In their presentation they highlighted that employees today share gripes and gossip online, as they used to around a water cooler. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) has long protected employees who use any avenue, including social media, to discuss working conditions, including pay and benefits. Such “protected concerted activity” cannot support a termination.
Importantly, however, this protection is not extended to employees who merely vent individual gripes. Nor does it protect categories of employees expressly excluded by the NLRA, such as supervisors.
So how do you protect your company’s online reputation and encourage responsible social media use in your business? A well-crafted social media policy, which takes into account the law, covers the type of activities that lead to the termination, and is consistently applied, can help employers deal with a variety of situations.
Top 4 Things to Remember when it comes to social media use in your business.
- Set Social Media Policies for Your Workplace – You need to a strike balance. Policies should discipline but typically cannot restrict speech about working conditions/terms of employment.
- Enforce These Policies – Your actions need to be uniform for all employees. You need to enforce these policies to establish a pattern of consistent treatment/uniform enforcement.
- Document Employee Violations of These Policies – Make sure to document enforcing violations, progressive discipline and past issues so you can prove that actions are routine
- Review These Policies Annually– The internet, social media, and technology are always changing. Review your policies annually. Laws generally evolve slowly, but they will change over time.