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NLRB Releases Report About Social Media Cases Within Last Year

Published by on September 23, 2011

The Acting General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has released a report concerning the NLRB’s social media cases within the last year.  The report presents 14 recent cases arising in the context of today’s social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the NLRB’s conclusion regarding each case.  More after the break. […]

The Acting General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has released a report concerning the NLRB’s social media cases within the last year.  The report presents 14 recent cases arising in the context of today’s social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the NLRB’s conclusion regarding each case.  More after the break.

In the NLRB’s report, Lafe E. Solomon, the Acting General Counsel states

Recent developments in the Office of the General Counsel have presented emerging issues concerning the protected and/or concerted nature of employees’ Facebook and Twitter postings, the coercive impact of a union’s Facebook and YouTube postings, the coercive impact of employers’ social media policies and rules. This report discusses these cases, as well as a recent case involving an employer’s policy restricting employee contacts with the media. All of these cases were decided upon a request for advice from a Regional Director.

In four cases cited in the report, the NLRB concluded that employees were engaged in “protected concerted activity” because they were discussing terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees. In five other cases, the NLRB found that the employees’ posting activity was not protected concerted activity.

The NLRB also determined in one case that a union engaged in unlawful coercive conduct when it interrogated employees at a nonunion jobsite about their immigration status, recorded the interrogations, and posted an edited version of the recording on YouTube and the Union’s Facebook page.

In five cases, the NLRB concluded that the employers’ social media policies were unlawfully overly-broad. Lastly, in one case, the NLRB found that an employers’ rule restricting employee contact with the media was lawful because the policy could not reasonably be interpreted to prohibit employees from speaking on their own behalf with reporters.

Employers should review this report before taking any adverse action because of an employee’s social media posting or creating a new policy concerning social media.

The NLRB’s report is available here.

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