Social Media Policies, Concerted Activity, and HR management
In the last few years, companies have begun initiating and implementing social media policies for their employees to follow. These policies range from encouraging employees to utilizing social media for marketing purposes, to restricting the use of social media for employees in order to ensure that they do not hurt the company image. As these policies become more widespread, both the Society for Human Resource Management and the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) have become concerned about the limits on speech and activity that employers are imposing on their workers. Further, in some states, laws are being passed to protect employees and potential employees from being required to disclose social media passwords during job interviews or after hire. Finally, many ethical concerns are being raised about the use of social media as a method of doing quick, informal background checks on potential hires or current employees.
Questions to Research and Answer
The NLRB has made findings regarding the use of employee posts on social media sites to discipline or terminate those employees. Typically, these cases occur when an employee posts negative information about his or her current employer or boss. Sometimes, these are public, and other times, the employer uses spies or fake friending to see the Facebook page of the employee.
1. Find at least one case or article online regarding this topic, and briefly explain the facts of the case, and the determination of the NLRB as to whether the employee was properly or improperly disciplined or terminated as a result of his or her use of social media to complain about, criticize, or publicly bash his or her company or boss. Provide the citation to the article that you discover. (Use the term concerted activity in your query or search to help you find one of these cases.) (50 points)
2. Do you agree with the decision of the NLRB or court in the case that you described in Question #1 above? Why or why not? (1–3 paragraphs). (20 points)
3. Assume that this case happened at a place where you have worked in the past, or where you work now (or want to work.) Give an example of how the decision in the case above could lead to better or worse employee relations in your company. (30 points)
4. Explain how you would communicate this decision to your employees or supervisors (depending on the decision you have selected) to ensure that situations like this do not occur again. In your answer, determine whether or not you feel a social media policy is a good method. If so, list at least three things you would include in your policy and why you would include them. If you do not feel a social media policy is appropriate, explain why you would not implement one (give at least two valid reasons). (3–4 paragraphs) (35 points)
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