How to Regulate Employee Technology Use Without Becoming a Target
Lane Powell Shareholder Katheryn Bradley authored an article in Seattle Business magazine’s April 2012 issue titled “How to Regulate Employee Technology Use Without Becoming a Target.” In the article, Bradley discussed how private sector employees do not have a constitutional right to “free speech” in the workplace, but they do have the right under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of … mutual aid or protection.” She also commented on recent National Labor Relations Board reports summarizing cases in which employees were disciplined for social media postings and employer policies that violate the NLRA.
Throughout the digital workplace, email, social media and text message communications frequently yield the “smoking gun” evidence that results in employment claims against employers. Many employers seek to limit their exposure by adopting broadly written technology policies designed to limit employees from improperly using email and social media to make disparaging or discriminatory remarks. So, when an employee posts derogatory comments about the company and his boss on social media sites, prompting other employees to voice similar complaints, the company has the right to discipline the employees, right? Guess again!