Fort Worth Business Press Guest Article: Social Media Employment Law Evolving


In the past year, the trend of employees using social media in ever-exceedingly creative ways has continued. One of the more recent examples of this creativity is an employee who resigned by submitting an interpretive dance video to Kanye West’s “Gone” to her employer through YouTube. Like employee social media use, employment law concerning social media continues to evolve and change, with courts applying existing law to employee social media use. One area of existing law that several courts applied to employee social media use in 2013 is the general right of public employees to exercise free speech without being retaliated against based on that speech. In September 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether sheriff’s department employees’ “liking” the sheriff’s political opponent’s campaign page was a form of First Amendment protected speech. The court equated “liking” a Facebook campaign page to displaying a political yard sign, which has previously been determined to be protected speech, and held that Facebook “likes” are a form of First Amendment protected speech. Consequently, for public employers, “liking” something on Facebook has just been added to the list of things for which public employers may not be able to discipline or terminate an employee.

Excerpted from the Fort Worth Business Press, December 9, 2013. To view full article, click here.

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