The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a few important decisions that shed light on an enigmatic question: whether and how employers can restrict their employees’ use of social media. Below is a summary of the NLRB’s nine most important edicts and how they impact your business.
1. Employers may prohibit employee “rants.” Under the National Labor Relations Act, when employees converse with each other about their workplace conditions, they engage in “protected concerted activity.” However, individual employee rants (e.g., when one employee posts inappropriate comments without engaging in dialogue with other employees), are not protected under the Act. And the NLRB has expressly ruled that employees may be disciplined or terminated for engaging in such public rants. Prohibiting this behavior in a social media policy does not violate the Act as long as it does not chill protected speech.
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