At least for now, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues its assault on employer social media policies. In a recent Board decision, G4S Secure Solutions (USA), Inc., the majority declared a variety of policies and practices engaged in by the employer to violate employees’ Section 7 concerted activity rights. Among the policies challenged was a prohibition on posting on any social networking site “photographs, images, and videos” of employees at work.
The Administrative Law Judge upheld the policy, accepting the employer’s argument that the policy protected client privacy, while not preventing employees from engaging in protected concerted activity. The NLRB reversed this finding, concluding that the mere fact that a client uses security services and that a social media posting reveals this fact does not present a general privacy concern. The Board also stated without much elaboration that postings of photographs of employees in uniform at work could involve discussions among employees of terms and conditions of employment protected under Section 7.
When the new administration appoints a majority of NLRB members, the Board may discontinue its practice of challenging seemingly standard employment policies. For the time being, employers will continue to have their handbooks and other policies subject to legal challenge on the basis that employees may misconstrue them to limit their legal rights.