Like, Tweet, Poke, Comment, Connect, Add, Friend, Follow
With the continuous evolution of social networking sites, employers need to familiarize themselves with all avenues of social media and networking. Social networks are here to stay. These sites highlight the fascinating trend that more and more people want to share where they are, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with. Statistics show the rapid expansion of media source.
- Google search handles over 1 billion searched per day.
- YouTube generates an estimated 92 million page views each month.
- Facebook currently has over 800 million users, over 350 million active users accessing through mobile devices in more than 70 languages.
Companies across the country, including car dealerships, are now using social media channels and the World Wide Web as integral parts of their advertising, promotions and sales initiatives to reach out to potential customers around the world. Net-based activity can be a dream come true or a dealer’s worst nightmare.
National Labor Relations Board. In August of 2011 the NLRB released a report detailing the outcome of fourteen cases regarding employer policies and employee use of social media . The NLRB found that in cases where employees were discussing the terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees, they were engaged in “protected concerted activity.” The NLRB used the Meyers cases in determining the lawfulness of employer actions relating to employees and social media. 1 Meyers provides that “an activity is concerted when an employee acts “with or on the authority of other employees, and not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself.”
Create a Social Networking Policy. As an employer, you must develop and implement a specific policy governing social networking and train employees on its requirements. If a policy is already in place, make sure that it is current and if you have questions, speak with counsel. Important tips when implementing policies include:
- Make sure the policy is clear and understandable to the average employee.
- The policy must not be over broad.
- Ensure that employees are put on notice.
- Include examples of prohibited conduct that could be misconstrued by employees.
- Prohibit the use of company e-mail, address, phone number unless expressly authorized.
- Prohibit use during work hours unless for business purposes or expressly authorized.
- Ban use of trademarks or logos unless expressly authorized.
- Prohibit reference to patients, clients and/or customers.
- Advise employees that comments and actions reflect on the company.
- Train employees on appropriate vs. inappropriate usage of social media sources.
- Monitor online presence.
- Include limiting language advising employees that the policy does not apply to activities protected by Section 7 of the NLRA
The most important thing to remember is to educate andtrain your employees regarding social media use, company policies, the legal risks of inappropriate usage and always give examples that are clear and understandable. Make the explosion of social media and networking work for you and not against you.
Kayla Mudge is an associate with the firm and concentrates her practice in commercial litigation and corporate law matters.
1 Meyers Industries (Meyers I), 268 NLRB 493 (1984), revd. sub nom Prill v. NLRB, 755 F.2d 941 (D.C. Cir. 1985), cert. denied 474 U.S. 948 (1985), on remand Meyers Industries (Meyers II), 281 NLRB 882 (1986), affd. sub nom Prill v. NLRB, 835 F.2d 1481 (D.C. Cir. 1987), cert. denied 487 U.S. 1205 (1988).