Q&A: Social Media Policies

sharon-rudnick-smby Sharon Rudnick

Q: Can I institute a policy addressing what employees can say about my business on Facebook?

A: Yes. However, the policy must be specific enough to avoid interfering with employees’ rights under the NLRA to engage in “concerted activity.” These rights include discussions about wages, terms and conditions of employment, or criticisms of employer policies or workplace treatment. General prohibitions against “inappropriate” or “disparaging” comments on social media sites can be unlawful because they imply that an employee can’t discuss wages, working conditions, or supervisors. Rather, the policy should include specific examples of the types of comments it is intended to prohibit—such as attacks on someone’s race, gender, or other protected characteristics—to avoid the chance that an employee or a court will interpret the policy as restricting “protected concerted activity”.

 

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal.