Many employers now implement work rules or social media policies that are designed to manage employee social media use and protect the company from legal liability arising out of improper or illegal social media. The purpose of these work rules and policies are to place employees on notice regarding what they can and cannot do when engaging in activity on social media.
Ideally, a work rule or social media policy provides specific guidelines that are designed to protect the company’s reputation, business relationships, trade secrets, and intellectual property, as well as avoid liability associated with employees that post harassing, confidential, and/or other inappropriate material concerning the company or other employees. An effective policy will provide employers with peace of mind that it has officially communicated what is a punishable or terminable offense in the event an employee misuses social media in violation of the policy. At the same time, employees will a have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do online, and therefore can use social media without fear of repercussion so long as they follow the guidelines set forth in the policy.
In theory, these policies are designed to limit an employer’s exposure to social media liability; in practice, however, the rules often create additional exposure to employers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has analyzed scores of work rules and corporate social media policies to ensure that employee rights are protected. In particular, the NLRB social media memoranda report numerous instances where it has struck down work rules and policies that it believes pose a threat to employees’ right to engage in protected activities.
Want to learn how to draft a lawful social media policy?
In my next webinar, I will teach you about important labor and employment law issues in the context of social media in the workplace and how to manage employee social media use.
January 22 | 12:00-1:30 est | $150 Live or OnDemand
1.5 Hours of CLE Credits Approved in Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Nevada
Approval Pending in California and Georgia