The use of social media in the workplace and its impact on the enforcement of equal employment opportunity laws will be discussed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission meeting, which is opened to public observation, on March 12, 2014. According to the Commission’s announcement, an invited panel of employment law attorneys will address “a range of issues, including recruitment and hiring, harassment, and records retention and discovery.” (See our special report, Social Media in the Workplace, for a review each of these issues.)
The EEOC’s meeting is the latest in a string of government moves focusing on social media and the workplace as increasing numbers of Americans use social media both on and off the job (see our article, Implications of Study Finding Majority of Adults Online Use Social Networking Sites). States have enacted laws placing limits on employers’ ability to request social media account access to private accounts of employees and job applicants (see our articles, Colorado Limits Employers from Demanding Employees, Applicants Private Social Media Information; Illinois Bans Employers from Demanding Social Media Passwords from Employees and Job Applicants; Maryland to Ban Employers from Asking Employees, Applicants for Social Media Passwords; Michigan Bars Employers from Demanding Private Social Media Information from Applicants, Employees; New Jersey Social Media Privacy Bill Signed into Law; New Mexico, Utah Curb Employers from Demanding Private Social Media Information; New Nevada Law Restricts Employer’s Access to Personal Social Media Accounts of Employees, Job Applicants; and Washington Enacts Social Media Privacy Law) and the National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel has weighed in with guidance (see our article, Third Guidance on Social Media Policy Issues from NLRB Acting General Counsel Includes Sample Policy). Even industry organizations have highlighted social media with industry-specific guidance (see, e.g., guidance for financial institutions) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released draft guidance for those in medical marketing.