Some news orgs’ social media policies are on shaky legal ground

The New York Times | Poynter
If your social media policy prevents employees from saying anything bad about the company, it might be going too far.

The National Labor Relations Board has weighed in on several cases where employees lost their jobs because of social media activity, Steven Greenhouse reports.

The board is standing up for the rights of workers to discuss wages and working conditions. The legal term is “concerted activity” — when workers take action to collectively discuss their employment terms — and the board says that’s just as protected on social media as it is in the company break room. Read more


Why your news organization’s social media policy may be illegal

If Barrett Tryon does get fired today by Freedom Communications, as he expects, he may find the National Labor Relations Board has his back.

Tryon, a multimedia journalist at the Colorado Springs Gazette, posted on his personal Facebook timeline a link and quote from a Los Angeles Times report about the sale of his parent company, Freedom Communications.

A Gazette manager told Tryon to remove the post, citing the company’s social media policy that “prohibits you from posting disparaging or defamatory statements about the company” or “communications that might be misconstrued in a way that could damage the company’s goodwill and business reputation, even indirectly.”

Tryon refused.

Unfortunately for the Gazette, this is exactly the kind of restriction the NLRB has been labeling an “overly broad” gag order on workers’ rights. Read more


National labor board sides with Arizona Daily Star in firing of reporter for edgy tweets

ABA Journal
The Arizona Daily Star was within its rights to fire a reporter for what it saw as unprofessional tweets, The National Labor Relations Board says. The offenses in question included criticizing one of the paper’s headlines via Twitter and later — after being warned by HR – making comments about Tucson’s homicide rates. The reporter also retweeted a local television news station Twitter post, noting a misspelled word in it and calling them “stupid TV people.” The NLRB said the actions of the unnamed crime and safety beat reporter qualified as “misconduct” that justified firing. Read more