Why Your News Organization’s Social Media Policy May Be Illegal | Poynter.org | Jeff Sonderman |6/13/12

English: Color logo of the National Labor Rela...

English: Color logo of the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency of the United States federal government. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the article:

In at least six recent cases, according to a memo from the general counsel, the independent federal agency that investigates unfair labor practices has found provisions of employer social media policies to be unlawful.

The NLRB seems particularly concerned with any restriction that might impair employees’ rights to discuss employment terms and conditions publicly or with each other. The guiding law here is Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives workers the rights to organize, unionize and bargain collectively

What’s over the line?

The 24-page memo details many examples of employers who went too far in trying to restrict what employees can do online. Here are some social media policy provisions the NLRB ruled unlawful:

  • Instruction not to “reveal non-public company information on any public site.”
  • Warning to “think carefully about ‘friending’ co-workers.”
  • “Don’t comment on any legal matters, including pending litigation or disputes.”
  • “Don’t post photos, music, videos, quotes, or personal information of others without their permission.”
  • “Adopt a friendly tone when engaging online. Don’t pick fights. … Don’t make any comments about [Employer’s] customers, suppliers or competitors that might be considered defamatory.”
  • “You are encouraged to resolve concerns about work by speaking with co-workers, supervisors, or managers. [Employer] believes that individuals are more likely to resolve concerns about work by speaking directly with co-workers, supervisors or other management-level personnel than by posting complaints on the Internet.”
  • “Avoid harming the image and integrity of the company.”
  • Do not express public opinions about ”the workplace, work satisfaction or dissatisfaction, wages hours or work conditions.”

For full article see: Why your news organization’s social media policy may be illegal | Poynter..


About vinhsu

Center City Philadelphia General Practice Law Firm with emphasis on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Immigration, Real Property, and Wills/Trusts/ Estate Planning. Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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