Category Archives: JDSupra

Social Media Policy Update (JDSupra)

For those who don’t know, I am a big fan of JDSupra. The site offers thousands of articles on nearly every legal topic. Some articles are good, other articles are bad, and most are fairly short and straight to the point. Sifting the wheat from the chaff can be a little difficult but there are certainly nuggets of gold to be found within the constant stream of submissions.

One place to always keep your eye on is the Social Media Policy page. It is constantly updated with quality articles from quality writers who are well educated on the topic of social media and its application and effect in a variety of legal areas and scenarios. (And no, I am not one of the writers or featured authors.)

For example, this week you can learn about the NLRB’s determination that (yet another) social media policy violates the NLRA; how employers should address the increasing use of social media by employees; social media corporate policies; and plenty more.

Check the page out and consider subscribing to the news feed. The updates are generally quite germane to employers and the employment environment. The posts will definitely help you stay on top of the latest developments in social media law and best practices.

JDSupra’s “Social Media in the Workplace: Lawyers Weigh In…”

I tweeted about this fantastic resource earlier but I think it warrants its own blog entry. Many of you may not be familiar with JDSupra:

  • For Business Professionals: A free, daily source of news, business insights, and legal analysis from lawyers and law firms.
  • For Law Firms: The leading platform to increase visibility by distributing your legal content online.

I am a big fan of the site and try to contribute frequently. (You can see my profile at: http://www.jdsupra.com/profile/tysonsnow/.) For those who are unfamiliar with this legal-specific social media / sharing site, you should definitely check it out. Among the numerous features available, the site will incorporate directly with LinkedIn so you can share your documents and newsletters across both platforms with nothing more than a click.

Even more valuable are the numerous RSS feeds, specifically tailored to practice areas. If nothing else, you need to check out the RSS feeds / Twitter lists that are available. The immense amount of legal information (from some of the biggest, most respected law firms in the world, as well as solo practitioners who are consistently proving the effectiveness of their tactics). Fire up Google Reader or your favorite RSS Aggregator and start getting timely, frequent updates and basically any practice area you can imagine.

Ultimately, however, this post focuses on a resource I stumbled across as a result of Adrian Lurssen, a JDSupra co-founder, and a friend of mine since JDSupra launched. (You should definitely follow him at @AdrianLurssen.) 

But here is what you really need to be aware of:

JDSupra’s Small Business Report, published on April 10/11, 2012. The focus of this issue is: “Social Media in the Workplace: Lawyers Weigh In…” Go ahead and bookmark this now. Seriously. It is one of the best resources regarding the intersection of social media and employment law. This Report includes cites to numerous publications, all of which contain great information. A sampling:

eWorkplace Policies – Social-Media, Privacy & Internet-Security (Fenwick & West): Impressive, 129-page publication covering workplace technology issues of the day: “Given the mobility of electronic information, the stakes keep getting higher. Employees have access to, and are the gatekeepers of, trade secrets and other sensitive and confidential information. There are now many more ways that key information can be compromised, lost or stolen…” Read on>>

Federal Courts Determine That Social Networking Accounts Can Contain Trade Secrets (Wilson Sonsini): “As more businesses take advantage of social networking sites to build their brands and expand their marketing efforts, the question arises: can such promotional tools include protectable trade secrets? In at least some circumstances they can, according to two federal courts considering misappropriation cases involving MySpace and Twitter accounts…” Read on>>

Socially Aware: The Social Media Law Update — Vol. 3, Issue 2 April 2012 (Morrison & Foerster): “The FTC has not yet publicly addressed this issue, but we think that it could challenge an advertiser’s failure to disclose the consideration received in exchange for an endorsement conveyed by a ‘like.’ Any disclosure that the FTC would seek to prescribe in connection with “likes” displayed within the Facebook platform would most likely have to be built into Facebook’s “like” feature itself – something that is not within advertisers’ direct control…” Read on>>

Employers Must Update Their Social Media Policies (White & Case): “One of the main points underscored by the second [NLRB] report is that ‘[e]mployer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.’ The NLRA permits union and non-union employees who are not “supervisors” to engage in concerted action for their mutual aid and protection, including discussing their terms and conditions of employment. Such discussions are increasingly taking place on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and the like…” Read on>>

Second Verse: Worse Than the First! (McNees Wallace & Nurick): “We have discussed this many times before in the last year, but it is worth repeating: now is the time to review and narrowly tailor your policies to ensure compliance with rapidly-developing [NLRB] case law. With carefully crafted policies, you can still protect the your organization’s reputation and intellectual property; enforce attendance and harassment policies; and do so, without infringing on employees’ right to engage in protected concerted activity…” Read on>>

Regulate Employee Technology Use Without Becoming a Target (Lane Powell): “Contrary to popular belief, private sector employees do not have a constitutional right to ‘free speech’ in the workplace. Many employees do, however, have the right under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to engage in ‘concerted activities for the purpose of … mutual aid or protection.’ While the NLRA does not protect actions taken solely on an employee’s own behalf, it does protect actions taken with or on behalf of at least one other employee, or on the authority of other employees, when those activities relate to the terms and conditions of their employment…” Read on>>

Password Protected – Proposed Social Media Privacy Legislation (Sheppard Mullin): “…a handful of states have drafted legislation seeking to outlaw what some consider to be an invasion of privacy. Lawmakers in Illinois, Maryland, and California have proposed legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring that current or prospective employees provide or disclose any user names, passwords, or other ways of accessing a personal online account. State lawmakers from Connecticut and New Jersey are considering drafting similar legislation, as is the United States Senate…” Read on>>

If you are an employment lawyer, general counsel, an employer, or just someone who is interested in the impact that social media is having on the workplace, you need to check out this compendium. In a relatively short period of time, you will be well versed in nearly all significant social media issues as they relate to employment law and employees.

The only negative about the Report is that there is nothing from me included in it (haha). I’ll forgive Adrian for that. But seriously, check this out. It is well worth your time. Feel free to browse my profile and the articles / posts I have uploaded in order to familiarize yourself with the site; big firms are using it, small firms and solos are using it, and you should be too. This Social Media in the Workplace Report is a perfect example of why:

View Tyson B. SnowOf the “social” resources available to lawyers, this is one of the best. I’ve been using it since it launched and will continue to do so in the future. And I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with the site and how it has helped your practice, your marketing, and your overall success. It can be a little overwhelming at first but check out the Report (for social media issues) and check out the site for whatever needs you may have.

(For what it is worth, I do not receive any special benefits or perks from JDSupra; my opinions are based on the fact that this site rocks.)