Thursday, August 18, 2011

NLRB releases report on social media cases

Are you curious about how the NLRB has been handling cases that involve allegations of employees disciplined or terminated for social media activities, or allegations of overly broad social media policies that could infringe on employees rights to engage in protected concerted activities? The NLRB hears your prayers.

I just received the following email from the NLRB:

Acting General Counsel releases report on social media cases

The National Labor Relations Board’s Acting General Counsel today released a report detailing the outcome of investigations into 14 cases [pdf] involving the use of social media and employers’ social and general media policies. In releasing the document, Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon said, “I hope that this report will be of assistance to practitioners and human resource professionals.”

Each case was submitted by regional offices to the NLRB’s Division of Advice in Washington, DC. In four cases involving employees’ use of Facebook, the Division found that the employees were engaged in "protected concerted activity" because they were discussing terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees. In five other cases involving Facebook or Twitter posts, the Division found that the activity was not protected…. 

In five cases, some provisions of employers’ social media policies were found to be unlawfully overly-broad. A final case involved an employer’s lawful policy restricting its employees’ contact with the media.

Regardless of what you think about the NLRB’s policy positions, it is refreshing to see the agency taking such a proactive approach to informing the public on an ever-evolving, important, and confounding issue. Kudos to the NLRB (words I may never again write).

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or