Now that many companies are engaging in social media, what happens on those sites is attracting the attention of more scrutiny from regulators. Is your social media policy legal? Banks have currently been drafting policies with financial regulators in mind, however, there are about 75 cases currently pending with the National Labor Relations Board finding fault with employer policies.
According to NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Soloman, policies, “should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.”
According to employmentlawdaily.com, the following policy directives were all found unlawful: prohibiting employees from making disparaging comments about the company through any media; a directive that employees not identify themselves as company employees in social networking situations except with discussion terms and conditions of employment in an “appropriate manner”; having “inappropriate conversations” on Facebook with fellow employees; a barring employees from making statements on electronic bulletin boards or blogs without prior approval; and a rule that employees must first discuss work-related concerns with managers before posting communications or face discipline.
The policies the NLRB did hold up were polices protecting confidential information of customers such as health information and the restriction on posting of proprietary or confidential company information and currently “embargoed” information such as release dates or company reorganization.
In the, article, Social media policies: the NLRB chimes in again, Lisa Mimlam Perez lists six tips to know when drafting your social media policy that will be compliant with the NLRB rules.
She emphasizes that no policy is foolproof, but will depend on the consistency of the policy implementation and the facts of each situation.