Social Media in the Workplace

Social Media in the Workplace by Alan Krystal

{2:24 minutes to read} With social media now an integral part of many people’s everyday life, employers are concerned about how their employees use social media and what they might be saying about the company.

While an employer’s desire to protect themselves against dissemination of negative information is a legitimate concern, Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to engage in concerted (2 or more people) activities for mutual aid and protection. Protected activity includes comments about:

  • Terms and conditions of work;
  • Wages;
  • Benefits; and
  • Working conditions.

Therefore, an employer policy that prohibits such activity will be considered unlawful.

However, companies do have the right to prohibit employees from: 

  • Making statements that divulge any company trade secret or any confidential or proprietary information about the company, such as company products, services, designs, clients, business plans, strategies, and marketing and advertising plans
  • Making statements about the company and its shareholders, managers, directors, and employees that the employee knows to be false and derogatory information, or statements about company competitors, agents, customers, vendors, any other third party or about the company’s products or services
  • Making statements about coworkers or supervisors that are vulgar or obscene, threatening, intimidating, or a violation of employee workplace policy against discrimination, harassment, or hostility
  • Sharing any information or engaging in online activity that violates typical local, state or federal laws

Companies also have the right to require employees engaging in social media activities to disclose their affiliation with the company. Employees using social media in a personal capacity must never represent their views and opinions as being those of the company.

Based on the above factors, it is critical that employers develop and implement a formal written social media policy, that provides clarity and achieves a proper balance between protecting an employer’s interest and an employee’s rights.

Alan Krystal


Alan Krystal

Alan H. Krystal, P.C.
631 780 6555