Posts Tagged ‘social media policies’

NLRB Takes on Employer re: Facebook Firing

May 20, 2011

True to their word, the NLRB is taking on another employer over the termination of five employees because they went to Facebook to discuss work load and staffing issues.  The employer, Hispanics United, is a nonprofit serving low income individuals and families.  An administrative judge is set to hear the case on June 22, 2011.

If you are interested in learning more about the issues a company faces handling social media issues, there will be a program on May 25, 2011 at noon where Jessica Braverman and myself will be discussing these issues at the Alameda County Bar Association Headquarters in Oakland.

Link to NLRB press release

Social Media Policies – Carrots not Sticks

April 29, 2011

I will be discussing social media policies next month at a Alameda County Bar Association presentation with Jessica Braverman an employment attorney specializing in this area of employment law.

Engagement policy versus restrict policy

Isn’t it better to have employers creating a great work culture so that rather than controlling and restricting social media use by their workforce they would gain a competitive edge by unleashing the social media potential of their workforce to every corner of the Internet selling their company, brand and products.?

Two of two companies

Wal-mart highly restricts their official social media presence to less than 20 official Twitter profiles.  They also have an official blog.  Wal-mart clearly identify to their customers the handful of official social media representatives of their company.  They obviously don’t trust their employees to act as social media evangelists.  What if each store had its own social media publicist or perhaps every department in that store had them.  Say these folks had a couple hundred Twitter followers and could publicize when a hot product gets delivered to the store and at the lowest available price?  Seems like this would be extremely powerful advertising.  No doubt, Wal-Mart is afraid of losing control.  What if those “evangelists” went rogue and posted negative messages?  Or what if they people retweeted in a negative way?

Dell has a different approach

The computer maker has developed an a training course through a social media university that allows any of its employees to take classes and get certified.  More than 9,000 have taken those classes and more than 1,000 are now certified and disseminating their Dell positive messages in appropriate fashion on the Internet.  Clearly this approach requires great trust in your workers.  It also requires confidence that the training is effective in letting employees lose on the Internet.  But really, even if an employee is unhappy at their job, the worst thing they could do if they are moving to another company, is to provide negative public postings about a current or previous employer.  Not something any prospective employer wants to see.

Social Media Policies for Employers: Examples

April 15, 2011

On April 28th, I will presenting with Jessica Braverman about social media policies for businesses and one of the things that I will be looking at are the many publicly available social media policies that various organizations have written and shared online.

One observation:  Many of these policies are specific to an aspect of social media – a blog, Twitter or Facebook policy and I think that’s a mistake – but more on that at presentation!

Social Media Polices for Employer – April 28th

April 11, 2011

Given the increasing concerns employers and businesses face with the risks of social media, I will be speaking at noon with Jessica Braverman, an employment attorney and mediator at the Alameda County Bar Association on April 28th.  We will cover the following issues:

  • Emerging social media case law and legislation impacting organizations
  • Sexual harassment, defamation and other employment law related issues involving social media
  • How to assess the right approach to developing or refining your social media policies (including a focus on law firms
  • Reviewing existing policies to include social networking exposures
  • Examples of existing social media policies that organizations have made public

Social Media Policies – Training & Insurance

February 26, 2011

Inc magazine has published this article, How to Avoid a Social Media Lawsuit which does a good high level job of pointing out things to watch out for. The first thing is to write a social media employee policy and it references an earlier article they published which is useful.

But nowhere in the article do they talk about examining your insurance policies or checking with your insurance  broker about whether your current insurance covers the company for any or part of any social media risks.  And if you developing a social media policy, why not check with your insurance broker to see if there are ways to write or implement your policy that can provide you coverage under your existing insurance. Here is a link to a post where I addressed the insurance issue.


It seems to me, that having a policy is only the first step.  Next, you have to make sure that your employees understand the policy – not just the written word – but also the underlying social media platforms and uses to insure they are complying.

More Social Media Headaches for Employers

February 1, 2011

According to this article, a class action complaint was filed against MySpace in Eastern District Court of New York late last month claiming that the social networking giant had violated the Electronics Communications Privacy Act among other laws.  The complaint goes on to alleged that the company voluntarily disclosed personal user information in responding to warrants from state judges who didn’t have the force of law in California where MySpace is headquartered.

Employers Beware

Even if this lawsuit is dismissed, company lawyers will have to devote time and energy to it.  More reason why employers need to have clear policies that are followed and documented when responding to authorities claiming legal rights to certain user information so perhaps they can avoid these kinds of legal headaches.

Rising Need for Social Media Policies

January 21, 2011

Here are a couple articles that suggest the increasing need for social media policy planning by all kinds of organizations.  First, the Wall Street Journal has a detailed article about the dangers employers face when terminating employees because of social networking blunders.

Second, is this article by Sheppard Mullin’s which describes the issues involved in the Gaskell v. University of Kentucky where a University search committee researched a potential executive hire and found out about his religious views and practices.  They not only didn’t hire him, they discussed in meeting s where minutes were kept about how his religious views impacted their hiring decision.  This candidate sued and the case is to go to trial in February.

One Social Media Policy Does Not Fit All

Both these articles point out the need for assessment in the social media policy planning process.  Too often organizations are falling into two camps – the Scared Rabbits or the Impulsive Leapers.  The first group wants to lock down social networking, restrict everyone from doing anything and adopt policies that tightly restrict employees use not only at work but off working hours as well.  This is a problem because social media isn’t going away and is necessary today and even more so in the future for companies and organizations to succeed.  By burying their heads in the sand, these organizations will create a negative and oppressive culture that will be harder to turn around later on.

Too Much too Soon

On the other side, are those organizations that rush pell mell into social networking and don’t think about the risks they are exposing themselves too and how a lack of a coherent social networking strategy will create headaches for them in the future.

Assessment is the Key

Start with your social networking strategy, inventory the current social networking use both by the organization as a whole and employees individually, review all your manuals and procedures, have key members of your organization learn about social networking and then think about how to apply it to the business and finally take the time to develop a modular approach to creating policies are part of an ongoing process that doesn’t end when the first iteration is released.  A culture that embraces social media thinking will do better than a culture of merely social networking doing or not doing.

Social networking – E-discovery nightmare?

November 20, 2010

More than 60% of IT professionals concerned about how their companies will cope with e-discovery requests in the coming years.   This article goes on to warn that corporations are required to keep all employee communications in case of litigation.

What about private email accounts for Twitter etc?

One area of particular challenge is setting up email accounts for specific social networking accounts.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. require you provide an email address as part of registering as a user.  Employees may not want to deal with the emails coming in from those account in their work email.  Instead they may set up Gmail, or Yahoo accounts to handle incoming emails.  If this correspondence is not coming through the workplace servers, it maybe very difficult for organizations to comply with discovery requests.