NLRB Guidance on Employer Social Media Policies

June 13, 2012

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has released the “Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media Cases,” (Memorandum OM 12-59, May 30, 2012). The report discusses seven recent cases and contains a model social media policy that the NLRB regards as lawful.

For example, the NLRB model policy contains the seemingly innocuous provision “Don’t release confidential guest, team member or company information” as unlawful because it could “be interpreted as prohibiting employees from discussing and disclosing information regarding their own conditions of employment, as well as the conditions of employment of employees other than themselves–activities that are clearly protected by Section 7” of the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB also found unlawful the seemingly common sense instruction that “[o]ffensive, demeaning, abusive or inappropriate remarks are as out of place online as they are offline.” NLRB argues that “this provision proscribes a broad spectrum of communications that would include protected criticisms of the Employer’s labor policies or treatment of employees.”

The Memorandum may be found by clicking here, and the approved social media policy begins on page 22.