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Managing employees and social media conduct

Posted on October 20th, 2011 Read time: 1 minutes

Whether we like it or not, social media is a major part of life. Many businesses have been able to leverage social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to market new products, attract clients or track down top talent. However, employers must be sure to properly manage social media use by workers to keep business interests and employee rights protected.

To help human resources departments with innovative employee solutions regarding social media, the National Labor Relations Board recently released guidance.

According to the NLRB, certain behavior by employees on social networking sites is protected, such as complaining to each other about company policies, sharing pictures and criticizing a manager or staff members, even if foul language is involved.

"Don’t make your communications policy too broad. Banning employees from criticizing the company in email or through social media is going too far, because it interferes with their protected right to 'concerted activity' (employees talking to one another) about their working conditions," writes BLR.

According to Information Week, it is important that employees know a company's social media policy or set of guidelines, so details of what is permitted and what is not must be made crystal clear. A policy is typically a legal document, while guidelines are viewed more as "rules of engagement."

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