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Elizabeth A. Semler
503.243.1661 x 264

Employment eAlert: It's Already Time to Revise your Social Media Policy

June 2012

Elizabeth A. Semler
503.243.1661 x 264
On May 30, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board issued a report on social media policies and what employers can, and cannot, include in those policies. Generally, the NLRB's focus is on whether a social media policy unlawfully interferes with employees' rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which permits employees to communicate about wages and workplace conditions. A policy which an employee might reasonably construe as prohibiting discussions with co-workers or third parties concerning these issues will run afoul of the NLRA.

The NLRB report found that policies which broadly and generally prohibit employees from posting on social media about non-public company information are unlawful because employees could construe the policies as prohibiting discussions about compensation - which are protected under the NLRA. The report also found that policies that generally forbid employees from harming the image and integrity of the employer are unlawfully overbroad because such provisions could be construed by employees to prohibit protected criticism of the employer's labor policies or treatment of employees. The report can be found at:http://www.nlrb.gov/news/acting-general-counsel-releases-report-employer-social-media-policies

The NLRB Report is a reminder that all employer policies need to be narrowly tailored to serve the employer's needs and that any policy that seeks to restrict employee communications and/or activities cannot impinge upon employee rights under the NLRA.

If you would like more information about social media policies, the NLRB Report, or have questions about any employment law issues, please feel free to contact us.

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