The Importance Of Implementing An Employee Social Media Policy And Providing Training

As we previously have discussed, implementing an employee social media policy and providing employees training about the subject may help employers potentially avoid embarrassing public relations situations. A recent case, Howard v. The Hertz Corporation, highlights such a situation.

providing employees training about the subject may help employers potentially avoid embarrassing public relations situationsThe case arose when an employee posted on his Facebook page offensive comments about a customer, including “I seen [the customer’s] bougie a** walking kahului beach road . . . n***a please!” and that the customer was “a broke a** faka who act like he get planny money.” The latter comment prompted a Facebook post about the customer from one of the employee’s co-workers that the employee should “run that faka over!!! lol.” The employee replied to that comment with “i was tempted too, but nah, i had a white car, neva like u guys scrub da blood off.” This exchanged led to other co-workers posting offensive comments about the customer. When one of the customer’s friends, who also happened to be a Facebook friend of the employee, saw the offensive posts, she told the customer. The customer immediately raised the issue with the employee’s supervisor. The employee and all of the co-workers associated with the offensive posts either had their employment terminated or resigned.

The customer subsequently sued Hertz for negligent supervision, retention, and training. The court eventually granted summary judgment for Hertz, largely on the grounds that supervisor had no knowledge of the employee’s previous Facebook posts about customers because they were not Facebook friends. Although the supervisor was aware the employee had posted on Facebook three years earlier about the supervisor almost walking into a tree, the court found that this reasonably would not have alerted her to the possibility the employee later would make racist, homophobic, threatening or defamatory posts about a customer.

While the employer ultimately prevailed in the lawsuit, it may have avoided the lawsuit altogether if it had implemented a social media policy and trained its employees regularly regarding acceptable use of social media.

 

Personal Gripes v. Protected Concerted Activity: Where To Draw The Line Regarding An Employee’s Job-Related Complaint On Social Media?

By now, many people have heard about the Yelp/Eat24 employee who published a rant last month on social media platform Medium addressed to Company CEO Jeremy Stoppelman relating to how her entry-level compensation prevented her from affording food and otherwise living comfortably in the Bay Area. Shortly after the post was published, the employee tweeted

Is Inconsistent Application Of Social Media Policy Evidence Of Discrimination?

A District Court in Louisiana concluded recently that a television station’s inconsistent application of its social media policy entitled a terminated employee to defeat summary judgment regarding his discrimination claim. The television station in question, KTBS, had implemented a social media policy that included a prohibition on employees responding to viewer complaints. The station also

Model Social Media Privacy Legislation To Be Proposed in 2016

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC), a non-profit unincorporated association comprised of state commissions on uniform laws from each state, recently announced that it intends to vote on model social media privacy legislation in 2016. The proposed legislation would seek to bring uniformity and consistency to social media privacy legislation across the states, particularly in those

Maine Is Latest State To Restrict Employer Access To Personal Social Media Accounts

Recently, Maine became the latest state to enact legislation restricting an employer’s access to employees’ and job applicants’ personal social media accounts. The new statute prohibits an employer from requiring, coercing or requesting an employee or applicant: to disclose the password or any other means for accessing a personal social media account; to provide access

Second Circuit Affirms NLRB Decision Employers Won’t Like

Back in August 2014, we discussed an NLRB decision, which concluded that employees’ use of Facebook’s “like” button can constitute protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act and that the employer’s termination of the employees was an unfair labor practice under the Act. The Second Circuit recently affirmed the NLRB’s decision.

New Technology Heightens Risk For Employers Using Social Media For Hiring

As this article highlights, new technologies can heighten the already very real risks employers potentially face when using social media as part of the hiring process. The new app described in the article permits an employee, such as a hiring manager, to view an estimate of a job applicant’s age when reviewing the applicant’s LinkedIn

Whose Property Is The Corporate Social Media Account?

As we have discussed in previous posts, the issues surrounding ownership rights to an employer’s social media account and its contents continues to be a moving target without definitive answers.  A federal bankruptcy court recently weighed in on this subject, ruling that a debtor company’s social media accounts were property of the estate under the

Montana Is 20th State To Restrict Employer Access To Personal Social Media Accounts

Recently, Montana became the 20th state to enact legislation restricting an employer’s access to employees’ and job applicants’ personal social media accounts. The new statute prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant: to disclose to the employer user names and passwords for their personal social media accounts for the purpose of