In my latest post for Maximize Social Business, I summarize and analyze the impact of the public meeting and the issues that the EEOC highlighted. Ultimately, it is refreshing to know that most of the issues brought before the EEOC are ones that I have written about (and counseled my clients on) over the past several years. The EEOC’s interest in these issues, however, should serve as a reminder to employers that social media in the workplace will only raise more issues and pose more risks unless employers are proactive and avoid waiting for the EEOC to come knocking on the door.
This past week mainstream press (not just employment law blogs) has been reporting on a single Facebook post by a Boston College student. Why? One of her posts resulted in a loss of $80,000.00 to her father. As it turns out, her post demonstrated that her father had violated a confidentiality provision in a Settlement Agreement he had entered into with his former employer after he brought claims of employment discrimination and retaliation.
This same week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy challenging the company’s standard severance agreement. The EEOC was particularly concerned with provisions it thinks trample on employee rights to discuss workplace issues, including the confidentiality provision.
In my most recent article titled “Can ‘Social Media’ and ‘Confidentiality’ Co-Exist In The Workplace” for Maximize Social Business, I analyze whether “social media” and “confidentiality” can really co-exist in a workplace, and how one Court ruled in favor of the confidentiality provision, while the EEOC challenges another. After you read the post, let me know what you think – did the Court get it right when it ruled against the Facebook poster and her family? Are the EEOC’s concerns valid, and if so, will employers be even more reluctant than ever to enter into severance/settlement agreements that will not contain confidentiality provisions?
Employees have a right to complain in Facebook discussions, but an employer may avoid liability if the employee is terminated.
Employees have the freedom to discuss and even complain about workplace issues and gripes. In non-union and unionized workplaces, employees are permitted to engage in protected concerted activity for the benefit of each other. Before social media, employees would typically discuss these issues together, in-person. Now, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have taken the place of the water cooler and break room.
Recently, however an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board determined that one of these employee discussions crossed the line and was not protected activity. This ruling is good for employers. It also reiterates why employees should think twice about being Facebook friends with co-workers, and how unprofessional use of social media can doom employment relationships and lawsuits.
For a more complete analysis of this case, read my latest post titled “Employee Was Properly Facebook Fired” published as my monthly Social Media and Employment Law contribution to Maximize Social Business.
Do you have any employer liability If your employee texts while driving?
Did you know you could be held liable for sending a text that results in a car crash? Typically, victims of car accidents blame the other driver who may have been driving while texting. One Court recently held, however, that even a remote texter could be held liable if the recipient of the text causes an accident.
In my most recent article titled “Beware a New Way Employers and Employees Could Be Liable for Texting on the Job” for Maximize Social Business I analyze that decision and how it may apply to employers and employees who text and/or receive texts on the job.
My article has unexpectedly generated quite a bit of interest. It was chosen as a Top Blog post by CommPRO.biz, and I have received requests for interviews by a CBS radio affiliate. There certainly will be more developments in this area of the law as Courts try to catch up with technology.
My article titled “Social Media in the Workplace: Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior” was chosen as one of the top Blog Posts by, and highlighted in, the February 8, 2013 Daily Headlines and Features by CommPRO.biz
My article focused on a federal court case (decided in late January 2013) finding that President Obama’s 2012 “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violated the U.S. Constitution. One consequence of this court case is that now all of the NLRB’s decisions from 2012 are called into question since they were decided by an improperly seated NLRB. I analyze what this court decision means to employers and employees. I also analyze some of the repercussions the Mantei Te’o hoax and lying on resumes/LinkedIn can have in the workplace.
You can read more of my posts regarding Social Media in the Workplace at Windmill Networking.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia