In a global bestseller named ‘Secret’, Rhonda Byrne discussed how the law of attraction makes it possible for a person’s thoughts and feelings to influence the events in their life. Something similar happened to Amy when, in a despondent mood, she wished she got fired – as she would much rather stay at home and have it easier. She got fired the very next day! That was because Amy made the wish – not in secret – but on a statement she posted on her Facebook account. People have also lost jobs over their posts which displayed racial prejudices, caustic sarcasm, dark humor and for slamming their workplaces and/or bosses. Which is one reason why, we find cautions posted everywhere, ad nauseam, on how not to let social media ruin one’s career.
Legally, employees are not prohibited from voicing complaints about their working conditions, even on social media –depending on the content of the post. . If an employee is overworked, cheated out of a bonus or something similar –the employee could air the matter on social media to attract the attention of other employees – who join the conversation. The employee may not be forbidden from doing so; even if the other employees are former co-workers, the post may be protected from adverse action from the employer.
When formulating social media policies, companies must be familiar with the guidance provided by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
A recent review by the NLRB of cases where employees were discharged for comments posted online uncovered these illegal components. The takeaways? Be specific:
So how does an employer establish a social media policy that can be legally enforced?
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