Social Media and employment law

Six Million Likes Lead To A Lawsuit


Six Million Likes Lead To A Lawsuit

Employers often want their employees and/or contractors to promote their business via social media. Harnessing the power of a “share” and a “like” can be one of the best ways to raise the profile of any business. Perhaps because of the value of a “like,” an employer was recently sued by a former employee regarding the property interest in over six million “likes” on a Fan Page.

In my article titled “Employee Sues Employer Over Ownership of Six Million Likes” published by Maximize Social Business, I summarize and analyze the case of Mattocks v. Black Entertainment Television, LLC. and offer tips for employers to prevent a costly lawsuit regarding the ownership of “likes”, as well as employee-maintained social media sites.

One tip is to work with an employment law attorney as well as a social media strategist. My clients know that I take a holistic view of the employer’s health, and I will not hesitate to provide a referral to an excellent social media strategist (and other top-notch professionals), as needed. Let’s talk!

Employee Tweets Disliked By Federal Trade Commission


Employee Tweets Disliked By Federal Trade Commission

Employee advocacy, aka employee engagement via social media, has been a hot trend with marketers, PR professionals, and business owners. This is because, in many ways, a company’s own employees are the best folks to endorse and promote the company’s own products and services, as well as the products and services of clients and customers. However, harnessing this power takes advanced preparation, guidance and a thoughtful process.

Recently, Deutsch LA caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) when its employees used Twitter to promote a client’s product (Sony’s PS Vita game console). Specifically, the FTC alleged that various Deutsch LA employees posted positive tweets about the PS Vita to their personal Twitter accounts, without disclosing their connection to Deutsch LA or Sony (a client). The FTC charged that the employee tweets were misleading, as they did not reflect the views of actual consumers who had used the PS Vita, and because they did not disclose that they were written by employees of Deutsch LA.

In my January 2015 article titled “Employees’ Tweets Lead to FTC Enforcement” I explore the FTC’s allegations against Deutsch LA and provide some best practices for companies who have employees who use social media (so just about every employer).

Is LinkedIn Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?


Is LinkedIn Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

In my December 2014 post for Maximize Social Business, I explored some bad news for LinkedIn. First, in a new class action complaint filed in California (Sweet v. LinkedIn), LinkedIn is facing claims that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

The lawsuit involves LinkedIn’s “Reference Search” service, which is only available to premium account holders. The service identifies connections in the premium account holder’s network who share a common past employer with the job applicant.

So, essentially, it organizes, cross-references and provides information to premium account holders about those who might have some relevant information about the job applicant’s work at a prior employer.

The four named plaintiffs allege that they were denied jobs with prospective employers because those employers contacted other LinkedIn users identified by the “Reference Search” as having worked with them (and presumably, those identified LinkedIn users did not give positive feedback on the plaintiffs). To see more about this lawsuit, and my analysis of it, read my article titled: “Allegations of LinkedIn Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act“.

In my same post, I also analyze a $6 million settlement that LinkedIn entered into with the US Department of Labor regarding alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act due to the failure to pay employees all the time worked, including overtime, by those employees.

The Law On Social Media and Employment Is Still Evolving


The Law On Social Media and Employment Is Still Evolving

Social media and technology keep advancing at a rapid pace. The law has furiously been trying to catch up. For a short time, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) was at the forefront of creating the framework for social media and employment law. In June 2014, however, the U.S. Supreme Court stalled, at least temporarily, the NLRB’s efforts to create new guidance.

In my July 2014 post for Maximize Social Business, I briefly analyzed the case of National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning and how the Supreme Court will impact the NLRB’s progress. And, I specifically analyzed how this court decision will impact the landscape of social media and employment law. Only time will tell if the NLRB will catch up with its work before technology moves beyond today’s workplace technologies.

Sex, Social Media and Other Workplace Issues


Sex, Social Media and Other Workplace Issues

In honor of Valentine’s Day, my latest post for Maximize Social Business focuses on workplace romances. Relationships among co-workers sometimes shift from platonic to romantic. In fact, according to an online survey, a majority of respondents admitted to having some type of workplace romance.

While many of these relationships end in turmoil and wreck havoc in the workplace, employers and employees can take steps to avoid a messy situation. In my post titled Social Media and Workplace Romances I explore some of the obvious and not-so-obvious pitfalls involving romance in the workplace and a few policies and proactive steps employers can take to minimize the harmful impact of relationships gone wrong.