Compliance Tip #10—Is your Social Media policy too draconian?

Social media use by employees is a rapidly evolving issue. However, the concerns, laws and questions are even more challenging for employers and managers. Does your handbook state you can fire an employee for posting negative comments about their manager or the company? Can employees be terminated if they openly discuss their salary on their Facebook page?   Such words or actions could find you in court.  It’s prudent to have your social media policy and employee handbook reviewed by a labor attorney annually to ensure compliance.  For example, if you state you absolutely prohibit employees from using social media at work, or don’t allow them to comment about their employment, pay, or their supervisor,  you may be in violation of recent legal decisions.  If you’re thinking of firing an employee for venting about their supervisor on Facebook, beware!

So, what can an employer do or say?  An employer can restrict and define who may comment on behalf of the company, as well as require that those authorized persons who use the company’s social media tools completely and honestly identify themselves.

These are just a few of the salient points to alert you of the pitfalls of social media for employers.  If you haven’t reviewed your handbook or policies recently, it’s long overdue.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and California lawmakers  are very involved in these issues, so it’s important for employers to remain aware and proceed cautiously in the area of social media.


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