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Labor and Employment Attorney Discusses Drafting a Social Media Policy

Social Media PolicyEvery 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 9am Eastern Time, Howard Kurman, an attorney at Offit Kurman and Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, offers Labor and Employment Telebriefs. Mr. Kurman identifies 3-5 developments that have occurred over the past 2-3 weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. These teleconferences provide executives with employee relations responsibilities an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest Labor and Employment law developments. The focus is always on the practical, enabling corporate decisions maker who are receiving this information early, in time to act on the suggestions and be proactive.

Here is an excerpt transcribed from Mr. Kurman’s Labor & Employment Telebrief – 12.11.13:

Labor and Employment Attorney Discusses Drafting a Social Media Policy

With virtually no laws on the books concerning social media, most employers don’t know how the legal situation surrounding social networking interacts with other laws. More important, most employers don’t know what their employees are doing in the social media sphere until it becomes a problem.

As an employer, it is important to have a fair, balanced and comprehensive social media policy in place to not only protect you and your business, but to also let employees know what is and is not acceptable.

Drafting a Social Media Policy

  1. Avoid Blanket Policies: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) argues that a blanket policy that prohibits the dissemination or the discussion of asserted confidential information may very well violate the strictures of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects concerted protected activity on the part of an employee.
  2. Specific Policies: When it comes to your social media policy, be as specific as possible. Have a policy in place that advises employees to maintain the confidentiality of company trade secrets and private or confidential information.
  3. Employee Rights to Communicate: Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right to band together and communicate with regard to terms and conditions of employment. This right includes the use of social media and cannot be infringed upon.
  4. Prohibit Comments not Based in Fact: While you cannot prohibit employees from posting disparaging comments, you can prohibit defamatory comments that are inaccurate, dishonest, or malicious.
  5. Prohibit an Employee from speaking on behalf of the Company: Have a policy in place that prohibits employees from posting an opinion or statement as the policy or view of the company.
  6. Harassment: If an employee’s comments violate your workplace harassment policies, such employee is subject to discipline.

Social Media PolicyIf you have any questions about Drafting a Lawful Social Media Policy, please contact Offit Kurman attorney Howard Kurman at hkurman@offitkurman.com or 410.209.6417.

Offit Kurman Labor & Employment Law Practice Group

In today’s workplace, there’s a distinct advantage to having a legal partner with the knowledge and experience to provide sound guidance in labor and employment issues. At Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law, the attorneys in our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group assist employers in staying current with changes in the law and making proactive decisions regarding workplace policy and procedure. We are dedicated to helping you achieve maximum operational flexibility while minimizing your legal risk and cost.

If you would like to learn more about Offit Kurman’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group to see what we can do for you, please fill out our contact form to access the sound legal guidance that our experienced labor & employment attorneys offer.  You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.