[Excerpt] The expanding use of both personal and professional social media sites has resulted in its growing impact in the workplace. Recently, many examples have emerged where an individual’s use of social media for communicating frustrations or sharing personal information resulted in significant conflict between the individual and their employer. Employment actions arising from an employee’s social media use have become so contentious that a number of employers have been charged with unfair labor practices for overly broad social media policies or implementation of unfair policies. Following several important Board decisions the NLRB issued guidelines, identifying acceptable employer-initiated social media policies. As social media’s popularity will likely only continue to grow, it is important to understand how employer policies impact employees’ social media use and the potential invasion these policies may have on employees’ rights.
This article concludes that the NLRB’s issued guidance fails to adequately address social media concerns raised by employers and dilutes employees’ rights to communicate workplace concerns. This is because even though the guidance permits employer developed social media policies, the NLRB’s stance permits employers to monitor and analyze employees’ social media use and does not clarify when an employer can act on social media information.