Posted by: johnocunningham | July 28, 2015

Worker Use of Social Media Protected by NLRB

As a recent article in Today’s General Counsel illustrates well, employers are stepping into a potential minefield when disciplining employees for inappropriate use of social media.

As the article points out, the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) is continually expanding the protective envelope of “concerted activity” by labor, ruling for example that the following may constitute protected communications on social media:

  • Complaints about the types of snacks offered at a company event;
  • Posts about an employer not issuing paychecks promptly enough; and
  • Posts about co-employees related to working conditions.

Employers need carefully crafted social media policies that have been reviewed by counsel in order to provide their managers and staff with clear guideposts of what is permitted and prohibited in the use of social media relating to the company.

Employers also need regular, well-crafted internal communications about all of their management decisions in order to defuse potentially explosive rumors, limit destructive gossip on social media or in other forums, and reinforce the mission, values and immediate objectives of the team as a whole.

 

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