A Guide to Free Speech at Work - Part 3

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Do I need a social media policy?

In a word, yes. A good social media policy offers guidelines for how employees represent your business online and can help keep legal and security issues at bay. However, in terms of what employees can and cannot say about your business, be cautious, as this is an increasingly murky area. Under the NLRA, employers are prevented from issuing broad-spectrum policies intended to gag employees; a policy insisting that employees never say anything bad about the company would be in violation of this law. Your social media policy needs to heed your employee’s rights in terms of off-the-clock conduct and ensure your disciplinary measures don’t contravene the National Labor Relations Act 

How the NLRA affects this

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows employees to organize a union, and discuss terms and conditions of their employment, such as comparing their salaries. Employees also have the right to communicate with each other on matters of discrimination, unsafe working conditions, harassment and other issues in the workplace. This doesn’t, however, offer them protection if they make discriminatory comments, harass others or create a hostile working environment – this behavior always warrants disciplinary action.

Make sure to check out parts 1 and 2 in our ‘Free Speech at Work’ series here and here.

Jacquelyn Gernaey