Gerald Maatman Quoted in The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch
“A Little ‘Like’ Can Mean Big Trouble”
Seyfarth Shaw Labor and Employment partner Gerald Maatman was quoted in the June 4 edition of The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch regarding a U.S. district court in Virginia finding in a court case. The court found that “liking” a Facebook page was "insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection."
The article explains that a simple click of Facebook's "like" button can also set in motion a surprising and potentially negative chain of events. Recent cases provide insight on the repercussions at work for your behavior on sites such as Facebook. The article explains further that the National Labor Relations Act protects workers at most private-sector employers who discuss employment terms and conditions with co-workers, among other actions. On the other hand, the First Amendment generally applies only to public sector workers.
"There are lots of employers that are thinking about amending employee handbooks and termination protocols because now more and more employees are on Facebook at lunchtime–it's water cooler conversation like never before," Jerry said.
The article posits that although many employers prefer not to police social-networking sites, and investigate only when problems emerge, keep in mind that individual cases can be complicated, and workers aren't always protected.