Can an Employer Control an Employee’s Use of Social-Media?
If the employee is at work and using computers owned by the employer, the general answer is yes. Work if for working; not for using social media. Generally, employers are within their rights to regulate social-media use on work time if they do so for work-related reasons and apply the rules evenhandedly to all employees. Off-hour use of social-media might be regulated if an employee’s initial and continued employment are subject to written social-media policies.
There are important exceptions. Under and Minnesota’s Wage Disclosure Protection law no employer can prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their own wages. Even if the employer has no union employees, the National Labor Relations Act may prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for using social-media to discuss wages or work conditions with other employees.
For sample language to include in your employee handbook, or if you have questions about other employment law issues, contact Will Partridge at Farrish Johnson Law Office at 507-625-2525.