Social Media Policies in the Workplace « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Social Media Policies in the Workplace

How Far Can Employers Go to Curb Use by Employees?

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An employer’s ability to legitimately discipline or terminate workers who use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to tee-off on allegedly improper work conditions or practices is likely to remain a hotly contested issue for years to come.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is currently attempting to help draw a sensible line between the rights of union workers to publicly express grievances and management’s right to control the disclosure of internal, confidential or otherwise private information.

In its January 25, 2012 Operations Management Memo, the second such report in the last five months, the NLRB highlights 14 social media cases it has handled in the last year.  The report advises:

● Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as discussion of wages or working conditions among employees, and, on the other hand;

●  An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.

The two NLRB memos to date underscore the importance to employers of issuing social media rules not so broad that they create potential worker claims for unlawful restrictions on discourse over work conditions.  An experienced labor and employment lawyer can likely assist in the process.

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