The Problem: Your employees are almost certainly “friends” with employees of your suppliers, customers, etc. When your employees say something on a social media website like Facebook or a blog this information is seen by all of their “friends”.
Whether the social media comments are gripes, complements, confidential information, etc., it is basically publicly known once it gets posted.
Best Current Solution: The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has published a safe harbor policy. You will find a copy of it attached. You can find the full release at the below web address. http://mynlrb.nlrb.gov/link/document.aspx/09031d4580a375cd (The safe harbor policy is the last 3 pages of the full release.) I encourage you to consider putting this in your employee handbook.
Things to watch out for: Most employers want to control employee social media activity in some way. However, court ruling and NLRB rulings have been all over the board. Some specific things to NOT DO:
- Do not ask for your employees user names and passwords for their social media account
- Managers should not become online “friends” with employees
- NLRB has stated that employees have the protected right to engage in a “protected concerted activity” on line. Including:
- Improving the work environment
- Forming a union
- Complaining about a manager or fellow employee who is breaking the law or a company policy.
- Do not have a social media “policeman” inside your company
If an employee comes to a member of management with a specific concern or compliant, then you really must investigate it, and take appropriate action.