All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Ninomiya Law, PLLC and Kent Ninomiya only provide legal advice to clients when there is a valid engagement agreement signed by both attorney and clients. The principal office of Ninomiya Law, PLLC is located in Round Rock, Texas. Ninomiya Law, PLLC is responsible for the content of this website.
keeping you and your family safe
Social media has simultaneously made employment more efficient and more complicated. It is easy to do a quick social media search to see what an employee or prospective employee is putting on the Internet, but actions taken by employers as a result of that social media information can result in legal action against the employer. It all depends on context, subject matter, and the business' existing social media policy. For help figuring out what to do about these social media laws, see the Your Options page of this website.
National Labor Relations Act: (NLRB): Section 7 protects employee social media activity relating to terms and conditions of employment when undertaken in a “concerted fashion.” This includes offensive and insulting discussions on social media about the workplace conditions and other employees. Any attempt to stifle these rights in a social media policy violates the NLRB and could result in a lawsuit and sanctions.
Fair Labor Standards Act: 29 U.S. Code Chapter 8, § 207: Can apply to social media managers working long and odd hours managing brands.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal employment discrimination laws and provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies. Social media posts can provide evidence of discrimination and unlawful intent. Employers can be held liable for social media discrimination even if it comes from coworkers and not management. Laws include:
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): Applies to outside agencies performing social media background checks on current or prospective employees. There are strict regulations applying to both the agency and the business employing them to be transparent regarding social media searches, to reveal what information was used against the subject, and allow the subject to see what is in their file. If employers learn information that could be used to discriminate (such as race, religion or sexual orientation), they could be subject to a lawsuit claiming employment decisions were made on a prohibited basis.
State Laws Protecting Social Media Passwords:
Occupations Code: Regulates various professionals and industries, such as acupuncturists, dentists, health spas and credit services.
Account Ownership & Trade secrets: There are no clear cut rules dictating ownership of social media accounts and followers when an employee or independent contractor performs social media networking on behalf or for the benefit of a business. Social media business contacts and control of professional discussion groups can be considered trade secrets. It all depends on the particular business relationship, whether there is a preexisting social media policy or agreement, and laws of the jurisdiction.
For more options, see the Your Options page of this website.