Employers' Social Media Policies

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Steven Greenhouse,  New York Times labor and workplace correspondent and author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, discusses the laws around employers' social media policies -- and finds that you might be able to share more than you think.



Steven Greenhouse

Comments [16]

Richard from Levittown

Separation of public and private employment is a key to any interpretation of these social network exchanges about employer or employment conditions. The Supreme Court has been very restrictive on 1st Amendment protection for public employees (see for example, Garcetti v. Ceballos 2006). The NLRB ruling may be subject to court appeals and may be challenged as an administrative decision - perhaps by employers. There are several cases that border on this ruling and court decisions that may impact it.

Jan. 23 2013 11:10 AM
John A.

Beware kiddies, of using a companies' computers, network, or phones for personal recreation. I have encountered some real aggressive b*tards in network operations and might even expect them snooping my FB password if I dared enter it on their network.

Jan. 23 2013 11:03 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Companies and employers have had far too much sway in terms of controlling their employee's personal, individual freedoms and liberties in and around the workplace. They already hold virtually all the power in the employer-employee relationship (wages, benefits, terms of employment/dismissal, etc.). At least now, statutorily, they can't have all the power over an employee's freedom of speech.

Jan. 23 2013 11:01 AM
Elissa from Brooklyn

How can it be legal for employers to have access to one's personal facebook page if it contains information employers are not allowed to ask about-- age, sexual orientation, etc.?

Jan. 23 2013 11:01 AM
sean from NYV

I was fired last year for posting a negative comment about a database my company used in my personal Facebook account.

Jan. 23 2013 11:00 AM about UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE so folks are not held hostage in unfulfilling, bureaucratic, repressive, meaningless employment just so they can have essential access healthcare.

How many new small businesses, how much innovation if the workforce was truly FREE??

Healthcare tied to employment is IMMORAL!

Jan. 23 2013 10:58 AM
garrett from Morristown

If you have a personal facebook account. the best way to keep your employer off your wall or off your social media turn your privacy setting way up and don't friend any one at work. Work is Work, personal live is personal life. They shouldn't mix

Jan. 23 2013 10:58 AM
Bob from Pelham NY

I believe employers have for years been allowed to require job applicants to take a drug test as a condition of employment, so asking for social media passwords seems less of a privacy intrusion (much as I disagree with it).

Jan. 23 2013 10:57 AM

I commented on my feed from home, after hours, that "I got a promotion, yay", no "finally" or "about time!". The next day I was "spoken to" that someone saw it and reported me. I don't know if it was sour grapes but I was spoken to! I was told, it might make someone feel bad!

Jan. 23 2013 10:57 AM
william kornblum from New York, Long Beacnh

A Graduate student at CUNY, now a prof in England, Abigail Schoonboom, produced this web site inviting workers in English offices and other places of employment to post messages about their workplaces, ususally critical.

Thanks for covering Mr. Greenhouse's important work on employee rights in the workplace, and on this new ruling in particular.

Jan. 23 2013 10:55 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I don't think employers should be able to ask employees for passwords to personal accounts; nor do I think that employers should be able to check employees' credit rating. These things are personal. However, employees who post on social media are not keeping much private.

Jan. 23 2013 10:54 AM
Mike from Inwood

I can see limiting access to facebook at work on their computers, but no, employers should not be able demand the password to spy on your facebook page. It should be protected like the US mail.

Jan. 23 2013 10:54 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Social media come with risks that not many people consider before using them. They open one up to the world as opposed to private communications among friends.

On the other hand, an employer who feels that an employee is dissatisfied with his/her employment, workplace, hates the job, would probably rather have happy employees who do their best work.

If you hate your job but need the income, get a paper notebook and a pen and write whatever you want, but keep it private. Once it's public, it's up to an employer whether a disgruntled, unhappy employee should remain on the payroll.

Jan. 23 2013 10:50 AM
Karen from NYC

I posted on a professional web site that I was looking for a job due to anticipated changes at my company -- downsizing -- and was accused of putting confidential company information on the Internet. I was threatened with termination if I did it again, with the result that I could not let people know why I was looking for a new job.

The information was "confidential" only because the company didn't want clients to know that the office might be closing. Is such speech protected? Can't the company declare any working conditions that would not constitute actual violations of anti-discrimination laws to be "protected" info?

Definitely works; I'm even nervous about this post. Feels like the Gulag around here.

Jan. 23 2013 10:50 AM

I used to work at a company whose contract stated we were not allowed to gossip or complain, that we could not mock or disparage the company or owner in any way, whether writing, drawing or verbal, for all time.

Jan. 23 2013 10:48 AM
Sharon from LES

1. Does this give the employer the right to talk about the employee on Twitter? They're workers too.

2. I understand this not be a fire-able offense, but what about it having a negative effect on the employee's character? I feel like I wouldn't hire someone who went off on rants.

Jan. 23 2013 10:47 AM

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