Too often, employers only start paying attention to social media once it’s too late. That is after an employee has tweeted a disparaging remark, a copyright holder has claimed infringement over the use of footage on YouTube, confidential information has leaked onto Facebook, or any one of the myriad legal circumstances that regularly spring up in the intersection of business and social media use. How can you reduce your legal liability regarding social media? And what are some best practices for creating a social media policy? The attorneys at Offit Kurman have the answers:
The Constitutional Status of a Facebook Like
A recent case involving a sheriff in Hampton, VA led the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine that clicking “Like” on Facebook constitutes an act of free speech under the First Amendment.
The Right of Publicity in Social Media
The right of publicity ensures that no one can use your name, likeness, and other identifying information for commercial purposes without your consent. But in the rapidly evolving world of social media, lawmakers have struggled to protect this right, especially when it comes up against other liberties—such as right to journalistic free speech. Intellectual property attorney Jon Wachs looks at one such instance, Fraley v. Facebook, Inc., in his article from earlier this year.
Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits Related to Social Media
Despite what your social media policy and employee handbook may say, not every negative comment made by an employee should warrant termination. In fact, firing an employee over a comment left on a social network could be considered an illegal act, according to recent federal law interpretations made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Offit Kurman’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group scrutinizes a high-profile case that exposes the pitfalls in handbooks and social media policies here.
Drafting a Social Media Policy for Your Workplace
What does it take to formulate a rock-solid social media policy? According to Howard Kurman, specificity and fairness are key. Mr. Kurman offers more insights, concerns, and suggestions applicable to any workplace in his legal webinar on establishing social media policies, archived here. An abbreviated transcript of his presentation is also available here.
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