Social Media & The Workplace: recent NLRB

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Social Media & The Workplace:
recent NLRB developments
Megan Erickson Moritz
BrownWinick
666 Grand Avenue, Suite 2000
Des Moines, IA 50309-2510
Telephone: 515-242-2455
Facsimile: 515-323-8555
E-mail:
[email protected]
Disclaimer
Please note, nothing in this presentation
constitutes legal advice. The information is
offered only for informational or educational
purposes, and it should not be relied upon as, or
substituted for, legal advice.
RECENT NLRB DEVELOPMENTS RE:
SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE WORKPLACE
“The National Labor Relations Board is an
independent federal agency vested with the
power to safeguard employees' rights to
organize and to determine whether to have
unions as their bargaining representative.
The agency also acts to prevent and
remedy unfair labor practices committed by
private sector employers and unions.”
Recent NLRB Action Re: Social Media


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Reports from NLRB’s Office of General Counsel
• “Enforcement arm” of NLRB
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Decisions
• Initial decision, subject to Board review
Board Decisions
• If party appeals ALJ decision
Court Decisions
• If Board decision appealed
• Federal courts
Recent Developments

June 24, 2013: US Supreme Court
granted cert in NLRB v. Noel Canning.
• Validity of 3 recess appointments by the
President in January of 2012

July 30, 2013: Full confirmation of all 5
nominees to the NLRB
• First time in a decade the Board has full roster
Recent NLRB Action Re: Social Media
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NLRB - Report of the General Counsel
• Aug 18, 2011
• Jan 24, 2012
• May 30, 2012
Various ALJ Decisions
NLRB Decisions
• Sep 7, 2012
• Sep 28, 2012
Recent NLRB Action Re: Social
Media
 Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act
(NLRA): “protected concerted activity”
• For the purpose of collective bargaining or
other mutual aid & protection
Recent NLRB Action Re: Social
Media
Is the Employee activity protected?
 Protected Section 7 Activity
• Examples
• Considerations

Recent NLRB Reports Re: Social
Media
 Unlawful discipline or response to
social media activity?
 Overbroad social media policy?
NLRB & Social Media Policies
 Analysis of employers’ social media
policies &workplace rules
 Usual issue: reasonably construed to
prohibit Section 7 activity?
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters

Non-Disparagement
Provisions?
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters

Prohibiting Unprofessional,
Inappropriate, or Disrespectful
Communications?
NLRB Decisions . . .


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Costco: “damage the Co., defame any individual
or damage any person’s reputation” = BAD
Knauz BMW: “No one should be disrespectful or
use profanity or any other language which injures
the image or reputation of the ER” = BAD
Costco: requiring “appropriate business
decorum” = OK
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters
 Prohibiting Communications Re: WorkRelated Concerns?
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters
 Confidentiality
Nondisclosure
Provisions?
or
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters

Prohibiting Use or Depiction of
Company Name, Logo, or Intellectual
Property?
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters
 Prohibit
from Identifying
Themselves as Employees?
 Prohibit from using
Employer name, address, or
other info on personal
profiles?
 Note: FTC Guidance
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters
 Requiring
Employee
Disclaimers?
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters
 Employer
Disclaimers?
Social Media Policies/NLRA
Parameters

Prohibit Employees from pressuring
coworkers to connect via social
media?
Social Media Policies
 Ask: Reasonably
construed to restrict
Section 7 activity?
Social Media Policies
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Careful drafting
Examples
Limiting language
Social Media Policies
 Keep
in mind other considerations
Megan Erickson Moritz
[email protected]
www.socialnetworkinglawblog.com
www.workplacewise.com
Twitter - @erickson_meg
Web: www.brownwinick.com
Toll Free Phone: 1-888-282-3515
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