“Social media is something of a double-edged sword. At its best, social media offers unprecedented opportunities for marginalized people to speak and bring much-needed attention to the issues they face. At its worst, social media also offers ‘everyone’ an unprecedented opportunity to share in collective outrage without reflection.”
— Roxane Gay
The National Football League, ESPN, and Silicon Valley tech giants are all having to deal with employees exercising their right to “free speech” through social media. Regardless of your views on what is or is not appropriate on a Facebook or Twitter feed, if you are a manager, business owner, or work in Human Resources, employees’ “free speech” is something you cannot ignore, especially when it comes to social media. Most employee manuals or corporate policies are either not enforceable or illegal under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The NLRA, passed back in 1935, deals with how union and non-union employees work to change their “working conditions.” Since 2012, the federal government has been applying this 80-year-old act to social media and blog posts by employees. Many companies, large and small, have been fined because they have not properly addressed laws in their social media restrictions.
If you’re curious whether your current social media policy is enforceable or whether you even need a policy, BenefitCorp (https://benefitcorp.com/hr-solutions/) has full-service and supplemental HR compliance teams that protect companies from making costly legal mistakes.