Social Media Policies and Discipline on the Rise

by Ryan Orr on May 12, 2014

in Compliance,Policies

Social Media Wordle from

I recently read some social media survey results published by the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. The firm surveyed over a hundred large companies to see what issues they were having with social media in the workplace. Not surprisingly, the survey noted that – in just three years since the previous survey – the prevalence of social media use by businesses and misuse by employees has grown dramatically.

Here are some specific stats that caught my eye:

  • 80% of the survey participants are prohibiting the misuse of confidential information on social media; and
  • 64% of the participants are prohibiting disparaging remarks about the business or employees.

These statistics jumped out at me because I commonly see employers overstep their bounds when trying to regulate these areas. Often employers broadly define “confidential information” or “disparaging remarks about the business.” And while you are certainly able to regulate many types of confidential information or disparaging remarks, you have to be careful to not run afoul of the NLRA, which grants employees a right to engage in concerted activity for the mutual aid or protection of the group.

Essentially, employees have a right to join together and gripe about things like wages, benefits, working conditions, or other terms and conditions of employment. Often employers consider these topics confidential or the negative comments disparaging. If you enforce a social media policy against these protected activities, you could find yourself in hot water.

So what’s the bottom line? Take care when crafting your own social media policies, and if you are unsure of what type of conduct you can prohibit, call Cascade!

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