Top Issues for Employers in 2013: Social Media & Independent Contractors

Employment lawyers anticipate that employers’ social media policies and their use of independent contractors will be hot button issues in the New Year, much like they were in 2012. Recently Mintz Levin’s Mitch Danzig spoke about social media, independent contractors, and the law with George Chamberlin, executive editor of the Daily Transcript in San Diego, CA. The video of their conversation also recaps the Daily Transcript’s Employment Law Roundtable.

The law is now catching up with social media, says Danzig, and employers should know that the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA) doesn’t just apply to unionized employees. Broad social media policies with catch-all phrases are frowned upon by the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB), and the NLRB has rejected policies that may limit or discourage non-union employees from discussing conditions in the workplace, wages, or organizing into unions.

Employers and government are both looking for ways to increase their bottom lines while the economy recovers, Danzig says, and this has created a problem: Employers are using more independent contractors to save money, and government, seeking to increase revenue, has stepped up enforcement of employers that treat independent contractors as employees. California has even increased its fines for independent contractor misclassification to $25,000. What’s more, independent contractor agreements – in and of themselves - don’t safeguard employers from enforcement.

If you have any questions about your company’s social media policies or relationships with independent contractors, please contact your Mintz Levin Employment, Labor & Benefits attorney.