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BFA506 Business Law

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Task

With the advent of social media, new issues have arisen regarding the employer’s right to limit what the employee posts on social media. Many employers have adopted Employee Handbooks that contain written policies regarding what an employee may post during his off time on his own computer via social media.

Costco adopted a policy that restricted an employee from posting any statement that would damage the company, harm another person’s reputation, or violate the company’s policies. Employees that violated this restriction would be fired. When this policy was reviewed by the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB ruled the policy violated federal labor law by restricting the employee’s right to engage in “concerted activities.”

However, a fireman that was dismissed from the job for violating the department ‘s social media policy and the court ruled that the policy was enforceable and ruled for the employer.

The issue is whether an employer should be allowed to restrict what an employee may post on social media during his off time and on his own computer. There are cases that support the conflicting opinions described above. Discuss the reasons offered to support such restrictive policies and the reasons such policies should be overturned. Specifically address the following:

1-Is the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech absolute?

2-Does it make a difference if the employer is a government agency as compared to a private employer? Should it?

3-Is this an area that the legislature should attempt to resolve legislatively? Why or why not?

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