Does your dealership have a social media policy? It should

Does your dealership have a social media policy? It should

Every dealer should have a policy about employee communications in digital and social media. If one is in place, when was the last time it was reviewed? Here are two important reasons to have a policy and review it regularly:

« Digital communications change constantly. There are often changes to existing programs and introductions of new programs, new apps and new challenges.

« Regulatory oversight of your practices is increasing and changing. For example, the National Labor Relations Board has issued several decisions about employer policies prohibiting limitations that the NLRB views as interfering with open communication by employees about working conditions. Another example: Communications during non-work hours could lead to overtime claims by some employees.

Here are three common misconceptions dealers have, with an explanation of whatês correct:

– A dealerês social media policy may not be written so broadly that it prohibits employees from making comments that impact the companyês reputation or brand even if they are negative. The NLRB views such broad prohibitions as improperly inhibiting worker communications.

– Because employees must be allowed freedom to discuss employment matters, a dealerês social media policy may not require employees to identify themselves in their post. The NLRB views such prohibitions as overly broad. Employees could reasonably construe such a requirement to cover comments about the terms and conditions of employment. A self-identification requirement would interfere with what the NLRB views as protected activity in various social media outlets.

– A dealershipês social media policy may not include a prohibition of language –inappropriate in polite conversation.” Again, the NLRB views such a prohibition as too broad. It could be seen as a prohibition on discussion of employment practices and working conditions. A business may prohibit cursing and similar offensive language, but the policy should be explicit about what is prohibited.

Thanks to Michael Charapp of Charapp and Weiss, LLP for this information. It should not be used as legal advice. For questions about specific situations, one should consult his/her own attorney.

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