The NLRB Shops at Costco. Says Dish Network Can’t Stop Employee ‘Dissing’

This post was written by Joel S. Barras and Eugene K. Connors

Employers, what do you need to do NOW? You need to scrutinize your social media policies!

Employers cannot forbid employees from disparaging their employers – at least not with overly broad and sweeping restrictions. An NLRB Administrative Law Judge, following the lead of the NLRB from its recent decision in Costco Wholesale Inc., invalidated social media and other employment policies of DISH Network, Inc. The invalidated policies (1) prohibited employees from disparaging the company on social media sites; (2) required preapproval from management before speaking about the company to the media or at public meetings; and (3) limited employee communication with government agencies. You can read the actual decision here.

President Obama’s re-election will undoubtedly translate into increased scrutiny on employer social media and other personnel policies. For example, under continued attack will be certain types of at-will employment status, classification of independent contractors, requiring confidentiality during investigations of alleged workplace misconduct, the viability of class action waivers and agreements to arbitrate in employee handbooks, and individual employment agreements.

You can read our full Social Media White Paper on the impact of Social Media on the business community. In addition, some of our previous blog posts containing more in-depth analyses of these issues and other recent NLRB attacks on employer policies, including our update on employment issues, can be found here.

So what are you waiting for . . . dust off those social media policies, read these materials and make sure your policies aren’t the next ones "dissed" by the NLRB. As always, if you need help or more information, contact Joel S. Barras or Eugene K. Connors. Of course, you can always contact me, Joseph I. Rosenbaum, or any of the Rimon lawyers with whom you regularly work.