We have mentioned before on our San Diego employment law blog that advancements in technology and social media have been making it easier for employers to learn more about their employees or prospective employees.
San Diego employees may have a general idea of what their rights are in the workplace, but laws about harassment, discrimination and other employment issues can become confusing because these laws and protections continue to change and evolve over time.
Earlier this year on our San Diego employment law blog, we had mentioned that California lawmakers were pushing for better privacy protections for employees and job applicants regarding social media accounts and personal email accounts.
Can Facebook comments get you fired? Employees in San Diego and around the country are advised to be careful when they use social media, just in case bosses or colleagues are sneaking a peek at their activity. Laws can sometimes protect private sector workers from prying employers, but legal advisors still urge caution in order to avoid being fired.
A recent explosion of controversy has erupted concerning employers requesting to see their employees' or job applicants' private profile information on social media sites in order to make hiring or promotion decisions. While this practice may not seem entirely ethical, there are currently no laws to protect California employees and job applicants from being discriminated against for refusing to hand over their passwords and social media account information to employers.
Social media has certainly had an effect on employment law issues over the past few years as more individuals use social media websites on a daily basis for personal and professional purposes. Celebrities and professional athletes have lost contracts as a result of their comments on Facebook and Twitter, and lawsuits have been filed by employees who have lost their jobs or been denied jobs as a result of what employers discovered on these social media sites. But can employees and potential employees in California and throughout the entire U.S. be disciplined or fired for their "private" comments on social media sites?
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.