As we mentioned earlier this month on our San Diego employment law blog, social media users are protected under new employment laws that went into effect on Jan. 1 in California. Under new laws regarding social media use and employee privacy issues, it is now illegal for employers to request or require passwords and login information to have access to job applicants' and employees' personal social media accounts.
Last month, 14 workers were fired from a law firm in the U.S. for wearing orange shirts to work. Six of those workers are now considering filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer, claiming that their former employer had no legal right to fire them. Only three of the workers have been able to get their jobs back since the incident.
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a private employer settled a case involving social media and employment law, one that may begin to define the rules for what employees can say online and how employers may or may not restrict that speech. The case settled last week involved a woman who was fired from an ambulance company after she posted negative comments about her boss on the social networking website, Facebook.
The previous two posts discussed how more and more employment law cases going before the courts involve social media. This week, an NLRB judge is set to hear the NLRB's first complaint involving social media. As an increasing amount of these complaints go before judges, more case law will be established in this relatively new area of law. For now, employers are treading tricky ground when they follow their employees into social media spaces.
The previous post began to discuss the increasing problems involving the intersection of social media and the workplace. An interesting article by Jeanette Borzo recently published by The Wall Street Journal examines some of the specific cases involving employers, employees and social media. As more employment law cases involving social media make their way through the courts, case law will begin to be established around the issues.
As more and more people and companies join social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, the lines between personal life and work life can quickly blur into each other. The type of information people might innocently include on their Facebook profiles is often the exact kind of legally protected information that a potential employer cannot ask about or a current employer need not know, such as religious and political beliefs, race or age, or pregnancy or plans for family.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused, without comment, this month to dismiss a lawsuit brought by two NFL players against the National Football League, which means the dispute will continue in state courts.