Category Archives: Social Media

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Employer’s Social Media Policy Found Not To Violate Employees’ Rights

A recent social media case involving the NLRB should be cause for celebration for employers. Specifically, in Landry’s Inc., Case No. 32-CA-118213 (June 26, 2014), an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) had found a social media policy concerning its subsidiary, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc., did not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Initially, … Continue Reading

Monitoring Employees’ Private Social Media – Putting Together a Sensible Approach

“Should Companies Monitor Their Employees’ Social Media?” This question was debated by the Wall Street Journal on 5/12/2014. On one side of the debate was Ms. Nancy Flynn who took the position that companies absolutely must monitor their employees’ social media use, as well as use social media to screen job applicants. Or in her words: … Continue Reading

Study Finds Evidence of Unlawful Discrimination in Using Social Media to Recruit Employees

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (reported on 11/21/2013 by Jennifer DeVries) discussed a study showing bias in the hiring process when social media is used to screen job applicants. Because of the potential for unlawful discrimination and losing out on otherwise qualified job applicants, the article and study should be a “must … Continue Reading

Social Media Rant by Employer Results in Retaliation Claim Added to Pending Litigation

The recent termination of an employee (Adria Richards) after she tweeted her displeasure at off-color jokes told by certain fellow attendees at an industry conference she attended on behalf of her employer has resulted in a lot of good discussion (see here and here for examples) about the increasing intertwining of social media and employment legal … Continue Reading

Not a Good Mix – Fishing Expeditions, Social Media, and Employment Discrimination

For many, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and other social media-related websites is a daily routine. But what happens to that routine when a person becomes involved in litigation? This is a question that almost always has to be answered in the context of employment discrimination lawsuits.   The answer to this question, however, … Continue Reading

Proposed Michigan Social Media Law Banning Employer Access to Employee Passwords – Not Something to “Like”

Proposed Michigan Social Media legislation is back in the headlines. Specifically, Chris Gautz of Crain’s Detroit Business reported that Michigan Senate House Bill 5523, (sponsored by Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton), was approved unanimously by the House in September and is now sitting on the Senate floor.  This bill would “outlaw” employers from requiring employees and … Continue Reading

NLRB Finally Delivers Knockout Blow to Broad Employer Social Media Policies

In what has been perhaps the most telegraphed wind-up punch to hit employers in some time, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has finally weighed in on the issue of employer social media policies.  Specifically, on September 7, the NLRB issued its Order striking down Costco Wholesale Corporation’s social media policy and related electronic posting … Continue Reading

$4.5 Million Reasons for Employers and Individuals to Balance Social Media Use & Risks

A previous post on this blog discussed ways for employers to increase the effectiveness of a company’s social media policy (See The Sweet-spot for Increasing the Effectiveness of a Social Media Policy: Employee Self-Interest). One of the real-world examples discussed in that post was a lawsuit against a former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell … Continue Reading

Michigan Proposes Legislation to Ban Employers from Accessing Employees’ Social Media Sites

Michigan recently joined a growing trend of states that have introduced legislation to prohibit employers from asking job applicants and current employees for passwords and other private account information for social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Specifically, State Rep. Aric Nesbitt (Republican) proposed legislation that applies to state and private employers. Mr. Nesbitt’s … Continue Reading

Requiring Employees or Job Applicants to Turn Over Facebook Passwords? Three Reasons Why This is a Horrible Idea

Increasingly, employers are asking prospective or current employees to turn over their Facebook passwords in order to review their profiles.   In response to this increase some states, including California, Illinois, and Maryland, have proposed legislation to ban such conduct.  Facebook recently interjected its position on this topic when its Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, noted … Continue Reading

Of Muppets and Men – How Will Your Goldman Sachs Social Media Nightmare be Told?

One general misconception that business owners have when it comes to social media policies is that it is a silver bullet against disgruntled employees disparaging the company. Certainly this is a serious concern for any employer. But a recent “parting gift” from a Goldman Sachs Vice President illustrates the real danger that social media poses … Continue Reading

The Intersection of Social Media & Employment Law: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing.

On February 6, 2012 I had the opportunity to speak to human resource professionals about legal issues at the intersection of social media and employment law. This HR group is lead by the B2B Connection and its president Gail Sanderson. A special thanks is also owed to Molly DiBianca over at the Delaware Employment Law Blog for her permission … Continue Reading

NLRB Releases Second Social Media Advisory Report: What It Means for Employers

On January 25, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel issued a press release that a second report describing social media cases reviewed by the NLRB has been made available. The first NLRB social media report (PDF) was released in August 2011. According to the NLRB’s press release, this second NLRB report (PDF) was needed to address … Continue Reading

Since When are Employee Rants Protected by Federal Law?

  Briefly, under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees are guaranteed “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection” 29 … Continue Reading

Using Social Media to Screen Job Applicants – A Few Recommendations for Employers

Certainly social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, and Twitter provide employers with opportunities to obtain useful, legitimate, and relevant information about a job applicant. But the above Dilbert comic by Scott Adams underscores that there are also risks in using such social media outlets to screen job applicants.   Specifically, if employers use social media … Continue Reading

Social Media and the NLRB: Two Must Read Reports for Employers and HR Professionals

It is no secret that the NLRB has put employer’s social media policies and employee discipline discharges arising out of social media (a/k/a Facebook Firings) in its cross-hairs. This fact was recently highlighted in another NLRB Press Release (9/7/11) where an administrative law judge found that a Buffalo nonprofit organization unlawfully discharged five employees after … Continue Reading

The Sweet-spot for Increasing the Effectiveness of a Social Media Policy: Employee Self-Interest

Conventional wisdom directs companies to implement social media policy to eliminate or otherwise reduce the risks involved with social media. But a social media policy is only effective if it is followed by a company’s employees. And the sweet spot for increasing compliance with such a policy is by showing individual employees why they have … Continue Reading

Two Questions Employers Should Ask Before Implementing A Social Media Policy

Peter Drucker noted that “The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions.”  Mr. Drucker’s advice is particularly appropriate when it comes to legal issues involving social media and employees. In this regard, there is no shortage of general “answers” in … Continue Reading
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