Employees and Social Media: A New Frontier
A recent case involving a Connecticut sports bar calls attention to some of the issues related to social media in the present-day workplace. When Triple Play Sports Bar & Grille in Watertown caught wind of employees complaining on Facebook about issues related to state income tax withholding, the bar owners responded by firing two employees, claiming the workers were in violation of the company’s social media policy.
The case wound up in front of the National Labor Relations Board, who ruled that Triple Play’s firing of its employees was unlawful and that the company’s social media policy also violated the National Labor Relations Act. They were ordered to take steps to right the situation, including revising their social media policy, reinstating the employees and providing compensation for lost wages and any problems related to their tax issues.
Employers use social media in a number of ways, not least of which is as a means of communicating with employees as well as potential customers. More and more, employers are also using social media as a recruiting tool. Unfortunately, information gleaned about prospective job candidates can be used in a discriminatory fashion, as race, gender, age and other defining characteristics can often be discovered or interpreted based on social media data. If any of this is believed to impact the hiring process, employers may open themselves up to charges of discrimination.
Similarly, keeping tabs on employees via social media may lead to consequences such as those involved in the Triple Play case. These are just some of the ways in which social media can have an impact in the workplace.
Because the laws surrounding social media and employment are undergoing rapid change in response to the new landscape, the law can be confusing. If you have been subjected to discrimination from your employer based on your social media activity, contact a knowledgeable labor law attorney with the Derek T. Smith Law Group right away.