As we have detailed in this blog and elsewhere, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) made social media cases a priority in 2011. As demonstrated in a recent memorandum released by the Board’s Acting General Counsel, this trend is set to continue in 2012. Memorandum OM 12-31 summarizes 14 recent social media complaints received by the Board, and details the General Counsel’s conclusions on each case. While the report reiterates many of the Board’s previous pronouncements regarding social media, it also raises new questions about employer regulation of employee social media use, as well as permissible social media policy language. A New Standard to Evaluate Employee Social Media Comments? Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) gives employees the right, among other things, “to engage in . . . concerted activities for the purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection” (emphasis… Continue Reading
More and more companies are starting to develop a presence through social media. Becoming an active participant in social media is another way to network and develop existing relationships as well as reach out to new audiences. However, taking that first step to develop your presence through social media is not enough. Companies should clearly define what is acceptable behavior and the expectations of its own employees when it comes to social media. Take a proactive approach and make it a priority to develop a social media policy in the workplace. Drafting a social media policy may sound simple and straightforward, but there are pitfalls that need to be avoided. Revamping an old or existing policy to incorporate social media might not be sufficient. While social media can be treated much the same as traditional concepts associated with “the workplace,” there are special considerations that need to be taken into… Continue Reading
The IRS recently released the 2012 version of Publication 15-B (Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits). Publication 15-B contains information for employers regarding the tax treatment of various fringe benefits that may be provided to employees. The 2012 version is similar to the 2011 version, but includes updated benefit limits for 2012 (including mileage reimbursements and qualified parking and commuter expenses) and a new discussion of the tax rules applicable to employer-provided cell phones. A copy of the new Publication 15-B is available here.
When confronted with the uncertainty surrounding employee use of social media, employers may wonder if the best move is to prohibit employees from discussing their jobs on social media sites altogether. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple solution is likely to create more problems than it solves.
Social media comes in numerous forms and through various applications—blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn—to name a few. The statistics regarding the number of users of social media applications paint a very clear picture that social media is a force to be reckoned with: Facebook currently reports that it has 800 million users, Twitter reportedly has 300 million users as of 2011 and LinkedIn reports more than 120 millions users. What was once considered a “fad” by some, is now clearly a thing of the present and future. Social media is creating a hotbed of issues for employers now that the wave has arrived in the workplace. With the number of users of social media already surpassing the 1 billion mark and growing rapidly, ignoring social media is not a viable option for employers. Social media presents numerous legal risks before, during, and after employment. Should an employer pre-screen applicants through… Continue Reading