Social Media Policy & Employee Rights with National Labor Board

While there are many social media policy documents floating around and we’ve covered the topic in-depth here many times before (see related articles below) – it is always interesting when social media policy is viewed strictly from a legal and labor relations perspective.

On that note I want to draw your attention to cases from the acting general counsel of the U.S. National Labors Relations Board.

While the NLRB has a very broad goal, its various rulings regarding existing social media policy and regulation is interesting. The most recent report (dated January 25, 2012) covers 14 cases that examine whether or not employer based social media policies where too broad and had proper legal justification.

As I read through the entire 35 page document I noted that while this is an important footnote for social media policy it doesn’t address the concerns of a global organization (it only deals with U.S. Labor Relations) and it also does not address any aspects of management, training, or executive oversight for social media within an organization.

If you are looking at developing a social media policy, these cases provide a good foundation of understanding and help identify some of the policies you should have in place.

The existing social media policy reports from the NLRB also don’t address the ramifications of monitoring, tracking, and managing employee groups with consistent frameworks. This is disturbing from my viewpoint as PII (personal identifying information) and identify theft has been a trending issue the past 18 to 36 months. A majority of employees are unfamiliar with the tools, processes, regulations, and civil rights that govern PII.


Important Social Media Policy Docs

Discharge for Facebook Comments & for Violation of Non-Disparagement Rule

Dishcarge for Facebook Comments was lawful, but policy was overly broad

Work Rules Overbroad, But Discharge was Lawful as Post Were not Protected

Social Media Policy Overbroad, Facebook Comments Were not Protected

Portions of Employer’s Communication Policy Were Overbroad

Initial Social Media Policy Overbroad, but Amended Version Legal

Drugstore Social Media Policy Withstands Scrutiny

Social Media Policy – Unlawful Employee Discharge

Employees Facebook Postings Were Protected Concerted Activity

Facebook Postings Regarding Supervisor Still Protected

Facebook Postings in Healthcare Still Protected

Trucking Employee’s Posting Not Protected

Criticism About Supervisor was Not Protected

City, State, Federal Perspectives

Keep in mind that the above findings are U.S. based and may change. There is still a lot of ground breaking hearings on employee and labor related law and how social media roles are playing into longterm employment, recruiting, and civil liberties here in the U.S.


123 Social Media