Congress, workers unions fight back on companies’ strict social media policies

An attempted amendment and an NLRB petition aim to protect user privacy

We have seen a lot of evidence of late that working professionals these days have to be careful with what they say and do on social media—companies are watching, demanding users’ login information and even suing for ownership of accounts. But a few recent events show that the pendulum might be swinging back toward user privacy.

Facebook issued a statement last Friday in response to the news of companies asking for potential hires’ logins, saying that no one should be forced to give up that information to get a job. Then, Democrats in Congress attempted to insert an amendment into a Federal Communications Commission bill that would forbid employers from asking for logins, but Republicans blocked the amendment earlier this week.

Elsewhere, a New York grocery workers’ union decided it was fed up with this social media policing and filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that Stop & Shop’s social media policy is "impermissibly vague, overbroad and violated Section 7 rights of employees."

Stop & Shop employees are prohibited from speaking negatively about the grocery store’s products or practices on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and from sharing confidential information, such as their salaries, on those sites. Employees also are required to report their coworkers’ violations to a manager.

Stop & Shop claims that the policy is intended to remind employees of “reasonable guidelines” for using social media, and that it doesn’t violate the National Labor Relations Act.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal and Thomson Reuters.

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