Employers should take the following steps when creating a social media policy:
- Do Not Prohibit Protected or Concerted Activity. Under the NLRA, employees have the right to post or carry on conversations on social media sites regarding wage and working conditions. The policy should indicate that protected speech cannot be censored by an employer.
- Personal Complaints and Offensive Remarks Are Not Protected. Make it clear that legally protected activity does not include personal complaints or gripes; nor does it protect an employee’s offensive, demeaning, defamatory, abusive, or inappropriate remarks.
- Be Specific. A poorly drafted, overly broad policy could leave you subject to liability for potentially violating employee rights.
- Requiring Disclaimers on Certain Posts Is Acceptable. Employers can require employees to include disclaimers on their postings, such as, “The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the employer’s positions, strategies, or opinions,” if the postings directly or indirectly relate to the employer.
- Prevent Bullying, Discrimination, and Harassment. Social media can become a forum for inappropriate, unwelcome remarks about employees by supervisors, or among co-workers. Be clear in your social media policy that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
- Comply With State and Federal Laws. Remind employees not to post any information or engage in any online activity that violates applicable local, state, or federal laws.
- Be Careful About What Gets Posted About the Company. Blogs and social media website postings may be reviewed, copied, and disseminated by others, including competitors. LinkedIn specifically is a great way to share exciting company news—just make sure the news is not proprietary or shared prematurely.
- Make Clear Who Owns Certain Material. Employers need to clearly describe in their social media policies what materials belong to the company and what belongs to the employee. Blog posts created during nonworking hours on topics unrelated to the business typically belong to the employee.
- Protect Confidential Trade Secrets. Protect confidential, proprietary information by instituting a social media policy that prohibits unauthorized dissemination.
- Educate and Enforce. Educate the workforce and make the policy readily available; then monitor and enforce the policy, and update it regularly.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at