Employers and Social Media: You Love to Love It & Love to Hate It


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Employers and Social Media: You Love to Love It & Love to Hate It

  1. 1. Employers and Social Media: You Love to Love It, and Love to Hate It Janine Anthony Bowen, Esq., CIPP 404-527-4671 [email_address] HR Boot camp May 4, 2010
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What’s the Big Deal Anyway? </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media of Interest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogging, Texting & Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Social Media/Email Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Take Aways </li></ul>
  3. 3. What’s the Big Deal Anyway? <ul><li>Reputational Risks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Employees personal behavior reflecting poorly on the company </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality Breaches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel revealing (perhaps unwittingly) confidential information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disparagement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel engage in slanderous or libelous statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SUX sites taken to a new level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Employer engages in potentially discriminating behavior </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why Does It Matter? <ul><li>Proofpoint Survey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>31% of employers terminate personnel for violation of email policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9% of employers terminate personnel for breaches while blogging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8% of employers terminate for breaches using video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8% of employers terminate for LinkedIn and Facebook violations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% of employers investigate personnel for use of Twitter and text messaging </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Deloitte Survey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 17% of employers have programs to monitor and mitigate potential reputational risks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Outbound Email and Data Loss Prevention in Today’s Enterprise, 2009” (Proofpoint, Inc.) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Deloitte LLP 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why Does it Matter? Risks <ul><li>Potential reduced employee productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Potential damage to company property (e.g. computer viruses) </li></ul><ul><li>Potential liability to employer and employee for harassment, defamation, hostile work environment </li></ul><ul><li>Securities & IP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quiet period pre-IPO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patent rights – premature disclosures </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Social Media of Interest to Employers <ul><li>E-mail (the first social media tool) </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging, Twitter & Texting </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>*All marks are the trademark of their respective owners. </li></ul>
  7. 7. E-Mail: Stengart v. Loving Care Agency <ul><li>Employee communicates via e-mail with lawyer about a planned lawsuit against employer. </li></ul><ul><li>E-mails were sent by employee using a company-owned computer, but through a password-protected Yahoo! Account </li></ul><ul><li>Are the email communications protected by attorney-client privilege (and therefore not subject to company monitoring)? </li></ul><ul><li>Headed for the NJ Supreme Court </li></ul>
  8. 8. Texting: City of Ontario v. Quon <ul><li>SWAT team members sent sexually explicit text messages on government-issued pagers. </li></ul><ul><li>Ontario had a ‘no-privacy’ policy, but senior ranking lieutenant said personal use was okay. </li></ul><ul><li>SCOTUS heard arguments on 4/19/2010 (appealed from 9 th Circuit by City of Ontario and USA Mobility Wireless). </li></ul><ul><li>4 th Amendment and Stored Communications Act arguments regarding privacy in the messages. </li></ul>
  9. 9. MySpace: Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group <ul><li>Waiter at Houston’s set up private MySpace group to dish the daily dirt re: work. </li></ul><ul><li>A legitimate group member shared some postings with management while logged in. </li></ul><ul><li>Management received member’s credentials so they could check out the site without her present. </li></ul><ul><li>Management fired 2 employees alleged violation of professionalism policy. </li></ul><ul><li>Employer sued under Stored Communications Act and invasion of privacy arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees won. </li></ul>
  10. 10. YouTube: California Pizza Kitchen <ul><li>Employee/Twitter user @trapnik – not liking the new uniforms tweets the following: </li></ul><ul><li>“ @calpizzakitchen black button ups are the lamest s*&^ ever!!!” </li></ul><ul><li>CPK identifies and fires him </li></ul><ul><li>@trapnik posts a YouTube video detailing the circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>(Mashable.com, 9/15/2009) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Facebook: Israeli Soldier <ul><li>3/2010 - Soldier posted a FB status saying his combat unit was going to ‘clean up’ the area </li></ul><ul><li>Israeli military call off a raid on a West Bank town as a result </li></ul><ul><li>Soldier was court-martialed and given 10 days in prison </li></ul><ul><li>( Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2010) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Facebook & LinkedIn: Potential Discrimination Issues
  13. 13. The Social Media Policy <ul><li>What’s the thinking regarding Social Media? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Educate and trust’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Give them guidelines and trust’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ You can’t control, so educate’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Remind employees of potential impacts” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Set clear expectations’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Give examples of good and bad’ </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. The Social Media Policy: Contents <ul><li>Scope – Public Internet Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On company time – permitted or not? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclaimer re: bloggers refs to Company (i.e. make clear opinions are not of company) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibitions on disclosures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protected/confidential information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reminders of Company policies on harassment/discrimination </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reminders of personal responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reminders re: employers right to monitor communications on company-owned/paid for equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequences for violations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercise good judgment </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Take Aways <ul><li>A written policy is essential, even though the law is in flux. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your employees probably think what they do on their own time is their business. Be clear if that’s not the case. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be wary of inadvertent use that might raise discrimination issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep context – is a response in your company’s best interest or not? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Q&A Contact Me <ul><li>Janine Anthony Bowen, Esq. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.linkedin.com/in/jdabowen </li></ul><ul><li>404-527-4671 </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter - @cloudlawyer </li></ul>© 2010 J. A. Bowen. All Rights Reserved.