Your social media policy might seem like another legal document you do not want to have to deal with, yet you know it is essential for you, your employees and your company as a whole – it protects your brand – as well as helping you maintain good relationships with the public.
As you continue to realize the necessity of having a social media policy, no doubt you will encounter some challenges as you attempt to craft your legal document. We here at Sparks! faced similar challenges when we were in the process of creating a social media policy. With initial guidance from Dena Lorenzi, our social media consultant, we were able to clarify our objective as we crafted our own social media policy.
One of the concerns that employers must consider when crafting a social media policy is whether or not they are violating allowable workplace activity as allowed by the National Labor Relations Board and its protections of what it called “concerted activity.”
According to Inside Counsel, concerted social media activity under NLRA rules “affords employees the right to discuss their wages and other terms and conditions of employment among themselves and with third parties. This protected activity does not change simply because the communications occurred via the Internet or on a social media platform. That being said, to be protected under the NLRA, the employee’s activity must also be “concerted.” Generally speaking, concerted activity “requires two or more employees acting together to improve wages or working conditions.” However, the action of a single employee may be considered concerted if he or she involves co-workers before acting, or acts on behalf of others.”
As you go forward in crafting your social media policy, here are some things from Inside Counsel to help you write an effective document, such “Define key concepts and terms,” “Do not restrict more than is necessary”, or “Do not prohibit employees from identifying themselves with the company.”
Of course, there are straightforward guidelines that are understood, as Dena mentioned, e.g., employees should not engage in defamatory/inappropriate speech/behavior or disputes with your audience; while employers cannot ask employees for their personal login credentials for their personal accounts, or use an individual employee’s name as the account name.
As Euripides said, “Fortune truly helps those who are of good judgement.”