New NLRB social media report advises specificity

Examples of acceptable policies may help employers better craft social media guidelines for the workplace

Treading the unsteady ground of social media can be treacherous for employers, many of whom feel that, even after two reports from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), they need more guidance on how to craft an effective social media policy. Luckily for confused companies, the NLRB released another guidance on social media on May 30, this time with specific examples of acceptable policies.

The NLRB’s main concern is that any restrictions employers put on workers’ social media conduct do not violate their rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to engage in protected concerted activity, such as discussing the terms and conditions of their employment with co-workers, even on Facebook.

But that doesn’t mean you have to let your employees run amok online. Your policy is more likely to survive scrutiny if you’ve made an effort to provide specific examples of what is and is not acceptable conduct. Here are some examples from the recent guidance on social media policies that are employee-tested, NLRB-approved:

  • Prohibiting “harassment, bullying, discrimination or retaliation,” even at home or after business hours.
  • Informing workers that they are “more likely” to resolve complaints by speaking with co-workers or going through the company, rather than posting grievances online.
  • Forbidding “inappropriate postings,” specifically threats of violence or discriminatory remarks.
  • Instructing employees not to reveal trade secrets or confidential information, as long as you detail the kind of information you mean, so there’s no chance of the policy being read to restrict Section 7 rights.

Read more at Social Media Law Brief, or download the full guidance on the NLRB website.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of social media policies, see below:

NLRB releases second social media report

3 companies discuss social media governance policies

What not to do when reviewing job applicants’ social media pages

11 tips for crafting a social media policy

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

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