Facebook, Twitter, blogs, e-mail, and IMs have created a whole new workplace problem, one that raises many new legal and practical concerns for employers.
For instance, employees' e-mails, Facebook posts, or Twitter tweets may reveal confidential or proprietary information about the organization, or may contain inappropriate material like pornography. However, with the passing of state laws that regulate electronic monitoring of employees, as well as other state privacy protections, HR professionals are left walking a legal tightrope as to what they can - and can't - do.
Employers who try to keep misuse of electronic communications can wind up in legal trouble. For example, a California police department was found to have violated the law just by investigating to see why a police officer was exceeding the permitted amount of text messages, even though it discovered that many of the messages were of a personal (and sexual) nature.
And, an employer can also face legal liability for not monitoring employee use of the Internet. A New Jersey court ruled that a firm could be held liable for negligence for not preventing an employee from using his workstation computer to view and circulate nude photographs of his stepdaughter.
Other legal risks that employers face associated with employees posting on social networking sites include:
- Breach of confidential information/trade secrets
- Harassing or offensive comments
- Smear campaigns
- Intellectual property and copyright violations
- Improper product endorsements under the new FTC guidelines
Join us to discover how to provide employees with clear guidelines detailing what is and what is not acceptable use of electronic communications...without crossing the legal line.