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Social Media Policies Part 2 - NLRB Issues Useful Example of Employer Policy
Expanding on last week’s post, the NLRB’s memo found the following social media policies to be lawful (in addition to rules prohibiting discrimination or retaliation on social media websites that would also not be permissible in the workplace even if the behavior occurs afterhours on personal computers):
First, an employer’s social media policy can require that employees are “respectful” on such sites as long as the employer's rules provide examples of what constitutes “plainly egregious conduct.” Employers should inform employees to refrain from posts that “could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating.”
Second, the prohibition of harassment or bullying in a social media policy is deemed acceptable if there are specific examples of such behavior. Examples include posts intended to harm another’s reputation, or posts that may contribute to “a hostile work environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law or company policy.”
Third, employers may insist on employees maintaining the confidentiality of trade secrets. The report indicates that employees obviously have no right to disclose trade secrets.
I’m sure the NLRB will issue more guidance as time goes on but for an example of a social media policy that the NLRB found legal after revisions were made, click here and then click on the link to the Operations Management Memo. Scroll to the bottom of the document for the social media policy. This is only a template, however, and you should seek legal counsel before drafting and implementing your own social media policy.