NLRB rules GM's social media policy violates labor law

Michael P. Tremoglie Jun. 5, 2012, 9:23am

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that General Motors' social media policy for employees violated the National Labor Relations Act.

Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon alleged that portions of GM's social media policy violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA because "they are facially overbroad and would reasonably be construed by employees to prohibit the exercise of their Section 7 rights." Section 7 permits employees the right to organize, bargain collectively, and go on strikes, picketing and concerted activities.

One of the provisions to which the NLRB objected one that "prohibits employees from revealing non-public company information on any public site, including any topic related to the financial performance of the company, information that has not already been disclosed by authorized persons in a public forum, and personal information about other GM employees such as his or her... performance, compensation, or status in the company."

The NLRB said, "Several aspects of this provision raise concerns of interference with employees' Section 7 rights. First, confidentiality policies may chill employees' exercise of protected activities. The central question is whether employees would reasonably read a rule on confidentiality as prohibiting a discussion of wages and working conditions, or would reasonably understand the rule to protect the employer's legitimate interest in the confidentiality of its private information."

GM did not say if it would appeal.

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