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New York City employment defense lawyerIn 2020, social media is a regular part of life for most Americans, and some even use it to perform work-related activities. However, social media activity can also often be a source of conflict between employers and employees, and in some cases it can lead to employee discipline or even termination. If you are facing discipline from your employer due to your social media use, an employment defense attorney can help you understand your rights.

Policies and Laws Regarding Employee Social Media Use

Due to the increased prevalence of social media, many employers now have social media and electronic communication policies that address issues including social media use during work hours, content that employees may or may not share on social media, and the monitoring of work email and other activities on work-issued electronic devices. If your employer has such a policy, you may have been asked to agree to it at the time you were hired or when the policy was created. This consent is a crucial component in justifying an employer’s discipline of an employee for any social media activity that may violate the policy.

However, there are some situations in which the legality of disciplining an employee for social media use may be called into question. For example, federal laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Stored Communications Act (SCA) provide protections from the interception of or access to electronic communications without the sender’s consent, such as in cases in which access was acquired surreptitiously or through the use of force. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) also protects employees from discrimination for using social media for the purposes of collective bargaining, and appeals court rulings have held that employee communication with legal counsel may also be protected from employer surveillance.

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