NLRB: Employers cannot forbid employees from disparaging their employers and companies.
An NLRB Administrative Law Judge, following the lead of the NLRB from its recent decision in Costco Wholesale Inc., invalidated social media and other employment policies of DISH Network, Inc. Linked here is that decision. The invalidated policies (1) prohibited employees from disparaging the company on social media sites; (2) required preapproval from management before speaking about the company to the media or at public meetings; and (3) limited employee communication with government agencies.
President Obama’s reelection will undoubtedly translate into increased scrutiny on employer social media and other personnel policies. Under continued attack will be, for example, certain types of at-will employment status, classification of independent contractors, requiring confidentiality during investigations of alleged workplace misconduct, the viability of class action waivers and agreements to arbitrate in employee handbooks and individual employment agreements.
Our previous blog posts containing more in depth analyses of these issues and other recent NLRB attacks on employer policies are found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Our White Paper on the impact of Social Media on the business community, including our update on employment issues, can be found here.