Smith’s demotion and resulting reduction in salary amounted to a serious and repudiatory breach of contract. He was…

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Peter McCorkell from Brodies Employment team blogs on BYOD following our recent seminar on managing the risks with BYOD.

Brodies Employment Blog

Last Thursday the Brodies Technology and Employment teams delivered a joint seminar in Edinburgh on the burgeoning practice of employers allowing employees to bring their own devices to work. The seminar looked at the pros and cons for both companies and employees and sparked a few interesting debates about some of the more controversial issues of BYOD. What happens, for instance, to company owned material and confidential documents stored on the employee’s device when the employment comes to an end? What challenges does a company face in managing the risk of data security breaches when the device is owned by the employee?

The seminar looked at the best ways to protect the company’s position and discussed how to develop an effective policy to regulate BYOD.

One of the interesting things to note from research for the seminar was that a large number of organisations do not have a BYOD policy…

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Significant changes to Scottish IP Court Rules

The Scottish IP Dispute Resolution Regime – Big Changes AND all for the Better

Significant changes to the Scottish Court of Session Intellectual Property Action rules will come into force on Monday 19 November 2012.  These have been driven by the desire of the Scottish IP judges and Scottish IP practitioners to improve Scotland as a forum for resolving IP disputes.

We believe that these new rules are the most significant changes since the inception of the relevant rules dealing with Intellectual Property Actions in the Court of Session.

We have prepared an e-bulletin setting out the changes that have been made, which can be found here.

For further information please get in touch with your usual Brodies contact or Gill Grassie/Robert Buchan who are both partners in our IP Dispute Resolution team.  

 

Gill GrassieRobert Buchan

 

 

Our colleagues over on Brodies EmploymentBlog blog about new guidance from ACAS on BYOD. To find out more about the legal issues surrounding adoption of BYOD and the importance of BYOD policies, come along to our autumn seminars.

Brodies Employment Blog

ACAS has produced some brief guidance on employee use of smartphones and other personal devices at work. It suggests there are advantages in having a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy, such as saving cost and portraying the company as being forward-thinking and flexible.

A well managed BYOD policy should isolate business use from personal use and employers should consider making provision for remotely deleting sensitive data from devices that belong to ex-employees or has gone missing. You can read the full guidance here.

As part of its Autumn client seminar series Brodies are delivering a seminar on this topic in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. More information about this seminar and how to sign up can be found here.

Verity Clark

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Hurricane Sandy highlights the importance of effective IT business continuity planning

We’ve blogged on several occasions about the importance of business continuty and disaster recovery plans – most notably about the impact on global supply chains following the giant ash cloud caused by the erruption of Eyjafjallajoekull in 2010.

I was surprised at the impact that Hurricane Sandy had on the Internet earlier this week, with several major websites (including the Huffington Post, Gizmodo and Gawker) being knocked offline for several hours as a result of flooding and damage on the east coast of the United States. According to reports, a data centre lost power as a result of a battery failure caused by flooding.

Using third party data centres and IaaS vendors can provide a way of mitigating some of the risks of business interuption. Cloud providers are often better placed to manage these risks as they often operate multiple data centres which should, in theory, mitigate the impact of a single event. But in this case, for whatever reason, that hasn’t happened.

For the websites affected by Hurricane Sandy, that downtime will have led to a substantial loss of advertising revenue across the globe. Assuming that the hosting company has otherwise complied with its contractual obligations, it’s unlikely that the website operators would be able to recover any costs from the hosting company as the hosting company will likely claim relief under the force majeure provisions in its contract.

Geographic separation
When assessing your business continuity arrangements (and those of your suppliers), it’s therefore important that one of the things that you review the proximity of any back-up facility to the primary site. Events such as tropical storms, earthquakes, power failures and civil unrest can affect a large area, meaning that multiple data centres on either side of a single connurbation could easily be affected.

As one person I follow on Twitter said, what will happen to the Internet when the Big One finally hits California?

And it’s not just the data centre location that you need to think about.

I once heard a tale about an organisation who used two telecoms companies to provide physically telecoms links between its primary office and its data centre elsewhere in the city. All was well until roadworks took place on a bridge over a river. Whilst each company used physically separate cables between the premises (including separate points of exit and entry), it turned out that the bridge in question was a single point of failure – both companies had chosen to route their cables across the river using the same bridge – and a single jack hammer blow took out both links.


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