Writing a social media policy that passes muster with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can be an exercise in semantics. In his latest memo on the topic, NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon on May 30 provided a detailed analysis of six social media policies he found to be in violation of labor law, and one he held up as a model.
Some labor attorneys praised the memo for providing a model policy for employers to follow. But ambiguities remain, and the differences between policy clauses found acceptable and others found problematic sometimes come down to the choice of words.
One thing is clear from reading the memo—most social media policies would not pass the NLRB test. The organizations whose policies contained unlawful provisions include Target Corp., General Motors Co., McKesson Corp., DISH Network Corp., Clearwater Paper Corp. and a non-profit, Us Helping Us.
Apparently Wal-Mart can. Solomon held up its policy, revised after an earlier version was found to violate Section 7, as an example to follow. The revised policy met his criteria primarily by providing specific examples of prohibited activity.