Tag Archives: computer use

What NOT to include in your social media policy

HR.BLR has a good list to keep in mind when drafting your social media policy.  Please read this very carefully.

Social Media Policies: What NOT To Do

When creating your social media policies, here’s what NOT to do:

  • Don’t screen applicants on social media and/or ask for passwords to such sites. “Increasingly [such practices] will be prohibited by both federal and state law,” Scott explained. Additionally, screening on social media opens the risk for discrimination claims based on protected class status that may be discovered in social media postings.
  • “Don’t adopt social media policies which are overbroad, or which unreasonably chill the exercise of protected concerted activity rights under the NLRA.” Scott continued.
  • Don’t fire or discipline employees for social media content without first reviewing with counsel to ensure you are not crossing the line. Remember that the line is moving quickly as technology changes!
  • Don’t use third-party apps that are overbroad in their access to applicant and employee information.
  • Don’t refuse to hire applicants (or fire or discipline employees) based on information culled from social media without checking with experienced legal counsel.

Social Media Policies: What TO Do

Here are some “dos” for social media policies

  • Create a current, effective and enforceable social media policy.
  • Instruct employees not to use vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating or harassing language; attack people based on protected status (e.g., union status or activity, disability, national origin, etc.); disparage company products and services; or disclose confidential or proprietary company information.
  • Create a companion privacy policy, establishing guidelines to prevent the disclosure of confidential employee or company information. Confidential employee information may include things such as home addresses, birthdays, employee personal data (including medical data), and protected status information. Company proprietary information could be financial, trade secrets, or other business information deemed confidential. (These lists contain examples, but are not comprehensive.)
  • Train employees about social media policies.
  • “Use a non-decision-maker to filter the contents of the social media page” if you do use social media as part of applicant screening, Semler advised. This is so you don’t get charged with the knowledge of protected status.
  • Monitor ongoing legal developments and conform your practices to those changes. For example, monitor the constantly changing laws, regulations and rules established and implemented by federal and state legislatures, agencies and courts.

via What NOT to include in your social media policy.

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Computer Use At Work

Employers usually have computer usage policies, which detail that employees can only use computers for work-related purposes.  In other words, employees cannot access social networking websites or other unrelated websites.  In my practice, I have observed employers monitor and track employees’ computer usage.

A new wrinkle to the computer usage scenario has popped into the Circuit courts.  United States v. Nosal, 10-cv-10038 (9th Cir. 2012), examined the issue of criminalization of improper computer usage by an employee.  The issues presented at the court where as follows:

Does an employee who violates such a policy commit a federal crime?  How about someone who violates the terms of service of a social networking website?

In summary, the Ninth Circuit held that under a strict scrutiny read of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 USC 1030, Congress did not intend to criminalize computer use exceeding authorized access.  The Ninth Circuit agreed with the district court that “[t]here is simply no way to read [the definition of ‘exceeds authorized access’] to incorporate corporate policies governing the use of information.”  In other words, the CFAA, the anti-hacking statute, is not an expansive misappropriation statute.

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