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Latest News - February 2011

February 25, 2011
Good news for employers in social networking rule
Source: HR Morning
By: Tim Gould

Employers can put limits on what employees can post on social media sites, according to a recent federal appeals court ruling.

The decision provides some balance for the National Labor Relations Board’s charge that a company violated labor laws after firing an employee who posted negative comments about her supervisor on Facebook.

That case was settled in the employee’s favor before it got to the hearing stage. And it made a lot of employers nervous about just how far they could go to set limits on employees’ use of social network sites.

Photos on Facebook

The earlier case, in heard in federal appeals court in Georgia, involved a probationary firefighter in Savannnah who posted photos of herself in uniform on her MySpace page.

Problem was, she also posted revealing photos of herself, including at least one in which she appeared to be nude.

An anonymous tipster let Savannah Fire Department officials know that the woman’s postings might conflict with the way the department wished to be portrayed.

Her superiors decided to give her an oral reprimand, the mildest step in the department’s progressive discipline process.

When confronted, however, the woman became “defensive and combative,” claiming she’d been singled out — other male firefighters had posted photos related to the department. But she refused to name them.

She was fired for insubordination.

The woman sued, claiming gender discrimination. That claim was dismissed.

But here’s the part that’s of real interest to employers:

The court confirmed that an employee can be fired for violating an employer’s policies on photos posted on a public website.



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