Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or online blogs, social networking tools are being used by more and more businesses in their human resources, advertising, marketing, sales and public relations departments and of course, by employees. Knowing the potential legal pitfalls of social media in the workplace can avoid legal problems for your company in the future. Culhane Meadows attorneys can assist you in understanding and avoiding these pitfalls. Here are Culhane Meadows’ Top 10 Social Media Mistakes for Business. If any of these apply to your company, contact Culhane Meadows’ workplace social media attorneys to assist you today:
- No Social Media Policy – 1/3 of businesses don’t have any social media policies at all.
- No Social Media policies governing employee official, professional and personal use of social media.
- Not updating your Social Media policies to stay current with the flood of new social media decisions and regulations being issued by Federal agencies including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and industry regulators like the FTC; EEOC; SEC/FINRA; FFIEC; FDA, etc.
- No Social Media Terms of Public Participation notifying the public of conduct permitted on your business’ Social Media sites.
- No Social Media Take Down Policy for objectionable public comments/activity such as illegal endorsements; hate speech; cyber threats/harassment; obscenity; political activity; privacy invasions and/or violation of intellectual property laws.
- Not consistently reviewing public comments/activity on your business Social Media sites and taking appropriate action.
- No written provision that your business owns all of its Social Media sites and followers/contacts.
- Failure to designate your business Social Media Administrator+ 1 with password access to all your business Social Media sites.
- No written requirement signed by your Social Media Administrator that they will relinquish access to all your business’ Social Media sites upon departure.
- No policy or guidelines preventing NLRB or EEOC violations by your HR Department when using Social Media in hiring, recruiting, and/or employee discipline.
- Social media policies, procedures and practices tailored to your business that employees can understand and are enforceable and not too far reaching are he first steps to avoiding legal pitfalls. Culhane Meadows attorneys can help your company craft such social media policies, procedures and practices including:
- Employment Issues. Ensuring that restrictions by employers on employees’ use of social media do not violate the National Labor Relations Act or other applicable law. Ensuring that company’s hiring and retention practices do not unlawfully discriminate based on information available through candidates’ and employees’ social media pages given that it is becoming increasingly common for company HR departments to review the Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media pages of job candidates, recruits and current employees.
- Protecting Confidential Information. Updating policies and procedures so that employees are aware of their ongoing obligations not to disclose confidential or proprietary information, such as information about customers or trade secrets, on social media websites.
- Avoiding unintended legal liability for defamation, cyber-threats, hate-speech, etc., for social media postings made by your employees, or visitors to your business social media sites, that cause harm to others.
- FTC Disclosures. Understanding the new FTC rules requiring users of social media to disclose any paid advertisements and ensuring employees disclose their relationship to the company when making glowing reviews and recommendations about their company.
- Public Companies and Insider Trading. Ensuring that employees understand what information is covered by insider trading laws that are broad and can potentially include almost anything related to finances or changes at a publicly held company.
- Unauthorized Use of IP Rights. Monitoring your company’s trademarks by other social media sites or ensuring that use of third party trademarks on your own social media site does not lead to legal liability for trademark infringement, dilution or unfair competition. Ensuring that copyright-protected works, such as text, videos, music, photographs, and source code, are not copied from another location and used on a social media website without the authorization of the content owner.
Culhane Meadows’social media lawyers look forward to talking with you about how we can help your company reduce its legal risks from social media.