Media Buying and Inbound Marketing Blog

Is Your Social Media Policy Illegal?

By Jane Peters on June 13, 2012 |


media buyer OH If your marketing strategy includes social media, you probably have a social media policy or are thinking about developing one.  Social media policies are being scrutinized by General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Lafe Solomon.  On May 30, 2012, Mr. Solomon issued a memo about the legality of the policies he reviewed.  The memo is the third memo regarding social media since last August and may be useful in writing or revising your own company’s policy.

Mr. Solomon found that the policies he reviewed have provisions that violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.  This is the provision that allows employees to join labor unions and to discuss working conditions with each other. It is Mr. Solomon's opinion that employers cannot prohibit employees from discussing working conditions, including salary, with coworkers on social media.

He felt that some restrictions are legal, but several others in the example policies were not.  A policy prohibiting employees from releasing "confidential guest, team member and company information" on social media was overly broad because it could be interpreted to mean that employees can't discuss the employment conditions of coworkers.

One of the examples Mr. Solomon cited as illegal was the policy that would restrict or prohibit “friending” other employees.  Legally, employees have the right to communicate with one another.  The “think carefully about friending co-workers” phrase was considered by Mr. Solomon to be illegal.

Policies are important, but the NLRB stressed that all employees have certain rights under federal law that social media policies can't compromise. They noted that the ambiguity in most policies technically violates the law by potentially restricting these rights.

So how do we avoid this? The NLRB has given us a few clear cut examples about policies that restrict employees' rights illegally.  

To learn more. download out 6 Tips to Keep Your Social Media Policy Legal now!

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