Archives: Social Media

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Do employers have the right to read employees’ private emails?

A recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) case (Barbulescu -v- Romania) has attracted much publicity in the UK press as giving employers the green light to read employees’ private emails. Is that correct and does this case really change things? Background Mr Barbulescu was employed as an engineer in charge of sales. His employer … Continue Reading

Virginia Restricts an Employer’s Ability to Require Access to Employees’ Social Media Accounts

This post was written by Gregory J. Sagstetter. Effective July 1, 2015, Virginia will join the growing list of states (including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin) that have enacted legislation restricting the circumstances in which an employer can access … Continue Reading

Is Your Social Media Influencer or Blogger an Employee or an Independent Contractor? What Companies Need To Know Before They Engage Bloggers and Other Independent Contractors

With the first quarter of 2015 behind us, many companies are already deeply engaged in social media campaigns. Many of these campaigns include the engagement of professional bloggers or other persons with social media influence to promote corporate brands through social media. These individuals are typically classified as independent contractors, but are they really employees? … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Keeps Unfriending Employer Social Media Policies

In a just-released Advice Memorandum found here, the NLRB General Counsel’s office (“GC”) publicized its position that employers must bargain with their unions before implementing new social media policies. The Memo “casually” notes that work rules, such as social media guidelines, provide an independent basis for discipline and are mandatory subjects of bargaining.  According to the … Continue Reading

Reed Smith’s Jim Burns Discusses Recent NLRB Attacks on Bank Workplace Policies

In a recent article appearing in Illinois Banker magazine, “Beyond Social Media Policies: Have Other Common Employer Policies and Practices Been Struck Down by the National Labor Relations Board,” Reed Smith Chicago partner Jim Burns discusses some of the more aggressive positions that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken against certain common workplace … Continue Reading

Employers Take Notice: Scrutinize Your Social Media Policies Now!

NLRB: Employers cannot forbid employees from disparaging their employers and companies. An NLRB Administrative Law Judge, following the lead of the NLRB from its recent decision in Costco Wholesale Inc., invalidated social media and other employment policies of DISH Network, Inc. Linked here is that decision. The invalidated policies (1) prohibited employees from disparaging the company … Continue Reading

California Bars Employers from Requiring Social Media Passwords

Following the lead of Maryland and Illinois, California is the latest state to stop employers from requesting social media log-in information, such as user names and passwords for Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail, from employees and job applicants. The new law also includes protections from employer retaliation against employees who refuse to provide this personal access … Continue Reading

Employer’s E-Mail System May Become Tool for Union Organizing

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is expected to issue a ruling shortly on whether employers can lawfully prohibit their employees and unions from using employer-owned e-mail and intranet systems to distribute union campaign materials. An NLRB decision favoring employee and union use of these internal communication avenues for union organizing and other NLRA-protected activities would … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Issues Third Report on Social Media Cases

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon issued his third report on social media cases handled by the NLRB. Copies of all three memos are available here, here and here, in the order issued. Our previous blog post discussing the second memo can be found here. The most recent, third report reviews … Continue Reading

Accessing Facebook Through Employers: Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze?

Employers are becoming more aware of the impact of Facebook and the type of information it can reveal. Some employers use Facebook to find background or character information about their employees or job applicants. Other employers use Facebook to find out whether employees have disclosed information about the employer’s business. Some employers are taking it … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Issues Second Report on Social Media Cases

This post was also written by Samantha M. Clancy. The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon recently issued a report on social media cases handled by the NLRB. This second report—he issued his first in August 2011— provides guidance to employers in developing and enforcing social media policies to comply with the National … Continue Reading

NLRB Charges New York Nonprofit With Labor Law Violations for Discharging Employees Based on Working-Condition Discussions on Facebook

In yet another instance illustrating the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB’s”) intent to prosecute violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) related to employee activity on social media sites, the NLRB’s Buffalo, NY regional office has issued a complaint against Hispanics United of Buffalo Inc. (HUB), a New York nonprofit agency. The complaint alleges that … Continue Reading

Reed Smith Employment Attorney Expands Social Media Advice to France in New Edition of White Paper

Nearly everyone has become a part of the social media phenomenon that includes Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other websites. The growth of social media has been staggering. However, along with that growth comes new legal risks, including employment issues, which we haven’t seen before. As you may know, in fall 2009, we published a social media white … Continue Reading

NLRB Challenges Termination of Employee Based on Facebook Posting

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) recently issued a complaint against a Connecticut ambulance service accusing it of illegally discharging an employee for posting negative comments about her supervisor on her Facebook page. The NLRB also challenged the employer’s blogging and Internet policy, asserting that it chills employee rights under the National Labor Relations … Continue Reading

Reed Smith Employment Attorneys Expand Social Media Advice to Europe in New Edition of White Paper

This post was also written by Carl De Cicco and Amber M. Spataro. In our everyday lives, we’ve all noticed or become a part of the phenomenon of social media Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and more. The options offered and growth of the media have been staggering. With that growth has come new legal risks, including … Continue Reading
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