Employers have been slow to learn the lessons of social media. Granted, there are many lessons to be learned, but c’mon, what does it take to convince people social media is more than just a chat room populated by computer geeks.
In fact, the guarantee of freedom of speech has been extended to Facebook (and other online sites) by multiple courts. If your employee wants to talk bad about you on Facebook with other employees, they can. Just as they can do it in the break room.
That is part of the reason why businesses need to have a properly managed social media network. To fight fire, with fire. By using social media effectively you can monitor what is being said about your business, brand or even yourself. Using your social media network to help counter this negative spin is just one use of an effective and properly managed social media network.
There are many, many more….
Employees are allowed to discuss the conditions of their employment with co-workers – in the break room, in the parking lot or on Facebook.
That was the National Labor Relations Board’s basic position involving an unfair labor practices case the agency brought against an employer.
The backstory: A worker – at home, on Facebook – had posted derogatory comments about a supervisor. Co-workers read the post, “liked it” and added barbs.
The employer fired the original author for violating a company policy that barred employees from depicting the company “in any way” on social media.
But the labor relations board said that the policy was too broad and that it infringed on the rights of workers – union and non-union – to engage in “protected concerted activities.”
In settling the case, the employer agreed to narrow its policy so it did not restrict employees from discussing wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers and others while not at work.
Employment law attorney Shelly Freeman warned people attending last week’s Heartland Labor and Employment Law Conference in Overland Park, Kan., that case law and regulatory opinions are building more slowly than the social media use they’re trying to control.
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