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Why Employee Use of Social Media "Off the Clock" May Still Impact Your Workplace

A few weeks, ago I was speaking about social media and the workplace to a fabulous audience at the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference and Expo . ( Email me if you want a copy of my slidedeck). One of my session themes was that there is no such thing as employees using social media "off the clock."...

What Does the ADA Say About Employee Medical Information and Social Media?

The ADA protects, as confidential, employee medical information obtained by an employer. Last year, I asked the following questions about the impact of social media on this confidentiality obligation: What happens, however, when an employee suffers an on-the-job injury and a supervisor shares information...

Should You Block Social Media at Work?

One of my summer television addictions is NY Med , which follows surgeons around some of the New York metro area’s busiest hospitals. One this summer’s episodes focused on a man who had been hit by a subway train. An ER nurse Instagrammed a photo of the empty trauma room, along with the caption...

Court: No First Amendment Right For Teacher to Trash Students Online

Welcome to The Employer Handbook. Extending the fifteen minutes of fame of a trash-talking blogger/teacher by a 300 word blog post. Dudes, do you remember Natalie Munroe? She's the teacher who enjoyed a cup of coffee in the spotlight a few years ago after getting suspended for bashing her...

An Unconstitutional Workplace Social Media Policy?

Can an employer's social media policy be unconstitutional? Maybe - if it's a public employer. We may get some insight into the constitutional boundaries of public employer social media policies in a new lawsuit filed against a sheriff's office in Texas. The case is Pittman v. Garcia. You...

Facebook Firing Causes Unfair Labor Practice Double Play For NLRB

In Triple Play Sports Bar & Grille [pdf] , the NLRB unanimously concluded that an employer unlawfully fired two employees for their off-duty Facebooking, and less-than unanimously concluded that the same employer’s social media policy was unlawfully restrictive [an enhanced version of this...

Keeping Secrets on Social Media

The title of this post is a bit laughable, isn’t it? I mean, really, it’s almost an oxymoron. Keeping secrets on social media? What’s the point? The very existence of social media is dependent upon sharing—not secret-keeping. But the two are intersecting more and more. Which is...

Keeping Secrets on Social Media: Part II

Employees telling secrets online was the subject of yesterday's post, Keeping Secrets on Social Media . Today's post--a continuation of the theme from yesterday--is about "auto-expire" apps. An "auto-expire" app is an app that enables users to set an automatic expiration...

Social Media Blunders Cost a Chef and a Chief Their Jobs

More proof that both entry-level employees and C-Suite executives can do dumb stuff and receive the Vince McMahon treatment ... No shirt, no sense, no job. When I go out to eat, I'm not that picky. While I often have a taste of fine dining, I can do beer and wings with the best of 'em....

Pennsylvania Bar Association Formal Opinion: Ethical Obligations for Attorneys Using Social Media

The PBA Ethics Committee issued a formal opinion on Ethical Obligations for Attorneys Using Social Media (HT: Dan Siegel on Legal Intelligencer ). The opinion is jam-packed with 18 pages of social media goodness on 10 main issues. Spoiler Alert! The committee concludes that: 1. Attorneys may advise...

Facebook Posts Too Insubordinate, Lose NLRA Protection

Yesterday, I covered the NLRA and concerted protected activity in my employment law class at Penn State. Here's the text from one of my slides: Protected Concerted Activity • Concerted - acting in “concert” with other employees (not just for employee’s individual benefit...

Can You Fire an Employee Who Posts Nazi Propaganda on Facebook?

Maybe you've heard about it. I'm giving a little spiel today on social media in the workplace with a few friends at an event in Philadelphia. If I play my cards right, I'll do as little speaking as possible on the dais. Which means I'll get my two cents in and discuss on a hockey coach...

Teacher's Racist Twitter Rant and the Law

Have you heard the one about the teacher who got fired over a racist Twitter rant about Ferguson ? To recap, she posted some lovely gems, such as "Who the (expletive) made you dumb (expletive) crackers think I give a squat (expletive) about your opinions. #Ferguson Kill yourselves." The...

Issue of Threats via Facebook Heads to the Supreme Court

The intersection of Facebook use and Free Speech is complicated. Complicated enough, in fact, that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the subject when it decides a case it is scheduled to hear argument in today, Elonis v. United States [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs for this...

Facebook Threats Constitute Legitimate Grounds for Termination

Earlier this week, I wrote about the issue of threats made via Facebook constitute constitutionally protected speech. Today’s post also is about threats made via Facebook but in the context of the workplace. The case, decided by the Court of Appeals of Ohio, is timed perfectly for my road trip...

Lawsuits, Discovery, and the Right to Privacy In the Context of Social Media

A party’s “right to privacy” in the context of social media is the subject for numerous motions in civil litigation. The scenario goes like this: Plaintiff sues defendant, alleging injuries. Defendants seeks discovery of Plaintiff’s social-media content, such as photos, posts...

One State Is Banning Personal Use of Social Media at Work

Wait, seriously? Yep. No employee of the State of South Carolina will be allowed to use social media on the job, "unless specifically required by the agency to perform a job function." Cassie Cope at TheState.com first reported this news here . According to the State Employee Code of...

Gawker Intern Lawsuit Shows the Need For Social-Media Savvy in the Legal Profession

Have you recently tried to communicate with someone under the age of 25? Have you tried to call them? How about email? What about text message, Facebook, or Twitter? I bet that your communicative outreaches are much more likely to gain a response if you choose any of the latter over the former. Thus...

Is the C-Suite Ready for Trial Tweeting?

The tweets are flying out of the courtroom in day 5 of the highly anticipated Silicon Valley sex bias jury trial happening right now in a Superior Court of California San Francisco courtroom. Journalists from the Wall Street Journal , Business Insider , Wired , The Verge , VentureWire , USA Today...

Has the Social Media Battle Already Been Lost?

It is day 7 of the sex discrimination jury trial against a high-profile Silicon Valley venture capital firm and the social media debate is raging [Ed. note: This article was originally posted on Mar. 4]. For those not following along, Ellen Pao, formerly a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital...

NLRB Signs Off on Employer Social Media Policy as Legal

It’s not news that employer social media policies are on the NLRB’s radar. What is newsworthy, though, is when the NLRB considers a social media policy and concludes that it does not unlawfully infringe on employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activity under the National...

Delaware Social Media Privacy Law Moves Ahead

At our Annual Employment Law Seminar last week, I spoke about the “Facebook Privacy” bill that was then pending in Delaware’s House of Representatives. The bill passed the House on later that day and is now headed to the Senate. For those of you who weren’t in attendance last...

Those Without Facebook Accounts Need Not Apply. Well, Maybe Not in One State.

Forcing job applicants to disclose social media logins and passwords as a condition of employment is so 2013 kinda like this crappy blog . So, the State of Oregon is this close to becoming the first state to expand its social media workplace privacy law to forbid employers from requiring their employees...

Must You Pay Employees Who “Volunteer” to Use Social Media For the Company?

Work-related blogging is compensable time. Yesterday, I read the District of Hawaii opinion in Tagupa v. VIPdesk, Inc. . Tagupa worked for VIPdesk, a national concierge network, as part of its remote concierge team [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance...

Don’t Forget to Check Social Networks During Your Workplace Investigations

Cleveland.com reports that a former bi-racial employee has sued a Steak ‘n Shake restaurant for race and disability discrimination: A discrimination lawsuit contends that two employees of a Steak ‘n Shake restaurant in Aurora used racial slurs, including n-----, to refer to a black co...