Social media continues to gain attention in the employment law field.  From recent NLRB advice memoranda to Congress considering new legislation, to every employer now being advised to at least have a “policy” on social media, the news keeps pouring in. (Read this article by Eric Yaverbaum on The Washington Post blog, or this one on Mashable, or the many other articles online.)

Now, Maryland has become the first state to ban employers from asking for the social media site passwords of employees and applicants.  Relying on privacy concerns, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation prohibiting employers from requesting or requiring usernames or passwords to personal online social media sites.  The legislation also bans an employer from taking disciplinary action, or threatening such action, if an employee or applicant refuses to disclose such information.
Continue Reading Demanding Social Media Site Passwords Now Illegal in Maryland

Social media sitesThe NLRB’s Division of Advice recently issued memoranda in several different cases, showing that not all activity by employees on social media sites constitute protected activity.  These reports show that the Labor Board, like many employers, struggle with what is “protected concerted activity” – and thus protected from any employer discipline – and what are mere individual gripes – and most likely not protected.

The NLRB’s attempt to provide guidance in these memoranda does show the Labor Board’s adoption of a more realistic view of what is protected activity on social media than some had feared (and more realistic than some critics had charged).  In short, “protected concerted activity” even on social media must show more than an individual employee’s private complaint or gripe about her/his employer. The employee must be expressing group complaints (acting “with or on the authority of” other employees) and generally must be interacting with employees in such expression. posted a good article illustrating the differences. In one instance, the NLRB even examined whether a particular employee’s Facebook wall included ‘friends’ who were co-workers.
Continue Reading Labor Board Report Shows Its Struggles with the Realities of Social Media