It’s hard to overstate the impact that social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, among others) have had on our personal lives in just the past few years. But what about our professional lives? More and more of us utilize social media for professional development and networking as well, and the corporate world is no exception. From an employment perspective, this can raise certain thorny issues ranging from intellectual property to free speech. For example, who owns an employee’s contact list on LinkedIn? When do online complaints about the workplace become “concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act?
While the court system has begun to wrestle with these issues retrospectively, as an employer it is advisable to “get out in front” by anticipating these issues and dealing with them prospectively in a social media policy. Social media policy is now becoming an important component of an employer’s general employment policies.
Recently we met with a small group of entrepreneurs and discussed with them the various legal issues that surround the use of social media in the workplace and some ideas to think about when constructing your social media policy. We hope this excerpt from our presentation helps you as you integrate social media into your business.
Stuart D. Lurie and Michael H. Rosenthal