Is Social Net Speech Protected?

Jan 29, 2013

From demanding access to employee Facebook profiles to soliciting job applicants via Twitter, the disparity in company policies surrounding social media are a marker of both its newness and its influence in our lives.

Prominent cases, such as a Philadelphia teacher’s firing over her blog, to a case brought by employees of a Virginia sheriff who were fired for “liking” his political opponent, have highlighted the need for employers to implement social policies. However, they may want to take another pass at what they’ve put in place, thanks to a recent series of rulings by the national labor relations board which equate Facebook and Twitter postings, to protected watercooler speech. Here to fill us in is Steven Greenhouse. The New York Times labor and workplace reporter wrote an article about the fine line between free speech and a pink slip.