Posted in: Communication, Employment law, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News and Views, Technology
The tug-of-war over what companies’ social media policies should and shouldn’t do has grown more intense now that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) shared its belief that many of the proposed policies violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
You knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
The main sticking point of social media rules is when they prohibit employees from discussing and disclosing terms of their own employment.
The NLRB maintains that discussions of conditions of employment are protected under Section 7 of the NLRA.
By extension, policies that threaten to punish employees who fail to report unauthorized access or misuse of confidential information — with discharge or legal prosecution — are also unlawful, under Section 7.
The NLRB slammed the window on just about any company policy that prohibits employees from using social media to share information or opinions about the employer.
This also would prohibit companies from restricting employees who seek to reveal non-public information about the firm on any public site.
That would appear to restrict employers from exercising any kind of control over what employees say about the company on the Internet.
What can you do?
Employers can set up specific policies for what’s permitted and what isn’t.
You can prohibit people from making any type of Internet post that appears to be in the name of the employer, or in a manner that someone might believe it’s from the employer, without obtaining written authorization from a specified company officer.
Employees can also be barred from posting any opinions or statements that claim to represent the policies or views of the company.
Your social media policy can also require employees to:
- know and follow the rules
- be respectful
- be honest and accurate
- post only appropriate and respectful content
- not retaliate
- respect financial disclosure laws
- not link from a blog or personal site to the company’s site without the employer’s permission, and
- direct media inquiries for comments or information to the company’s identified representative.
Be assured we haven’t heard the last on this issue.