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 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 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 . . . 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 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 BROWNWINICK OFFICE LOCATIONS: DES MOINES PELLA 666 Grand Avenue, Suite 2000 616 Franklin Place Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2510 Pella, Iowa 50219 Telephone: (515) 242-2400 Telephone: (641) 628-4513 Facsimile: (515) 283-0231 Facsimile: (641) 628-8494 DISCLAIMER: No oral or written statement made by BrownWinick attorneys should be interpreted by the recipient as suggesting a need to obtain legal counsel from BrownWinick or any other firm, nor as suggesting a need to take legal action. Do not attempt to solve individual problems upon the basis of general information provided by any BrownWinick attorney, as slight changes in fact situations may cause a material change in legal result.