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NY Grocer Accused of Violating NLRB Social Media Policy Guidelines

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on April 03, 2012 6:04 AM

How far can an employer go in limiting what its employees post on Facebook?

Employer-mandated Facebook policies are a hot topic lately. Now, a New York grocery chain is facing heat over its Facebook posting policies. 

A union representing several employees at Stop & Shop filed a petition with the National Labor Review Board to challenge their employer's Facebook posting policy, Reuters reports.

Under the policy, employees can't disclose confidential information about the company on social networking sites. This includes information such as salaries. Employees are also forbidden from discrediting store practices or products.

Based on the NLRB's report on social media policies, the NLRB has consistently held the position that employer policies should not be so broad as to prohibit activity protected by federal labor law. This might touch on the prohibition on the discussion of wages and working conditions among employees.

But the store's guidelines aren't meant to conflict with the National Labor Relations Act and even have a clause to that extent, says store management. According to Stop & Shop spokeswoman Amy Murphy-St. Laurent, these Facebook policies are not meant to crack down on recalcitrant employees but rather, are to serve as a reminder for employees to use discretion when posting to social media sites.

The NLRB has already addressed the issue of overbroad social media policies and has ruled in favor of employees in several of these cases.

The debate on the limitation of social media use by employers is still in its infancy and we'll be seeing many decisions over the coming years, possibly even out of the appeals courts. It will be interesting and noteworthy to see how the federal courts address these issues.

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