Tweet freely! Employers get some guidance about social media


A number of employers, non-union as well as union, have been burned recently by the National Labor Relations Board for their social media policies, or the application of those policies.

The National Labor Relations Board issued yesterday a memorandum summarizing its findings on social media cases from the past year. The memo is well worth a read, and provides helpful guidance on the Board's position.

First -- for you non-union folks, a quick summary of "protected concerted activity." The National Labor Relations Act protects even non-union employees who act together in matters related to the terms and conditions of their employment. This can include group activity (a "group" is defined as more than one employee), or even the activity of a single employee, if the employee is acting on behalf of a "group" or preparing for "group" action.

For example, in an employee meeting, two employees may complain that the company is scheduling too much overtime and that it's hindering their safe performance of the job. This is "protected concerted activity," and it would generally be unlawful for the employer to take action against the employees because they raised these concerns.

Protected concerted activity has become a big concern, thanks to the internet and social media, which make it so much easier for employees to complain "in concert," and for employers to find out about it. Anti-employer rants on Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs are not uncommon. If your gut reaction to this is the same as my gut reaction, you are thinking, "Why in the world can't I fire an employee who calls me a 'scumbag' or an 'as**ole' on the internet?"

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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