Recently in Social Media and the Workplace Category

November 17, 2014

#WWHRD: You just discovered your employee's angry racist Ferguson tweet

Last night, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan came to me in a dream.

You see, we were at a video arcade, the two of them playing the classic, Street Fighter. I had next. Mr. Gorbachev was playing as Zangief and President Reagan was Guile. Because, of course.

So, just as the Premier was about to close it out, the President dropped the controls, put Mr. Gorbachev in a headlock and gave him a noogie. I'm talking right on that spot! I mean, the more he noogied, well, the spot started to change colors. From red to silver to pure gold. At which point, Mr. Gorbachev turned to me and said,

"Meyer, start a series on your blog called What Would HR Do. Perestroika!"

Alrighty then. So, it begins. WWHRD coming up after the jump...

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November 12, 2014

Can you fire an employee who posts Nazi propaganda on Facebook?

Maybe you've heard about it. I'm giving a little spiel today on social media in the workplace with a few friends at an event in Philadelphia. If I play my cards right, I'll do as little speaking as possible on the dais.

Which means I'll get my two cents in after the jump and discuss on a hockey coach who was recently fired for posting pictures of Nazi propaganda on Facebook.

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November 4, 2014

An app to stop employees like #AlexFromTarget from checking work email

Today's post is brought to you by the letters S, E, and O.

With a tip of the hat to whomever posted a link to this story on Twitter, it got me reading about this app that companies can install on employees' smartphones and tablets that would preclude them from accessing work-related email on those devices.

Why would you want to do that?

For starters, app maker touts the feature as increasing productivity, reducing stress, and creating a more stark line between work and personal time.

But, this is an employment-law blog. And, little known fact: When Ice Cube wrote Check Yo Self in 1992, he created a prescient radio remix, addressing the Fair Labor Standards Act implications of employees using smartphones for work email.

Right hand to God.

You see, the FLSA (and, by extension, parallel state laws) requires that employers pay minimum wage to all employees and overtime to non-exempt employees, like #AlexFromTarget, for all hours over 40 worked in a particular workweek. And Cube knew that when a non-exempt employee is accessing work-related email on a handheld device either on or off the clock, unless de minimis, that is still compensable time.

(Just kidding on the Ice Cube thing. Even #AlexFromTarget knows that).

Even without this app, if you won't want non-exempt employees using work email "off the clock," have a rule in your handbook. You can strictly forbid non-exempt employees from accessing work-related emails "off the clock." If employees ignore the rule, you still have to compensate those employees. However, you can discipline them too.


October 31, 2014

Employee lawfully fired after making "shoot them all" Facebook threats

Yesterday, I addressed how what an employee says on Facebook can mean losing a job offer. In that case, the National Labor Relations Board determined that insubordination on Facebook is still insubordination and, thus, grounds for termination.

Today, after the jump, we'll discuss how threats of violence on Facebook too are grounds for termination...

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October 30, 2014

Yes, what you say on Facebook can cost you a job offer

Even the National Labor Relations Board agrees.

Case in point, two people (Moore and Callaghan) who worked at a teen center during the 2011-2012 school year were sent re-hire letters for the 2012-2013 school year. After the school sent out the re-hire letters, it learned of a Shakespearean Facebook exchange between Moore and Callahan which included the following:

"I don't want to ask permission . . ."; "Let's do some cool shit, and let them figure out the money"; "field trips all the time to wherever the fuck we want!"; "play music loud"; "teach the kids how to graffiti up the walls . . ."; "we'll take advantage"; "I AINT GOBE NEVER BE THERE"; "they start loosn kids i aint helpn"; "Let's fuck it up".

I guess that was more Tolstoy.

An Administrative Law Judge originally upheld the terminations. (More on that here). On appeal, the Board's General Counsel argued that "the Facebook posts could not reasonably be understood as seriously proposing insubordinate conduct." The Board -- I picture them smiling and nodding politely -- disagreed:

Callaghan and Moore's lengthy exchange repeatedly described a wide variety of planned insubordination in specific detail....We find the pervasive advocacy of insubordination in the Facebook posts, comprised of numerous detailed descriptions of specific insubordinate acts, constituted conduct objectively so egregious as to lose the Act's protection [Editor's note: More on that here] and render Callaghan and Moore unfit for further service.

So, yes, there are limits to what employees can say on Facebook. When Facebook discussion of working conditions devolve into straight-up insubordination, employees can be disciplined.

October 27, 2014

Social media blunders cost a chef and a chief their jobs

After the jump, more proof that both entry-level employees and C-Suite executives can do dumb stuff and receive the Vince McMahon treatment...

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October 8, 2014

EEOC, NLRB & Me: Mark your calendars for November 12, you guys

You're Invited.jpg

What if...

I'm just saying, what if you could attend an event -- a free event, with breakfast -- and you get to hear me speak for an hour and fifteen about social media in the workplace and other hot workplace issues, and then grill me during a Q&A?

That would suck, right? Because, apart from the breakfast, who wants to hear me speak for an hour and fifteen minutes?

So, how about something better -- couldn't be worse, amirite?

How about a panel discussion featuring, oh, I dunno...

Well, hey now! Direct access to three of the most influential workplace decisionmakers in our government. And I'm the moderator. (Oh, alright! You get the free breakfast too).

Is your heart racing? Your pulse quickening? That's not the morning coffee you're feeling. 

Geared to human resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel, this incredible collaboration will dish at an event entitled "Social Media @Work - The #BalancingAct Between Employer and Employee." We'll cover a variety of hot topics such as: 

  • Establishing social media policies that withstand legal scrutiny
  • Exploring the impact of social media on hiring decisions
  • Determining how far is too far when it comes to sharing workplace information online

Beyond social media, each speaker will address other emerging workplace issues at their respective agencies and take your questions. And, because I love you guys, this program has been approved for 1.25 HR/General recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

You want in on this? Yeah, you do...

Social Media @Work
The #BalancingAct Between Employer and Employee

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Breakfast: 8 a.m.
Program: 8:45 a.m. - 10 a.m.
National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Limited tickets available here.
.

littletwitter.pngBoth before and during the event, follow along and tweet using #BalancingActlittletwitter.png

September 25, 2014

The Workplace Risks (and Rewards) of Social Media

Wouldn't it be great if two employment lawyers, one representing employees, another representing management, would discuss the employment-law implications of social media in the workplace on a Twitter chat? Then some other lawyers could chime in. And we'd have a moderator.

What's the word I'm looking for? Dorky? A little. But no dorkier than what the rest of you dorks discuss on Twitter.

Well, anyway, we did all this yesterday. If you missed it, keep one eye open tonight; I'm coming for you in your sleep here it is!

September 9, 2014

A restaurant posted LeSean McCoy's receipt on its Facebook page

My mind...blown!

Yesterday, the local internet feeds were flooding us with news that Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy allegedly left a 20-cent tip at a local restaurant at which he and some friends had lunch on Monday. The "smoking gun" was a copy of what is purported to be McCoy's lunch receipt from the restaurant.

I read "Eagles Player LeSean McCoy Just Left a 20-Cent Tip at PYT" on PhillyMag.com, and "LeSean McCoy tips 20 cents at PYT. The restaurant, PYT, even posted about it on its own Facebook page, complete with a copy of the supposed McCoy receipt.

I get that internet stories about a low-tipping professional athlete equal reader clicks. But how about a different angle; namely, that the person who posted a customer's receipt on social media still has his job to return to today. Or that the restaurant itself is glorifying a practice of shaming customers -- famous or not. (Remember the story of the employee who posted the Denver QB Peyton Manning's huge tip on a dinner receipt? He lost his job). Fortunately, many of the Facebook users who commented on the PYT Facebook page get that posting meal receipts, large or small, is hella-stupid...

So, what do you think, folks? Take this poll and this poll and let me know what you think in the comments...

Was PYT right to post the receipt?
 
pollcode.com free polls
What should happen to the PYT employee who posted the receipt?
 
pollcode.com free polls


UPDATE (9/9/14 4:52 pm): About an hour ago, on PYT's Facebook page, PYT's owner addressed the kerfuffle that posting the receipt created.

UPDATE (9/10/14 2:52 PM): This.

September 3, 2014

Court won't let jury see plaintiff's trial-victory prediction on Facebook

Oh, come on! What fun is that?

What did the plaintiff say and why won't the court allow the defendants to present it as evidence at trial? Find out after the jump...

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September 2, 2014

How to curse out your boss on Facebook ... and get away with it!

It's easier than you think. Indeed, a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board bears this out.

Details after the jump...

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August 12, 2014

New Hampshire becomes the latest state to pass a social media workplace law

And I'm speaking today on social media in the workplace at the 2014 EEOC Excel Conference

Everything's coming up Milhouse.

More on the former (and a little about the latter) after the jump...

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August 4, 2014

Inappropriate Facebook videos, comments doom an employee's discrimination claims

On the clock or off, when employees do dumb stuff on Facebook, it could cost them their jobs. And, apparently, their discrimination claims against their former employer too.

Yep, another employee screwed up online. Go figure.

More on that after the jump...

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July 31, 2014

Disclosing an employee's medical info on Facebook is hella-stupid

Plus, it may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act too.

How one company's alleged blunder turned into an ADA lawsuit and a blog post at TheEmployerHandbook.com...after the jump...

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July 29, 2014

Court: No First Amendment right for teacher to trash students online

Welcome to The Employer Handbook.

Extending the fifteen minutes of fame of a trash-talking blogger/teacher by a 300 word blog post.

After the jump...

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