It's no secret that Americans "like" social media. About 56 percent -- or nearly 175 million -- have a profile on social-media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. But, many employers are leery -- if not, panicky -- about their employees' use. In fact, a whopping 42 percent have prohibited workers from using social media altogether, according to a recent survey by salary information site PayScale.
In doing so, however, they may be running afoul of federal labor law, since employees' use of social media is protected by the National Labor Relations Act. The law allows workers to engage in "concerted activities" to discuss wages and working conditions with co-workers, says the National Labor Relations Board, which issued its third and latest report on employers' social-media rules two weeks ago.
The report found that of seven such policies examined by the agency, six were found to have provisions that were unlawful. One example, the board cited, was that of a national retailer, which had a written policy in its handbook telling employees not to "release confidential guest, team member or company information."
The NLRB ruled that such language was "overbroad" and therefore illegal because it could "reasonably be interpreted as prohibiting employees from discussing and disclosing information regarding their own conditions of employment, as well as the conditions of employment of employees other than themselves -- activities that are clearly protected by [the act]."
For more on the findings from PayScale's survey of employers and their social media policies, check out the infographic below.
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