The National Labor Relations Board recently created significant uncertainty about the permissible scope of an employer’s social media policy. The Board issued a complaint against an employer who fired an employee for posting negative comments about her supervisor on her Facebook page.
All employers, unionized or not, should have their electronic use/social networking policies reviewed. These policies should consider the following: (1) policies can prohibit employees from using social networking sites to make disparaging comments unrelated to work; (2) social networking policies that completely prohibit criticism of the company or its management are likely to be viewed as overbroad; (3) employee may be prohibited from using social networking sites to make statements that are abusive, libelous or obscene; and (4) employees may be prohibited from making anticompetitive, disloyal statements through social media sites.
A hearing on the NLRB Facebook case is scheduled for January 2011. We will keep you updated regarding this case following the hearing.