Social media has spread through society so quickly and thoroughly that it has created difficulties for a wide range of individuals. For employees, individuals must deal with the fact that private activities that only affected a few individuals can now be spread across the internet for all of the public, including their employers. For courts, judges must wrestle with fitting 21st century technology into an 18th century legal system with 20th century laws. For employers, new ways to monitor employees blur the lines between work and home and provide temptations for potentially discriminatory behavior.
The dangers to employees and employers are typified in two recent cases. In the first, an employee finds that she may not have been as serious as she thought when she posted on Facebook “FIRE ME . . . make my day. . . .” See Tasker Healthcare Group, d/b/a Skinsmart Dermatology, NLRB Div. of Advice, No. 4-CA-94222 (May 8, 2013) (thanks to Employment Law Matters, among others, for pointing this memo out). In the second case, an employer learned that even though it didn’t like what an employee posted, acting on it could be illegal. See Deneau v. Orkin, No. 11-00455-B (S.D. Ala. May 20, 2013) (thanks to the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog for pointing this case out).
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