Last week, Michigan joined the growing number of states to enforce a social media privacy law. Like similar legislation in California and Maryland, it will now be a lot harder for employers and educators to gain access to employees’ or students’ social media accounts. Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation, which prohibits educators or employers from asking for usernames or passwords, into law on Friday. Sarah Wolfe’s article “Michigan Social Media Privacy Law Signed By Governor” has more details.
The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Dish Network to change its social media policy to allow employees to make disparaging or defamatory comments about their employer should they choose to. The Administrative court was particularly interested in criticizing a social media policy that could lead to union or collective activity being restrained. Eriq Gardner looks at the dispute in “Dish Network Ordered to Change Social Media Policy” in The Hollywood Reporter. Administrative Law Judge Robert Ringler’s decision can be found here.
The second annual global study on how businesses are incorporating social media has been published by Proskauer. The study provides a look at differing standards globally as well as offering some recommendations on best practices. “Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 2.0” is well worth the read, especially if you are still grappling with the issue at your own place of work. “Proskauer Study Recommends Corporate Best Practices for Navigating Challenges of Social Media in the Workplace” provides a summary and link to the study.
Given the new laws passed recently in numerous states such as New York, New Jersey, California, South Carolina, Washington, Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, and Massachusetts, it is more important than ever to have a clear social media policy in place in your organization. The policy must, of course, be compliant with the law and serve the best interests of company and employees alike. Elizabeth M Ebanks provides some excellent advice in her article “Have No Fear: 5 Steps to Implementing an Effective Social Media Policy.”
With changes to how the law regulates the interaction of employees and employers over social media use, it is more important now than ever to have clear social media guidelines in place. Those in the hotel industry may face unique challenges in this area. For instance, hosting celebrities can be great for business, but celebrities are inclined to value their privacy. Samantha Worgull’s article “Social Media Policy Key to Mitigate Liability” looks at the issues facing the hotel industry in using social media.
Everything old is new again on social media. Human resources departments need to take a close look at their harassment and discrimination policies in relation to the use of social media. Tom Starner provides an in-depth look at these issues here.
There may still be loopholes for private employers to institute social media policies that limit their employees’ right to freedom of speech. Koch Industries current social media policy raises a number of questions about what a private company can or can’t do legally. Brendan Fischer’s article “Koch Social Media Policy May Be Unlawful; Employers Still Have Broad Leeway to Limit Employee Speech” points out several disturbing developments.
Governor Jerry Brown very appropriately tweeted that he had signed the social media privacy bills. He later followed up with a press release. The Los Angeles Times online version carried the story “Gov. Jerry Brown Tweets That He Signed Social Media Privacy Bills.”
California’s new social media privacy law, which passed last month but is still pending signing into effect, may be a boon for employers and employees alike unless you look at the financial industry. The new law would help to protect individuals’ privacy and protect employers from liability. Matt Williams provides some insight into the benefits in his article “California Ramps Up Social Media Policy.”
Dan Jameson provides insight into the potential pitfalls that the law could pose in the securities industry and other financial industries: “Privacy Laws Threaten Compliance.”
Ever wonder what makes a social media lawyer different from any other lawyer? “What the Heck Does a Social Media Lawyer Do Anyway?” gives a thorough overview to the major issues that a social media lawyer might be involved in. It’s not surprising that in a fast-paced and ever changing environment like social media, a social media lawyer can expect a great deal of variety to come their way.