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NLRB Weighs in on Social Media Activity in the Workplace

American Staffing Association (03/12/12) Anne Duffy

In recent months, there has been a flurry of opinions issued by the National Labor Relations Board that address employees’ right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment through social media outlets.

The National Labor Relations Act applies to virtually all employees, regardless of whether they are represented by a union, and protects their right to seek mutual aid and support regarding the terms and conditions of their employment. Lafe Solomon, acting general counsel of the NLRB, has sued employers under the NLRA, alleging that their social media policies were overbroad and unlawfully restricted employees’ protected activities—such as using online tools to complain about or discuss their disciplinary actions or pay with other employees.

NLRB, in turn, has ruled that employer social media policies cannot be so sweeping as to prohibit or restrict social media activity protected under the NLRA.

In light of the recent NLRB ruling, the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP has provided an updated sample social media policy for ASA members. This policy is not intended as legal advice, and staffing firms should review and, as warranted, modify the policy upon the advice of their legal counsel to ensure compliance with the law.