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Social Media and Employment Law

5 Tips On Job Transitions and Updating Social Media Profiles

5 Tips On Job Transitions and Updating Social Media Profiles

Last month, I wrote about some social media issues employees and employers face concerning non-solicitation agreements when an employee leaves one company and joins another.  In those situations, the departing employee is typically excited about his or her new job, and is very eager to update social media profiles, and otherwise let clients, customers, contacts, and friends know about the career move.  My post provided several tips for employees and employers to handle such situations in light of the ubiquitous non-solicitation provisions many employers require employees to agree to. This post, however, will focus on the other common situation – …

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Social Media in the Workplace: 6 Tips Regarding Non-Solicitation Agreements

Social Media in the Workplace:  6 Tips Regarding Non-Solicitation Agreements

Companies want to protect their assets, including their trade secrets, their client/customer lists, and the company’s most important asset:  its own workforce.  Companies invest significant resources to on-board new employees, put them through orientations, training sessions, retreats, and of course, provide them with salaries, commissions, benefits and other perks.  They also become privy to confidential information and trade secrets.  Simply put, good employees are difficult to find, and losing a good employee can be quite a setback for an employer.  But change is inevitable.  Employees leave good companies. To limit the possibility of an exodus of employees (and customers as …

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Social Media and Employment Law: Lessons About Forking and Big Dongle Jokes

Social Media and Employment Law: Lessons About Forking and Big Dongle Jokes

No naked pictures were posted.  No sexually charged words were Tweeted.  No demands for sexual favors were made. Typically, social media’s role in sexual harassment has been to serve as “evidence” of inappropriate behavior; like someone posting a sexually explicit comment, or offensive pictures.  However, recently at PyCon 2013, “the largest annual gathering for the community using and developing the open source Python programming language”, Adria Richards used social media to report, to the general public, allegations of sexual harassment.   The fallout, so far, has been that 1) one of the two alleged harassers was fired; 2) Ms. Richards …

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Social Media and Employment Law: March Madness (and Yahoo!/Telecommuting) Causes Craziness In The Workplace

Social Media and Employment Law: March Madness (and Yahoo!/Telecommuting) Causes Craziness In The Workplace

Sharpen those pencils!  March Madness is about to begin!  Are you ready?  Is your employer prepared?  Selection Sunday is only a few days away and brackets will be published shortly.  Here are some important tips for employers and employees about how to succeed in the workplace during March Madness.  (You may not win your office pool by reading this post, but at least you may keep your job, or keep your company somewhat productive…) Each year, March Madness wrecks havoc at workplaces around the country and makes even the hardest-working employee a bit less productive.  Frankly, workplace productivity takes a …

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Social Media in the Workplace: Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior

Social Media in the Workplace: Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior

A federal appeals court has declared that President Obama acted in violation of the U.S. Constitution.  Before I get to that case, and why it involves social media in the workplace, let’s look at a hoax and at liars using social media. Lying on Your Resume Will End Up Hurting You (duh!) And Will Be A Gift To Your Employer (huh?) Let’s focus for a minute on Mantei Te’o.  During his interview with Katie Couric, Mantei Te’o said he was a victim of an elaborate hoax, and once he learned of the hoax, he decided to play along with it …

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6 New Year Resolutions for Employees and Employers Regarding Social Media

6 New Year Resolutions for Employees and Employers Regarding Social Media

Eat healthier.  Ger more exercise.  Spend more time with the kids. Do you make resolutions for the new year?  If so, you probably focus on the items that focus on your family, health and prosperity.  Employees should also take the time to make some resolutions regarding social media and how it impacts their workplace.  Companies too should keep some key resolutions in mind as the legal issues concerning social media in the workplace continue to shift.  Below are some commonsense, New Year resolutions that will help employees and employers alike. Resolutions For Employees 1.  Read and understand all the privacy …

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Employers: More Employees With Personal Mobile Devices Means More Problems In The Workplace

Employers: More Employees With Personal Mobile Devices Means More Problems In The Workplace

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone.  Shoppers are buying Smartphones, mini iPads, iPhones, Kindle Fires, and other gadgets at a record pace.  But what happens when employees decide to bring these shiny new toys into the workplace to show their friends and coworkers?  Worse, what happens when an employee tries to use these personal devices to perform work or read business email?  What should an employer do, if anything, to prevent workplace issues from arising as employees bring more and more personal social media products into the workplace?  Below are just a few steps employers can take …

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First “Facebook Firing” Decision Issued by the National Labor Relations Board

Where do your rights as an employee or an employer start and end when it comes to social media?

I’ve written about the importance of the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) role in social media and employment law several times.  Usually, my posts describe how the NLRB and its General Counsel are finding employer practices or policies to be unlawful.  In its first decision regarding a “Facebook firing,” the NLRB surprisingly rules for the employer.  It was such a momentous occasion that the NLRB issued a press release. The NLRB’s First, And Certainly Not Last, Decision Regarding A Facebook Firing Case A Facebook user pursued his wrongful termination claim at the NLRB.   After the case made its way past …

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Employers: New California Law and New NLRB Decision On Social Media

Social Media and Employment Law: Don't have a general policy; instead, be specific.

September was a rather busy month for new developments regarding social media in the workplace.  In early September, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued its decision regarding various employee policies of Costco Wholesale Corp.  This is the first time the NLRB has issued a decision on many policies that typically appear in a company’s social media policy.  Then, in the last week of September, California became the third state to pass a law regulating when employers may request and access employee social media accounts.  Both of these events are significant because they are breaking new ground.  Let’s start with …

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Social Media and Employment Law: Naked Twister and Litigating Employment Claims

Social Media and Employment Law: Naked Twister and Litigating Employment Claims

These days, social media plays an important role in litigation, and particularly litigation of employment claims.  This is so because a typical plaintiff in an employment-related lawsuit is usually a fired employee who claims to have been wrongfully terminated, and/or unlawfully mistreated at the workplace.  Sometimes (and more often then you may think despite all the privacy settings and warnings on blogs and articles like this one:  “Why Your Status Updates May Come Back To Haunt You“), the plaintiff will have posted something on Facebook (or other social media outlets) that becomes relevant to a lawsuit.  And, in rare cases, …

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Social Media Policy for Employers: 6 Additional Key Policies To Update

Are all of your companies policies as up to date as your social media policy?

So, your company has promulgated a workplace social media policy, and believes that the policy is state-of-the-art.  Your company has probably worked hard to get its social media policy compliant with current standards.  Someone (perhaps you) has done research and has consulted with an attorney regarding this masterpiece.  Additionally, someone in your company has read the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) third, and most recent, guidance memorandum on social media, and has reviewed the sample social policy it provided.  You are happy that your company’s social policy contains numerous examples of acceptable, and unacceptable, employee social media behavior.  Your company’s …

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Social Media Privacy in The Workplace: Is There Any?

Social Media Privacy in The Workplace: Is There Any?

But what about my right to privacy?  Employment lawyers hear this question a lot.  We hear it when an employee is being questioned about his internet use at work.  We hear it when an employee gets caught posting about how much fun it is being at a baseball game on a day she called in sick.  We hear it when an employee sends a sexy text using a work-provided smartphone.  And, we hear it during employment litigation when employees want to prevent an employer from obtaining texts, posts, pictures, and status updates during discovery.  We hear that question a lot. …

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From Ill-Advised to Illegal: Employers Face New Laws On Social Media Monitoring

From Ill-Advised to Illegal: Employers Face New Laws On Social Media Monitoring

Everyday, things are getting more and more complicated out there for employers.  As you may recall (indeed, how could you forget?), earlier this year the media shined a bright spotlight on a small number of employers (and I truly mean just a small few) who were reportedly asking for social media passwords from job seekers, or were asking applicants to allow them to “shoulder-surfing” during an interview.  The media went crazy.  Employees cried “Invasion of privacy!”  Even Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, issued a statement titled “Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy” that warned employers to not require passwords …

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Employers: Don’t Ignore These Two Acronyms for Social Media Policy Compliance

Employers: Don’t Ignore These Two Acronyms for Social Media Policy Compliance

Undoubtedly, social media (SM) experts and enthusiasts are quick to understand acronyms like SEO, VLOG, RSS, and PM.  Similarly, lawyers, particularly employment lawyers, are fluent in another set of acronyms including EEOC, DOJ, FCRA, and DOL.  Some of these legal acronyms have a more obvious connection with SM than others (and I discussed some in my prior monthly post about employers using social media in hiring decisions).  Two less obvious acronyms, however, should be on every employer’s and SM expert’s radar, and they both start with the same three letters:  NLR. Why You Should Care About The NLRA:  Generally, the …

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Employers Be Cautious Using Social Media To Screen Job Applicants

Employers Be Cautious Using Social Media To Screen Job Applicants

Recently, there has been “much ado” over some employers seeking Facebook password and login information from job applicants.  While this practice just recently caught the media’s attention, the reality is employers have been using social media to investigate job applicants for years.  For example, in 2011, Reppler, a social media monitoring service, conducted a survey of 300 hiring professionals to learn if, when, and how they are using social media to screen job applicants.  Specifically, according to the survey, 91% of the recruiters and hiring managers stated they have used social networking sites to screen prospective employees.  And, 69% of …

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