In my presentations on social media this year, I’ve talked a bit about the Phonedog v. Kravitz case where an employer sued a former employee who continued to use the company Twitter account he had started.
Are Your Accounts Under Lock & Key?
When the employee left, he merely changed the Twitter account’s handle to his own name and took the 17,000 Twitter followers with him.
The case was just settled this week for undisclosed terms; the Employment Law Daily blog does a good job recapping the lessons learned from that case here. (For another perspective, also check out the Social Media for Law Firm post on the same subject.)
One thing we DO know though is that the employee is keeping the Twitter account, which now has over 27,000 followers.
What’s the Takeaway for Employers?
Consider requiring employees who use social media as part of their job to agree that the company owns the account. Employers could, for example, ask for login and password information on specific accounts too.
One practical problem though is that some of these accounts sometimes blend the personal and professional, as the Trading Secrets blog has noted, so its important to have clear rules up front. The Trade Secret Litigator blog has some more tips as well.
Earlier this fall, another case, Eagle v. Morgan, also talked about this notion in the LinkedIn context. The Employee Handbook blog did a nice summary as well. Expect more suits like this in 2013.