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Blogs >> Careful Communication & Proper Use of Computers

Careful Communication & Proper Use of Computers

As social media continues to become more ingratiated in our day to day lives, the use of social media in and out of the workplace has become a huge concern for compliance departments.  As my former colleague Mary Snyder recently covered in the space, many companies have struggled to find the correct balance between protecting employees’ rights and protecting their companies’ reputation when crafting social media policies.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to rule that social media policies cannot impede on workers’ rights to communicate with one another regarding wages, benefits and working conditions.  The latest ruling came last month when the NLRB found that five employees of social services provider Hispanic United of Buffalo had been wrongfully terminated for comments they posted on Facebook.

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In the past few years, as the use of social media has become more and more mainstream, companies have been waiting and watching for case law, guidance or some direction on what they can and should do with employees’ use of social media. Struggling to find a balance that protects employee rights and the best interests of the company has made the development of social media policies challenging—to say the least. We are finally getting what we are waiting for… more guidance… and now, we just have to figure out where we go from here.

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Inter-office instant messaging might not be getting as much press as social media websites or blog postings, but it is a form of electronic communication that we should not ignore. As we trend more and more towards a workforce that is dependent on communicating electronically and one that relies on tools that support flexibility and instant gratification, it’s particularly essential that our technology-related policies stay up to date and relevant.

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