Employer Beware: NLRB Third Guidance Memorandum on Social Media

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Over the past couple of years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been active in scrutinizing and striking down employers’ social media policies to determine if they violate union and non-union employees’ Section 7 rights to discuss wages and working conditions. To provide some direction, the NLRB recently released its third guidance memorandum regarding drafting and applying social media policies. The guidance includes specific examples of various policies and rules.

Employer Beware! Below are three social media issues that employers should be aware of: 

  1. Be wary of instructing employees regarding posts involving third parties. An outright prohibition could be considered overbroad.
  1. Don’t require your employees to report certain activities. An employer violates the National Labor Relations Act by encouraging employees to report to management protected acvities of other employees.
  1. It is unlawful for an employer to instruct employees to “think carefully” about “friending” colleagues because it is so overbroad that it discourages communications among coworkers.

For more guidance, you can read the NLRB’s guidance here, and find the first two social media guidance memorandums here and here.  Additionally, if you have or are developing a social media policy or if you are considering disciplining an employee for violating one, you should consult with counsel.


About the Authors

Lauren Parris Watts

Lauren Parris Watts’ practice focuses on representing and advising individual clients and small to medium-sized business clients in risk management, contractual matters, employment and general tort litigation. She counsels clients on a variety of issues, including compensation and severance agreements, non-competition and non-solicitation restrictions, disability accommodations, FMLA and other leave rights and misconduct investigations. She also represents her clients in lawsuits alleging wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination.

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