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Jill Vorobiev Authors Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Article Addressing Employers’ Conundrum with Social Media

What Are Employer Limits to Disciplining Employees Who Use Social Media to Disparage Their Own Company?

March 31, 2014

Jill S. Vorobiev, Chicago-based member in Dykema’s Labor & Employment practice, contributed a bylined column that appeared in the March 26 edition of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Themed “Can disparaging posts prompt employee discipline?” the article is the first of a six-part series in this publication in which Vorobiev will offer perspectives on real-world issues in the workplace that have significant employment law considerations and implications.

In this article, Vorobiev addresses a growing concern in many companies: what disciplinary actions can companies take against employees who take to social media to vent their displeasure with their company and/or its management? Vorobiev points out that employers who think the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) may not apply to them—because they do not have a unionized work force—are mistaken.

Vorobiev notes that many companies turn to their previously created social media policies to guide enforcement. But Vorobiev cautions that these strongly worded policies have come under increased scrutiny by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with portions—or, at times, the entirety—of these policies deemed unlawful.

Vorobiev identifies and discusses several realms within social media policies that have triggered an NLRB judgment of “unlawful”. Among these are guidelines that broadly prohibit:

  • Non-disparagement/defamation
  • Inappropriate comments
  • Confidentiality

To read this column in its entirety, click here.