Showing 10 posts in Social Media.

Being Called a Racist Is Not Unlawful Harassment If Comments Are Not Racially Motivated

Employers are equipped and know how to handle complaints of racial discrimination and harassment—or at least should be so prepared. However, facts have a funny way of developing into novel situations. What happens, for instance, if an employee is being called a racist by other employees? More ›

Lessons for Employers in the Case of a Former Google Software Engineer Fired for Violating Company Anti-Discrimination Policies

Earlier this week, an NLRB attorney issued an advice memo concluding that software giant Google did not violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), when the company terminated software engineer James Damore, who penned a controversial memo criticizing Google’s diversity initiatives. The memo, and Google's swift reaction, were widely covered in the press and speculation followed questioning whether Google's response was appropriate or whether it would face a challenge.   More ›

Connecticut Restricts Employer Access to Employees' and Applicants' Social Media

Connecticut has joined a growing number of other states in seeking to protect personal social media accounts of employees and potential hires. In early May, the state's General Assembly passed Senate Bill No. 426 (2015) titled "An Act Concerning Employee Online Privacy." More ›

NLRB Finds that Employer Could Rescind Offers After Workers Discussed Detailed Insubordination Plans on Facebook

In a (rare) positive social media decision for employers, the NLRB ruled on October 28th in Richmond District Neighborhood Center, Case 20–CA–091748 (Oct. 28, 2014), that two employees who discussed their insubordination plans in great detail in a Facebook “comment thread” lost the National Labor Relations Act’s protections. The discussion, the Board held, was not "protected, concerted activity," and the employees, therefore, could not file an unfair labor practice charge after they were not rehired as a result of their comments.  More ›

NLRB: Employer’s Overbroad Social Media Policy Violates Employees’ Rights

In its first decision involving an employer’s social media policy, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) found that an employer's policy violated employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The Board reasoned that the policy was written in overly general terms and therefore had “a reasonable tendency to inhibit employees’ protected activity.” This decision follows a series of social media reports issued by the Board over the past year, and appears to confirm what many employers had feared based upon those reports: the Board appears ready to reject all broad prohibitions on what employees may say online. More ›

Illinois Prohibits Employers from Seeking Facebook Passwords

On August 1, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a provision that amends the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for employers to ask employees or applicants for passwords or other account information related to their social networking accounts. The law also prohibits employers from demanding access to such accounts in any other manner. More ›

New Report Issued on Employee use of Social Media and the National Labor Relations Act

On May 30, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel issued a Report Concerning Social Media Cases. In it, the General Counsel’s Office reviewed seven cases concerning employers’ social media policies regarding. In its review, the General Counsel found several aspects of these policies to be overbroad while affirming others. More ›

Massachusetts Court: Employee had no Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Employer-Provided Gmail Account

At the developing intersection of employment law and the internet, every decision is important. It is, therefore, worth taking note of a recent decision out of Massachusetts state court, wherein the court found that an employee had no reasonable expectation of privacy in e-mails sent and received using a Gmail account provided and administered by his employer.  More ›

Maryland: Employers Cannot Demand Applicants’/Employees’ Social Network Passwords

Maryland is the first state to pass legislation which bans employers from asking for current and prospective employees' passwords to social media sites. The legislation passed the General Assembly and is now waiting to be signed by the Governor. The demand for such legislation is not limited to Maryland. Senators from New York and Connecticut have asked the Department of Justice and the EEOC to investigate this particular practice, which has become more and more common with employers of late. Illinois and California presently have similar legislation pending.

Conducting checks into employees' and prospective employees' backgrounds is very common, yet can be very risky. Before delving into your applicants'/employees' social networking backgrounds, consult with counsel to determine whether your methods are appropriate and compliant with local, state, and federal law. 

NLRB Releases Report on Social Media Cases

On August 18, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Acting General Counsel issued a report that highlights numerous cases involving the use of social media by both employees and employers and the effect of such use on the workplace. The report contains discussions of cases where employees’ use of social media was found to be “protected concerted activity” and others in which an employer’s social media policy was unlawfully overbroad. Given that social media has become an integral component in many workplaces, employers should be mindful of these decisions when implementing social media policies and taking adverse action against employees for their social media practices.

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