Part 1 What Rules Can I Enforce About Social Media

It’s bad enough dealing with teaching one’s children to use social media responsibly, but we also have to deal with an NLRB who seems committed to prohibiting most rules governing employee social media use.  What’s an employer to do?  Part 1 of my posts will deal with some but not all rules found unlawful by the NLRB.


  • A rule that employees not “release confidential guest, team member or company information;


  • A rule instructing employees not to share confidential information with coworkers unless they need the information to their job;


  • A rule instructing employees not to have discussions regarding confidential information in the break room, at home, or in open areas in public places;


  • A rule threatening employees with discharge or criminal prosecution for failing to report unauthorized access on issues of confidential information;


  • A rule instructing employees to be sure that their postings are “completely accurate and not misleading and that they do not reveal non-public information on any public site;”


  • A rule that instructs employees not to “reveal non-public company information on any public sites;”


  • A rule that cautions employees that “when in doubt about whether the information you are considering sharing falls into one of the prohibited categories, do not post.  Check with the Employer to see if it’s a good idea;”


  • A rule that prohibits employees from posting photos, music, videos and “personal information of others without obtaining the owner’s permission and ensuring that the content can be legally shared;”


  • A rule prohibiting employees from using the Employer’s logos and trademarks; [It appears that a rule prohibiting the commercial use of an Employer’s logo or trademarks would be lawful];


  • A rule that “offensive, demeaning, abusive or inappropriate remarks are as out-of-place online as they are offline;”


  • A rule instructing employees to “think carefully about friending coworkers;”


  • A rule that instructs employees to “report any unusual or inappropriate internal social media activities;”


  • A rule prohibiting disclosure of personal information about the employers, employees and contingent workers;


  • A rule prohibiting employees from commenting on legal matters;


  • A rule warning employees not to “pick fights” and to avoid conflicts that might be considered objectionable or inflammatory..such as politics and religion;


  • A rule reminding employees to communicate in a “professional tone;”


  • A rule requiring employees to “get permission for reusing others’ content or images;”


  • A rule encouraging employees to “resolve concerns about work by speaking with coworkers, supervisors or managers;”


  • A rule prohibiting employees from posting information regarding the Employer that can be deemed “material, non-public information” or “confidential or proprietary;”


  • A rule warning employees to “avoid harming the image and integrity of the Company;”


  • A rule requiring employees who receive “unsolicited or inappropriate electronic communications” to report them;


  • A rule prohibiting employees from making “disparaging or defamatory” comments;


  • A rule prohibiting employees from participating in activities that disparage or defame Company on Company time;

About mavity2012

I am a Senior Partner operating out of the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, one of the Nation’s oldest and largest management employment and labor firms. My practice is national and keeps me on the road or in one of our 28 offices about 50 percent of the time. I created and co-chair the Firm's Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group. I have almost 29 years of experience as a labor lawyer, but rely even more heavily on the experience I gained in working in my family's various businesses, and through dealing with practical client issues. Employers tell me that they seldom meet an attorney who delivers on his promise to provide practical guidance and to be a business partner. As a result, some executives probably use different terms than “practical” to describe my fellow travelers in the profession. I don't enjoy the luxury of being impractical because I spend much of my time on shop floors and construction sites dealing with safety, union and related issues which are driven by real world processes and the need to protect and get the most out of one's most important business assets ... its employees. That's one of the reasons that I view safety compliance as a way to also manage problem employees, reduce litigation and develop the type of work environment that makes unions unnecessary. Starting out dealing with union-management challenges and a stint in the NLRB have better equipped me to see the interrelationship of legal and workplace factors. I am proud also of my experience at Fisher & Phillips, where providing “practical advice” is second only to legal excellence among the Firm’s values. Our website lists me as having provided counsel for over 225 occasions of union activity, guided unionized companies, and as having managed approximately 450 OSHA fatality cases in construction and general industry, ranging from dust explosions to building collapses, in virtually every state. I have coordinated complex inspections involving multi-employer sites, corporate-wide compliance, and issues involving criminal referral. As a full labor lawyer, I oversee audits of corporate labor, HR, and safety compliance. I have responded to virtually every type of day-to-day workplace inquiry, and have handled cases before the EEOC, OFCCP, NLRB, and numerous other state and federal agencies. At F & P, all of us seek to spot issues and then rely upon attorneys in the Firm who concentrate on those areas. No tunnel vision. I teach or speak around 50 times per year to business associations, bar and professional groups, and to individual businesses. I serve on safety committees at three states’ AGC Chapters, teach at the AGC ASMTC
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