|Kendall Law Group Employment Lawyer Matt Scott quoted in Dallas Business Journal article|
Employment law is atwitter over social media
|July 13, 2012 11:50 pm|
Dallas Business Journal:
The exploding popularity of social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn continues to create legal pitfalls for employers as they try to navigate the fast-changing online environment, North Texas labor and employment lawyers say.
The NLRB — the federal agency that investigates allegations of company unfair labor practices — recently issued its third in a series of reports that attempt to give employers guidance on how to create legal social media polices, Welock said.
In the report, the NLRB reviewed seven cases of employer social media policies handled by the board, six of which were found to violate part of the National Labor Relations Act because the policies are overbroad. Despite the board's guidance, the issue remains far from black-and-white, Welock said.
Employers should be careful when crafting social media policies and when disciplining an employee for conduct on Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues, Welock said. The NLRB's reports caution that overly broad policies can violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects employees' rights related to the workplace, she said. The rules apply to both union and non-union employers.
Because of the NLRB's opinion, most employers should overhaul their company social media policies in a way that does not restrict employees' rights to engage in protected activities, said Matt Scott, an employment lawyer with Kendall Law Group in Dallas.
"They're going to have to look at their policies and make sure they're not overly broad," Scott said. "They're going to have to put some thought into the policies and make them reasonable."
Scott said the law gives employers latitude to look at applicants' profiles on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. "My take on it is, if I'm going to hire someone, I'm going to see them face-to-face anyhow," he said. "I'm going to see if they're black or Hispanic, male or female. Facebook is not going to tell me anything I cannot see during the interview."
© 2012 American City Business Journals.
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