Social Networking Issues in the Workplace

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1 Social Networking Issues in the Workplace Presented By: David Flotten, JD, SPHR HR Consultant/Benefits Technical Advisor

2 Disclaimers Technology is moving faster than the legal system can keep pace. Accordingly, attendees are encouraged to work with their legal and tax professionals when evaluating the potential risks posed by technology in the workplace, as well as when evaluating their internal policies and procedures for addressing these risks.

3 Social Networking in Workplace

4 Social Networking Historically, social networking was grouping of individuals into specific groups, similar to rural communities, subdivisions or associations Today, rise in popularity due to online capabilities via the internet Online communities come together through shared interests such as alumni, professional and/or interests groups (e.g.. hobbies, sports, or causes ) Individuals create profiles (typically at no charge) Then connect or link with others whom share common interests (via online invitations or friend requests)

5 Myspace.com: 125m registered users

6 Facebook: 750m active users and more than 200m users access FB through their mobile devices. 700b minutes per month on FB. Average person has 130 friends.

7 LinkedIn: 100m members (up 30m over prior year)

8 Twitter: 200m users, with 65m tweets daily. Form of micro blogging.

9 Social Networking Websites Exceeds 2 billion views each day nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major networks combined 24 hours of video uploaded every minute Average person spends 15 minutes viewing each day More video is uploaded in 60 days than all three major U.S. networks created in 60 years Equivalent of 46.2 years of video watched a day via FB

10 Social Networking Risks Social Networking Websites (SNW) pose risks for unprepared employers Lines between personal and professional lives are blurred Employee s use on company time can cause lost productivity (UK study showed loss $130m or 233m lost working hours each month) 43% of employees access SNW at work 50% of employees are searching for a new job while at work Only 26% of employers surveyed recently block SNW at work» Social Networking and Reputational Risk in the Workplace: Deloitte LLP 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey Results

11 Social Networking Risks Employee s use on/off company time can cause harm to company s reputation/brand 74% of employees surveyed believed it is easy to damage a company s brand or reputation via sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 15% of employees would comment via SNW if employer did something they didn t agree with 37% of employees don t consider what their boss or colleagues would think when posting 34% don t consider impact on their clients before posting» Social Networking and Reputational Risk in the Workplace: Deloitte LLP 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey Results

12 Social Networking Risks Employee s use on/off company time can cause potential liability to employer Harassment of co-workers, clients and/or vendors Defamation of colleagues or third-parties Basis for discrimination claims Breach of confidentiality or other proprietary information Negligent references Violations of non-compete, non-disclosure and non-solicitation agreements Potential risks where students (minors) and teachers are connected on SNW

13 Social Networking Risks Employer s use of SNW can also cause potential exposure when used for hiring or other employment decisions Sites reveal protected class status and not always true persona Sites can reveal unauthorized or inflated references from former colleagues Harm to employee morale 66% employers believe they have right to know how employees portray themselves.... While 53% employees believe their SNW are none of employer s business

14 Reducing SNW Risks Best practices for social networking for workplace Consider blocking access during company time but evaluate your corporate culture first Limit use during company time to only employees with business need (marketing, sales) Ensure any testimonials or endorsements include disclaimers per new FTC endorsement rules Train all employees who use SNW for work purposes regarding proper and improper uses Review confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicitation policies and agreements Monitor compliance

15 Reducing SNW Risks Post detailed policy regarding use on and off work No expectation of privacy Control what can and cannot be posted about employer (comments, photos, references, videos, company information). Include consequences for violating policies Evaluate and reinforce other workplace policies (unlawful harassment, code of conduct, EEO and workplace monitoring). Consider union avoidance and/or employer of choice type policies and practices. Evaluate boundaries between managers and direct reports being connected on SNW.

16 Reducing SNW Risks Implement training based on your industry and risk tolerance Training and coaching around proper filters Training managers and supervisors regarding proper boundaries with direct reports on SNW Education for managing cyber profile Utilize EAP and other national resources on SNW American Pediatric Association

17 Reducing SNW Risks Legal Minefields Federal and state privacy laws State off duty statutes (Minnesota and Wisconsin) National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) heighten scrutiny Concerted Activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Whistleblower statutes

18 Reducing SNW Risks Legal Minefields Heightened NLRB Scrutiny https://www.nlrb.gov/news/acting-general-counsel-releasesreport-social-media-cases Exercise caution when taking adverse action against employees for postings on SNW or blogs where post concerns terms and conditions of employment Review current SNW policies to ensure they are not overly broad Managing expectations with employees Create open door policy to reduce employee s need to post on SNW

19 Questions

20 Thank You!

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