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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media and employees

Do You Allow Surfing At Work?

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SurfboardWhy would you worry about your employees surfing the Net?

Salary.com survey said that 64% of workers admitted visiting websites not related to work, every day while at work.  24% of those employees said they spent 5 or more hours a week on such websites.  (Note that Salary.com, ironically, has a section for job searches.)

Since another survey suggests that 40% of Internet use in the workplace is not business related, I’d guess that (surprise!) people are understating how much they use your computers for non-work purposes.

Let’s just skip over how much your company’s bandwidth may be used for watching porn.

In 2012 the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  held that using an employer’s computer for inappropriate  purposes is not a Federal crime, though one statute called that into question.  You the owner may have to prove that your employee was harming your company before you can discipline/fire/jail him or her.  Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal law blog.

IT service provider IT Radix recommends that you implement Internet monitoring software to go with your anti-virus, encryption, and other defenses. It’s not insulting any more than a railing on stairs is insulting.  Tell your employees what the rules are, have a written policy, and the software will remind people when they trip.

(Thanks to our client Surfernetwork for the picture of the surfboard hanging from the ceiling of their office.  Surfernetwork provides live streaming of radio stations, virtual radio station support, and streaming of corporate meetings and messages. )

Social media policies and the NLRB…

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The Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board recently issued guidance on Social Media Policies in relation to the National Labor Relations Act.  You will find the link to the actual document by clicking here to go to the NLRB site and going to document OM 12-59.

Sadly, the guidance appears to be that employers can not restrict employees’ behavior on social media or in disclosing confidential information. 

Presumably you can carve out a safe policy by making it clear that your restrictions don’t apply to issues subject to the National Labor Relations Act.   You should see your labor legal counsel if you have one, making sure your employee handbook and any other documents are in compliance.  But employers are on the spot with this since the NLRB (especially recently) takes the path of the negative Socratic dialectic in issuing guidance.  That is, you advance an idea and I tell you what’s wrong with it, but I never tell you what would be right.  (Many philosophers have argued that there were some good reasons to kill Socrates.)  

We’re not going to give you labor law advice.  There’s an excellent legal summary of this mess, available through the link at the bottom of this article.  But you should also take a look at your employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) and talk with your insurance advisor about what’s covered.  Or call us at 1-800-548-2329.

Here is the link to an alert from Bressler, Amery, & Ross. Excellent write-up of the problem.  Bressler Social Media and NLRB