Social media plays a significant role in today’s society, affecting many people’s lives on a daily basis. The social media generation is either influencing others on this platform or being influenced. Microblogging and posting regular status updates has become a part of most people’s lives. It can be a funny incident of our daily life, celebrating a birthday or other milestone, a political viewpoint, or nearly any other musing. But when these social media posts have an impact on your educational or professional lives, things get complicated.
When you are an employee, you have a responsibility to that company or corporation to act or speak rationally about matters that may affect your employer. For example, blogging or creating social media posts about how much you hate your job or a colleague, or if you expose proprietary information, it can have negative consequences. It can irreparably harm your company or a co-worker, clearing an open path for them to file a lawsuit against you.
However, even as an employee, you have a right to hold personal opinions, as well as speak and act in ways that are not illegal. Unless you have broken the law, you have some legal protections with regard to social media as an employee.
Off-Duty Conduct Laws
A number of states protect you from legal actions by your employer regarding your activities outside of work, as long as those activities are lawful. The protected activities may include certain social media posts or blogging activities performed outside of your regular working hours.
Concerted Activity Protections
You are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if you are posting about or seeking advice regarding your job-related issues, such as discussing your employer’s terms and policies or potential corporate misconduct, such as low wages, excessively long working hours, or discrimination. If your employer tries to sue you for blog posts or social media posts about these issues, it may violate the NLRA.
Protections for Political Opinions
While America is a free country, there are only a handful of states within the country that provide legal protection for your politically oriented statements. If you are not located within one of these few states, your employer may hold you liable for any political comments you make on social media or any other public outlet. Be sure to understand your state’s laws regarding this matter before creating politically charged content.
Prohibitions on Retaliation
If an employer retaliates against you for reporting adverse conditions in your workplace, you may be able to take legal action against them. Your employer may not discipline you for social media posts or blog posts about certain negative conditions you face at your workplace, including workplace discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act violations, sexual harassment, overtime violations, wage violations, or other types of illegal activity.
If you raise a concern about your workplace or expose illegal activities through whistleblowing to the proper government authorities, you may be protected by state or federal law. If you are blogging about these activities or posting them on social media, it is often referred to as whistle-blogging.
Why Social Media Laws Are Essential?
Social media plays an essential role in society, even for people who are not regularly active on these platforms. Throughout the whirlwind of 2020 and 2021, events and news have spread like wildfire across social media. People have raised their voices against racism and to increase awareness about Covid-19. YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other platforms have saved many people from the monotony and silence that the lockdown could have created.
The Hollywood Lawyer, Entertainment Lawyer New York trusts, can help you if your employer brings legal action against you based on your social media activities or other online conduct. We can review your case and take the steps necessary to protect your job and your voice simultaneously. Learn more about the services we provide here.