Social Media and Law


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Social media may be the new office water cooler, but its conversations are being guided by legislation from 1935. Social media brings to HR an almost unparalleled level of complexity and nuance.

At this small business seminar, Eliot Wagonheim of Wagonheim Law, guides you through how to protect yourself as a small business owner when it comes to employees and social media.

Check out more of our educational resources at!

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Social Media and Law

  1. 1. Social Media Law forBusiness OwnersPresented by: Eliot Wagonheim
  2. 2. Hearing Voices“We don’t need a social media policy. Noone is going to ‘friend’ their industrial hosesupplier.”
  3. 3. “I always check out job applicants onsocial media before the interview. Ithelps to see if they’re a good fit for us.”…Voices
  4. 4. “We reserve the right to take actionagainst any employee who saysanything on social media that casts thecompany or those who work here in abad light.”…Voices
  5. 5. “We’re a pretty close-knit group. I’mFacebook friends with everyone whoworks here.”…Voices
  6. 6. “We have a very strict internet andsocial media policy. We do not permitemployees to access the sites at work.Period.”…Voices
  7. 7. “We have no idea how to formulate apolicy or even why we need one. Socialmedia is not part of our marketing andwhat people do on their own time is upto them.”…Voices
  8. 8. Pre-RecruitmentRecruitmentOn-the-JobTerminationIf You’re a Business, Here’s Where it Matters:
  9. 9. National Labor Relations ActWorkers, unionized or not, have the right todiscuss working conditions freely and withoutfear of retribution.
  10. 10. Spot the ViolationA caseworker for a nonprofit social services providerthreatened online to complain to the boss that otherswere not working hard enough. The agency fired thecaseworker and four responding co-workers.Termination: Unlawful, as the comments constitutedconcerted labor activity.
  11. 11. Spot the ViolationA crime reporter tweeted on her private account:“What?!?!?!?! No overnight homicide...You’reslacking, Tucson.” The reporter was fired.Termination: Lawful as the posts were offensive andnot about working conditions.
  12. 12. Spot the ViolationA bartender, unhappy about not receiving a raise forfive years, posted on his Facebook wall that hiscustomers were “rednecks” who he hoped wouldchoke on glass as they drove home drunk. Thebartender was fired.Termination: Lawful, as it was venting and not aconcerted activity.
  13. 13. Spot the ViolationA social media policy in a company’s personnelmanual stated: “offensive, demeaning, abusive orinappropriate remarks are as out of place online asthey are offline.Finding: Unlawful. The prohibition is broad enoughto include protected criticisms of the employer’slabor policies.
  14. 14. Spot the ViolationA company policy prohibited employees from postingthings that “damage the company” or “any person’sreputation.”Finding: Unlawful. Overly broad could prohibitconcerted labor activity.
  15. 15. /Wagonheim@Wagonheim/ With Us Online!To watch the full of this presentation video, check out