Social Media in the Workplace

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1 Social Media in the Workplace Employer Best Practices Presented by: Michelle Perris, HR Consultant Robin Niel, Senior HR Consultant

2 Social Media in the Workplace Today s objectives are: History of social media Workplace bullying and harassment National Labor Relations Act and social media in the workplace Department of Labor s tips on social media in the workplace Employee handbook policy best practice 2

3 * MO Dept. Health & Human Services

4 History of Social Media

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9 TimeLine of Popular Social Networks

10 Social Networking Sites Of the Social Networking Sites mentioned: How many of those sites do you NOT recognize? Are your employees members of any of those sites? Do you know exactly what they have posted out there? Do you know who has access to their page?

11 Think about it Use of social media has exploded in the past decade. Users are just beginning to recognize its potential and its consequences. There are well over 650 social networking sites, but the following are the most frequently used according to ebizmba: Facebook 750,000,000 monthly users Twitter 250,000,000 monthly users Linkedin 110,000,000 monthly users Pinterest 85,500,000 monthly users Myspace 70,500,000 monthly users Google Plus 65,000,000 monthly users Instagram 50,000,000 monthly users

12 Social Media and Hiring During the hiring process can employers: Require access to applicant s social media account? Research the applicant on social media websites? Make a hiring decisions based on what is posted on social media websites? 12

13 Brave New World Managing Life in a 24/7 Digital Universe Cell Phones Texting Internet Tweeting Web Cams Blogging Instagram

14 Workplace Harassment

15 Workplace Harassment Court Case Espinoza v. County of Orange Employees used an independent blog to launch a cyber attack against Espinoza. Numerous incidents of harassment occurred at the workplace as well. Management did not effectively remediate the harassment, Espinoza sued the county for harassment. Once an employer becomes aware of off-duty harassment, it may have a duty to act to stop it if it can be tied to the workplace. Jury awarded over $80,000

16 NLRA and Social Media

17 NLRB Opinions Employees on Social Media Employees right to band together with coworkers to improve their lives at work Can be a considered a form of protected concerted activity

18 Concerted Activity Rights of Employees Right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing Additional information on the NLRB may be found on the following websites:

19 Concerted Activity Rights of Employees Examples of protected concerted activities: Two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their pay Two or more employees discussing work-related issues beyond pay, such as safety concerns, with each other An employee speaking to an employer on behalf of one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions

20 NLRB Prohibitions on Employer Social Media Polices Per the NLRB General Counsel, employer policies SHOULD NOT contain the following prohibitions: Making disparaging comments Discriminatory, defamatory, or harassing web entries Disclosing or communicating confidential, sensitive, or non-public information Using company name or service marks

21 NLRB Prohibitions on Employer Social Media Polices Per the NLRB General Counsel, employer policies SHOULD NOT contain the following prohibitions: Requiring employees to state that their comments are personal opinions Requiring employees to discuss work-related concerns with their supervisor or manager or face corrective action, up to and including termination Discussing with the media the employee s personal blogs/posts related to the company Prohibiting terms such as: Insubordination or other disrespectful conduct Inappropriate conversation Unprofessional communication

22 NLRB Suggestions on Employer Social Media Polices Per the NLRB General Counsel, employer policies SHOULD contain the following statements: Prohibit vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating, harassing, or hostile comments Prohibit employees from using or disclosing confidential and/or proprietary information, including personal health information about customers or patients and embargoed information. Include a section that addresses company products that focuses on product promotions and endorsements Request that employees confine their social networking to matters unrelated to the company Include a disclaimer that the policy will not be interpreted or applied in a manner that interferes with employee rights and concerted activity

23 NLRB Suggestions on Employer Social Media Polices For more information from the NLRB s General Counsel on employer social media policies, please refer to the following website:

24 NLRB Opinion Recent Facebook Firing Tasker Healthcare Group d/b/a Skinsmart Dermatology Employees started a private group message One employee started to talk about their supervisor The employee was fired the next day

25 NLRB Opinion Recent Facebook Firing Tasker Healthcare Group cont d Acknowledged that the NLRA is to protect employees rights Employee was expressing an individual gripe Comments were not related to the conditions of employment.

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27 DOL Social Media Tips for Employers Engage your employees Develop a social media policy Conduct training Authorize certain employees to use social media on behalf of company Most importantly, learn more about social media!

28 Social Media Workplace Policy

29 Social Media Policy Suggestions I. General provisions: Not permitted to blog or use other forms of social media or internet during working hours (unless authorized) II. Employer monitoring: Employees should have no expectation of privacy while using the internet, company equipment or facilities III. Reporting violations: Urge employees to report any violations or possible violations to management IV. Discipline for violations: Inform employees that the company investigates all reports of policy violations

30 Social Media Policy Suggestions V. Authorized blogging: Only employees who are authorized to blog on behalf of the company can communicate product promotions and services VI. Personal blogs: The company respects the right of employees to use blogs for selfexpression, public communication, personal interests and affiliations Employees cannot use blogs to harass, threaten, or discriminate against employees or anyone associated with the company Employees cannot post pictures of other employees, clients, vendors, suppliers, or company events Employees cannot blog about company advertisements or company products, nor sell company products or services

31 Meet your best employee: NAME: Sheri Walker EVENT: PLACE: 30 th Birthday Party Helen Fitzgerald s

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37 How would you handle this situation?

38 Q& A Michelle Perris and Robin Niel Phone Number: (314) Address: The recommendations and opinions provided herein are based on general Human Resources management fundamentals, practices and principles and are not legal opinions or guaranteed outcomes. We strongly recommend as part of a team approach to management, that clients consult with legal counsel of their choice to address legal concerns related to human resource issues.

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