by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
There is a whole new cyber world out there that has yet to be tamed by corporations and law officials. No, this is not about who is and is not on Facebook. ‘Bout every business and seemingly everybody is on Facebook. This is about what is being said on the popular social network and how that should or should not affect your job. The Huffington Post reports:
“The federal agency tasked with enforcing labor law has been fielding complaints from workers across the country who have been fired or disciplined for their work-related indiscretions on Facebook. Although the feds have taken up the cases of a number of jaded workers, others have essentially been told they have no one to blame for their workplace troubles but themselves.”
The big question that authorities are trying to answer is whether or not you should be punished or even fired in the workplace for something you say online regarding your job. Primarily, the NLRB has been handling these cases. Tina Hsu, a lawyer working in the area of employment and social media says, “The NLRB is the one making big splashy decisions, and people are drawing conclusions from those…They seem to be trying to discern whether private or non-work postings are having an adverse effect on the workplace. That’s a difficult or blurry line to draw.”
Even the NLRB is navigating these waters on a case by case basis — kind of making up the rules as they go along. Whereas that does not sound official, what more can one do when there are currently no laws that state how such cases should be handled? Social networks are a relatively new thing to deal with in the realm of law and employment. As stated by a spokesperson for NLRB, “It’s new territory.”
That said, knowing how previous cases have been handled by the NLRB is more beneficial for law authorities, employers, and employees than not having anything at all. The Huffington Post reports, “According to Cleeland, the NLRB will probably release its report on Facebook cases sometime in the coming weeks. Careful not to call it a guide, Cleeland said it will merely detail particular complaints that have come before the agency and what the outcomes were.” As Hsu says, “employers and workers alike could use a little guidance on social media, however small….You can’t stick your head in the sand and tell your workers to abstain [from talking about work on Facebook]. They’re not going to. A lot of people growing up, they don’t know anything but communicating through Facebook. You have to teach them how to navigate this new area.”
Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.