When people post to social media like Facebook or Twitter, they usually feel that they are talking to a few friends, but in fact they may be opening themselves and their employer up to potential liability. Companies may be tempted to ignore social media, but there are times when they must respond to even off-duty communication.
If employees are using to social media to harass a colleague and the employer does nothing, then the harassed employee can claim that the company tolerated a hostile work environment. Posts and tweets should be treated the same way that any off-duty harassment would be.
More directly, employees can cause problems for companies by posting items that generate charges of defamation or breach on contract, or by spreading confidential information. Social-media policies can address these issues, as long as they make it clear that NRLA-protected discussion isn’t included, by addressing off-duty posts about work-related topics, limiting the use of copyrighted material, and prohibiting links from personal sites to the company site.
For any company that has lots of employees posting to social media, this is a good time to have an experienced employment-law attorney!
Thanks to Jason Ritchie for a great presentation.