Tweet, Pin, Insta, What? ......The Age Of Social Media In The Workplace

Social media is no longer a foreign concept to any employer. For at least the past 10 years, the work environment has been integrated with some form of social media. Many companies have adopted tools and resources that promote its employees use of social media to connect across the organization. Whether your workplace utilizes an intranet, a social forum such as LinkedIn or Facebook, or allows for employees to freely search the internet, it is necessary that policies are in place to protect the integrity of the business, as well as recognize the individual rights of employees to express ideas and opinions through social media.

The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) protects employees in their disclosure or discussion of working conditions. This may include an employee’s disclosure or discussion via social media concerning their thoughts about Company management or a co-worker, expressing discontent with recent discipline or recapping the happenings at a recent company-sponsored event.
A common misconception is that the NLRA only protects union-represented employees. That is inaccurate. The NLRA protects public and private, union and nonunion workplaces. Specifically, the Act prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed under the Act.
Employee discipline for social media posts related to working conditions has been deemed to be an unfair labor practice according to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). The NLRB receives approximately 30,000 new charges per year to investigate for alleged violations of the NLRA. A portion of these charges are directly pertaining to employee’s social media conversations. For this and other reasons, it is important that a Company adopt a social media policy that does not impede upon an employee’s rights under the NLRA. For a complete list of employer prohibited conduct under the NLRA, read Title 29, Chapter 7, Subchapter II of the United States Code – quick reference 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169.