In October 2012, we told you about the case of Eagle v. Edcomm, Inc. pertaining to whether an employee’s LinkedIn account belongs to the employee (Linda Eagle) or to her employer (Edcomm). At that time, the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania dismissed Ms. Eagle’s claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as her other federal law claims. Her state law claims, for unauthorized use of name, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of publicity, among other claims, were not dismissed. You can read more about that case here, or hear it discussed at this link.
The NLRB has again weighed in on workplace social media policies. And, consistent with its recent decisions in Costco Wholesale Corp. and Karl Knauz Motors, Inc., found DISH Network’s social media policy unlawful. Specifically, citing both cases, the Board found that DISH Network’s social media policy improperly banned employees from making “disparaging or defamatory comments about DISH Network.” The Board further found that the policy’s ban on negative electronic activities during “Company time” was unlawful because it failed to convey that negative discussion can occur during breaks and other non-working hours.
What a year it’s been for the National Labor Relations Board! Under the guise of preserving workers’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which includes the broad right “to engage in [ ] concerted activities for the purpose collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection,” the NLRB has:
• Invalidated a policy prohibiting employees from making statements that “damage the Company, defame any individual or damage any person’s reputation” was overly broad, in that it would “reasonably tend to chill employees” in the exercise of their Section 7 rights to protest working conditions (read more);
• Found that a company’s blanket policy of requesting participants in an internal investigation to keep the investigation confidential improperly infringes on employees’ Section 7 rights (read more);
• Otherwise sought to expand its considerable influence over both unionized and non-unionized workplaces (read more).
In PhoneDog v. Kravitz, an employer and former employee battled over who owns a company-sponsored Twitter account (read about it here and here). Now, LinkedIn joins Twitter, as an employer tries to claim title to the LinkedIn account of a former employee.
Online and Off-Limits: New California Legislation Prohibits Employers from Requiring Access to Social Media Accounts of Employees
We have written here about the practice of some employers to ask applicants for their Facebook login and password information, so they can have a “look around” as part of the interview process, and about Facebook's position on such requests.
My colleagues over at the Privacy and Security Matters Blog have weighed in, with an analysis of a new California la prohibiting employers from requesting or requiring access to social media accounts. For more information, click here.
We recently wrote about the practice of some employers to ask applicants for their Facebook login and password information, so they can have a “look around” as part of the interview process. Facebook had the following to say in a blog entry posted on March 23:
In recent months, we've seen a distressing increase in repors of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles or private information. This practice dermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.
For the full Facebook blog posting, click here.
News outlets are all a-twitter about the practice of some employers to ask applicants for their Facebook login and password information, so they can have a “look around” as part of the interview process. Click here and here for here, for sample stories. The ACLU has weighed in, with the following statement:
It’s an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process. People are entitled to their private lives. You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account.
On January 5, we posted a blog entry about the case of PhoneDog v. Kravitz, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In short, during his employment with PhoneDog, Kravitz used a PhoneDog twitter account (@PhoneDog_Noah) to disseminate information on behalf of the company and to promote its services. After Kravitz left PhoneDog, he continued tweeting under the PhoneDog twitter handle on behalf of his new employer. Although he later changed the handle to omit reference to PhoneDog (@noahkravitz), he kept the 17,000 twitter account followers.
These days, many employers sponsor social media accounts, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. Of course, the “company” itself cannot post to an account, so the task always falls on one or more employees to post entries and monitor the accounts. But, what happens when an employee who is tasked with managing the company’s social media presence resigns or is fired? In other words, who “owns” the accounts?
Should Your Social Media and Business Systems Policy Prohibit or Limit Fantasy Football in the Workplace?
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? For most, the answer to that question may be a resounding “yes!” Last Sunday, people across the country tuned in to watch their favorite teams begin their quest to reach the Super Bowl (although, for some of us, see: NY Giants’ fans, that quest has already ended). And then, come Monday morning, millions of employees- from those occupying the boardroom to the mailroom, men and women alike- gathered around the water cooler, stopped by each other’s offices, and e-mailed or IM’d friends and co-workers to discuss their fantasy football teams.