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April 18, 2014

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Settles Claims Based on Employer's Social Media Policy

In keeping with the National Labor Relations Board’s continuing efforts to target social media policies that violate the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB reached a settlement last month with the Koch-owned company, Georgia-Pacific.  The settlement required Georgia-Pacific to repeal its social media policy and to revise its acceptable use, code of conduct, intellectual property, and outside requests for information policies, to ensure that their rules do not prohibit employees from sharing terms and conditions of employment, such as wages and hours of work.  The initial Charge was filed on July 31, 2012, by the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers.  Georgia-Pacific’s social media policy allegedly warned employees that “[e]ven if your social media conduct is outside of the workplace and/or non-work related, it must not reflect negatively on GP's reputation, its products, or its brands." 

The NLRB has focused attention on social media issues since 2010, when it began receiving Charges related to social media policies and discipline for Facebook postings.  Since then, the NLRB has issued a series of three reports regarding dozens of cases involving social media issues.  The third report provides the entire text of a social media policy that the NLRB found to be lawful.  Employers, union and non-union alike, should consider reviewing their social media and other policies to be sure that they do not run afoul of the NLRA.  (See 10 DOs and DON'Ts for Employer Social Media Policies).

© 2014 Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.

About the Author

Timothy M. McConville, Labor Law Attorney, Odin Feldman Law Firm
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Tim McConville has years of experience providing labor and employment law counsel to employers ranging from small entities to Fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees. He brings a unique perspective to his management-side labor and employment practice because he understands the viewpoint of the individual employee based on his extensive experience advocating and representing individuals victimized by organized labor while he was a leader at the National Right to Work Committee and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. His clients rely on his ability to help them...

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