Drafting Reasonable Social Communications Policies for Employees

When drafting social communications (e.g., Tweeting, posting on Facebook or blogs, etc.) policies for your employees, it is important to be specific in your language. The law recognizes a fine line between the employer’s desire to manage what their employees publicly say about the company, and the employees’ freedom of speech. Of course, certain situations allow employers to clamp down more broadly on what employees say publicly about the company — particularly if the company is seeking investment, as there can be significant securities laws restrictions on what the company (or its employees) can publicly say, and at the moment you certainly don’t want the company to be accused of making a general solicitation for investment.

Otherwise, you must specifically define what you don’t want your employees saying in the social and public space. If you prohibit employees from disclosing confidential information, you need to define what information is confidential. If you want to prevent a disgruntled employee from posting disparaging comments about the company online, you should provide examples of what kind of disparaging comments are not allowed to be made. And be careful not to restrict employees’ rights to voice their opinions about the company outside of work — that may be construed as infringing too far upon their freedom of speech. Finally, you must be careful not to too broadly restrict employees’ interactions with each other through social communication or acting in a concerted through social communication, which can violate employees’ collective action rights.