Articles Posted in Social Media and the Workplace

It’s funny.

(Not “ha ha!” funny. Just, employment-law blogger, wry-smile funny).

I read different surveys about social media and hiring and the numbers vary greatly. For every survey that indicates that employers are not using social media to vet candidates, you get the one I read last night from CareerBuilder.com, which reports that “fifty-two percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up significantly from 43 percent last year and 39 percent in 2013.” Continue reading

Raise your hand if you don’t own a smartphone.

According to this Pew survey, 64% of American adults own smartphones. And that’s just the adults.

So, it should come as no surprise that, in the brief amount of time it takes someone to pull a phone of a pocket, bring it to life, pull up a camera app, and hit record — five seconds maybe — anything you (or your employees) do in public can be stored and shared. Continue reading

If you are a Philadelphia employer, check out my post from February and this poster. While the new law requires employers of 10 or more to provide paid sick leave, those with 9 or few employees must still provide unpaid sick leave. If you haven’t done so already, update your employee handbooks.

For the rest of you (and, I suppose, my Philadelphia employer readers too), the results of yesterday’s Facebook poll are in…and not all that surprising.

71% of those who responded would fire an employee who identifies herself on Facebook as one of your employees and, in a status update, praises the murder of two police officers. Others would either discipline/counsel the employee (21%), or do nothing to the employee (4%). One of you would consult the company’s social media policy before taking action. Another one of you would discuss with the employee first and then decide what to do.

And one more of you would “Put her on a one-way flight to Itan or Notth Korea.”

It’s even better with the misspellings. In fact, I’m just going to leave that there and walk away from the computer now.

 

Over the weekend, while enjoying my tea and krumpets twenty minutes alone in the bathroom free from four screaming kids, I read this story in U.K.’s Daily Mail about a Facebook post from a fast-food chain employee. Shortly after news hit about two police officers gettign shot and killed, she wrote: ‘2 police officers was [sic] shot in hattiesburg [sic] tonight.! [sic].’ The same post include a few emoji (among them, a smiley face and a skull), followed by ‘GOT EM’ and a gun pointed at the words. In a subsequent Facebook post, the employee added, “we can turn this bxtch [sic] into Baltimore real quick.’ Continue reading

Sure, I could have used today’s post to address yesterday’s unanimous Supreme Court decision about EEOC conciliation efforts.

But this is The Employer Handbook. It’s not like I just got the call up to the major leagues.

By now, my blog game is hella-strong, yo! I troll sites like TMZ and Deadspin for fodder. And when I see stories like Samar Kalef’s “Rockets’ Twitter Guy Fired Over Emoji Violence, well, like a moth to a flame. Continue reading

I can’t blame you if last month’s decision from the National Labor Relations Board, left you asking the question: “Are there no limits to what employees can get away with on social media?” The Board decision, in case you missed it, reinstated an employee who went on Facebook and called his boss a “NASTY MOTHER F*&KER”  and, then added, “F*&k his mother and his entire f*&king family!!!!”

So, yeah, I’ll admit it. The Board’s decision leaves me wondering how far an employee can go when discussing the terms and conditions of employment.

Still, I’m here to reaffirm that there are limits. Indeed, when an employee uses social media to discuss matters unrelated to the workplace, there’s probably no protection available.

Continue reading

[WARNING: This post has some VERY foul language. Although the National Labor Relations Board may tolerate it, many of you may be offended].


 

By now, all of us have read the articles, which claim that the law permits your employees to complain about work on social media … and keep their jobs.

Well, that’s not exactly true. The National Labor Relations Act, which applies to most private-sector workplaces — both union and non-union — protects employees who engage in protected concerted activity. Protected concerted activity is where employees discuss working conditions with one another.

But, an employee who gripes alone is not protected. Also, vulgar and obscene comments are not protected.

Until now. Continue reading

Your company has set up a private LinkedIn Group. Your company, which controls who may become a member of the Group, has seen the number of Group members swell to nearly 700. Way to go! Because it’s a private group, the names of all of the group members are not generally available to the public.

Now, let’s say that the employee whom you have appointed to manage the LinkedIn Group — the one who knows all the passwords — up and leaves. And, of course, he doesn’t return the passwords. What can you do?

How about a lawsuit for misappropriation of trade secrets? Continue reading

This “invasion of privacy” question is the lynchpin of a new lawsuit from two former employees of one of the largest beer companies in the world. The complaint (available here), which began in state court, has been removed to federal court in New Jersey.

David Gialanella, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal (full article here), summarizes the facts of the case:

A year ago, five company employees, including Nascimento and Yule, exchanged a series of text messages, apparently disparaging fellow employee Alex Davis. The messages were transmitted using their personal mobile phones, and on their own time, but Nascimento’s personal phone was linked to his company iPad through the iMessaging application, causing the messages to be stored on the iPad, according to the complaint.

Afterward, Nascimento was issued a new iPad, while the old one—with his text messages and credit card information still stored on it—was loaned to Davis. Davis discovered the text messages and complained, after which Nascimento, Yule and the others were questioned by investigators hired by Anheuser-Busch, according to the complaint.

Nascimento, Yule and a third employee involved in the messaging were terminated last September for “‘violation of corporate policy regarding use of company equipment,’” while a fourth was reprimanded, according to the complaint.

Continue reading

By now, we all must have a great story. Maybe it’s about a co-worker. Or more likely, something we read online — probably on this blog. Each of us knows about someone who, in a single careless tweet, status update, or selfie . . . lost their job.

A little over a year ago, I wrote here about Justine Sacco, a former PR Executive from IAC, which owns such online publications as The Daily Beast, Match.com, About.com, and several others. Just before boarding a flight to South Africa, Ms. Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.” During her flight, Ms. Sacco’s insensitive tweet was retweeted over 3,000 times and picked up by several media outlets around the world. It even spawned the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet, which trended on Twitter during her flight. She had only 170 followers on Twitter.

As you can imagine, that tweet earned Ms. Sacco a pink slip. But, to this day, that single tweet and all of the notoriety that followed still haunts her. Continue reading