Recently, one of the greatest baseball players ever, Yogi Berra, passed away. One of the most well-known “Yogi-isms” is “it's déjà vu all over again.” In the world of Social Media, you can add again. And again… I continuously see stories about individuals posting inappropriate/stupid/controversial items on Social Media, such as on Facebook or Twitter, and getting themselves fired. Over the past several weeks, a police chief in North Carolina was forced to retire after posting that the Black Lives Matter movement “is nothing more than an American born terrorist group” on Facebook. Closer to home, Josh Doggrell is appealing his dismissal from the Anniston Police Department after he was identified as being a member of the League of the South, a purported hate group, when he was mentioned in a blog post by the Southern Poverty Law Center. These are just some of the numerous instances where adverse employment action, or in the case of politicians, adverse publicity, resulted from Social Media activity.
Practice pointers. It is advisable that employers have a Social Media Policy in place to make employees aware of the employers' expectations when posting on Social Media. In light of the National Labor Relations Board's position on Social Media policies, they must be carefully crafted so that the National Labor Relations Act is not violated. Additionally, employees must be trained on the policy. There are numerous real life examples, such as those above, that can be used to illustrate what is acceptable and what is prohibited.
For those who want to learn more about the impact of Social Media in the workplace, I am honored to be presenting at theUniversity of Alabama's 61st Annual Human Resources Conference on October 7. This 2 day conference, being held in Birmingham, has a number of outstanding speakers and the topics are timely and informative. For those in the Montgomery area, I will also be speaking on November 6 for Sterling Education Services. Please attend if you can.