In these days of social media overload, when anyone can post, or tweet, in the heat of the moment from their phone, what can employees say about their employers, coworkers or customers? How about their political views? Is anything off-limits or can we post whatever we want?
The answer is changing. Back in 2015, we published guidelines from the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) in our post on what was acceptable to include in your work rules at that time. Since then, a lot has changed. With the addition of more Republicans on the NLRB, those rules have been relaxed. Here are some things that employers can comfortably require in their social media policies:
- A ban on postings that are harassing or racist in nature regardless of the intended target.
- Requiring civility when employees speak about their co-workers, supervisor, or the employer if the policy doesn’t interfere with their right to engage in concerted activity.
- Prohibiting violent and disruptive language and behavior.
- Rules that protect confidential information maintained by the employer or customers.
- Protection of company logos, trademarks, and other intellectual property.
If you haven’t done it lately, now is a great time to remind your employees that what they post online will stay there indefinitely. Postings reflect on both the employee and the employer and your freedom of speech only applies to the point where it violates legitimate work rules your employer has established.
What does this all mean? Bring on the pictures of your kids and post your favorite recipes. Want to complain about your co-workers? That’s what water cooler conversations are for. Keep it there.
Have questions about your handbook or social media rules? Let us know, we’d love to help!