Now that we’ve published a chapter on the topic in Jon Hyman’s excellent collaboration “Think Before You Click: Strategies for Managing Social Media in the Workplace,” it seems everyone wants to issue reports on social media and the National Labor Relations Board.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its report, “A Survey of Social Media Issues Before the NLRB.”  Today, the Board itself got into the act, as Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has issued General Counsel Memorandum OM 11-74 (Aug. 18, 2011), a "Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media Cases."

In his introduction to the report, AGC Solomon states:

This report presents recent case developments arising in the context of today’s social media. Social media include various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources. These tools can encompass text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications. Recent developments in the Office of the General Counsel have presented emerging issues concerning the protected and/or concerted nature of employees’ Facebook and Twitter postings, the coercive impact of a union’s Facebook and YouTube postings, and the lawfulness of employers’ social media policies and rules. This report discusses these cases, as well as a recent case involving an employer’s policy restricting employee contacts with the media. All of these cases were decided upon a request for advice from a Regional Director.

I hope that this report will be of assistance to practitioners and human resource professionals.

We agree that there is enough information on these issues now out there that employers can assess and address potential exposure.  This report also does provide an interesting insight into the way Board personnel analyzed each of fourteen highlighted cases. 

It might be a little more help to practitioners and HR professionals to match up the unnamed case studies here with the Board cases at issue.  At a quick first glance, the first case outlined appears to be Hispanics United of Buffalo, Case No. 3-CA-27872; the second, the infamous American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc., 34-CA-12576; the third, Karl Knauz Motors, Inc., Case No. 13-CA-46452; the fifth, Lee Enterprises, Inc., Case No.28-CA-23267; the sixth, JT’s Porch Saloon, Case No. 13-CA-46689; the eighth,  Martin House, Case No. 34-CA-12950; and, the ninth,  Wal-Mart, Case No. 17-CA-25030.

Both this report and the U.S. Chamber’s report are useful additional resources in this quickly developing area.  If you are interested in more information, please also check out "Think Before You Click" or register for the West LegalEd webinar on this topic next Wednesday, August 24.