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LawCrossing Legal Daily News Feature
Section 7, National Labor Relations Act and Employer’s Social Media Policy A union representing workers at the Stop & Shop grocery chain in New York has filed a petition this week to the National Labor Relations Board office, Brooklyn. The petition alleges that the grocery chain’s social media policy was “impermissibly vague, overbroad and violated Section 7 rights of employees” of the National Labor Relations Act.
According to Patricia McConnell, the lawyer representing the union, “The mere maintenance of
The United Food and
the policy violates the law, whether it’s enforced in
Commercial Workers Local
discipline,” or not.
1500 alleges that the social media policy of Stop & Shop, published in July, forbids workers from disclosing
Arny Murphy-St. Laurent, the spokeswoman for
confidential information on social networking sites such
Stop & Shop told the media that the social media
as Facebook or Twitter. Such ‘confidential information’
policy of the store was simply to provide “reasonable
also includes the personal salaries of workers.
guidelines” during their social media activity. There is no infringement as the policy also states in small print
The new social media policy of Stop & Shop also forbids
that the guidelines are not to be used in violation of the
employees about discrediting the store’s practices or
products on social networks. Surprisingly, in a GestapoBut then why post such guidelines at all?
like requirement, the new social media policy also requires employees to inform managers of colleagues who violate the policy. Disciplinary measures for
The NLRB has been moving to clarify employer’s
violating the social media policy extend to termination
obligations under the NLRA regarding social media
of concerned employees.
policies. The body issued a report in January detailing recent enforcement actions related to social media
Can an employer really pass such rules that control
issues in the workplace.
freedom of speech of its employees on their personal The NLRB recently found in at least six cases before
accounts on social media? Does seem absurd.
it that the social media policies of employers were The union alleges that Stop & Shop violated the
“overbroad,” contained unlawful language or illegally
collective bargaining rights of the employees by not
limited the activities of employees infringing their rights
consulting the union before passing and enforcing such
under the NLRA.