Social Media And The NLRB

I try not to use terms like “must read.” I think by its very nature, that term overstates things. Is there some law that says I must read it? Is there terrible consequence if I don’t get around to it? See my point? But having said that, this report on social media from the NLRB’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, is um, must reading. The new report, which updates an earlier one issued in August 2011, reiterates the NLRB’s position that employees using social media to engage in protected concerted complaints about their employment are protected by the National Labor Relations Act, while employees who merely air individual gripes lack statutory protection. More importantly, the report looks at seven cases on social media policy and explains why in five of the seven cases (that would be a batting average of over .700) the NLRB concluded that the employer had adopted overbroad policies that violated employee rights. The point is this. You need to be careful about drafting and enforcing a social media policy. And while broad prohibitions against disparaging the company may seem logical on their face, they may get you into trouble if those “disparaging statements” constitute concerted activity. As I said, read the report.