As Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms become more and more commonplace in the working world, the lines between personal and professional life are getting more blurred. Federal regulators are ordering employers to scale back policies that limit what workers can say online.
In a series of recent rulings and advisories, labor regulators have declared many blanket restrictions against using social media to talk about an employment issue or the employer illegal.
The National Labor Relations Board says workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution , whether the discussion takes place at the office or on Facebook.
In addition to ordering the reinstatement of various workers fired for their posts on social networks, the agency has pushed companies, including giants like GM and Target to rewrite their social media rules.
The NLRB's rulings which apply to all of the private sector, generally tell companies that it is illegal to adopt broad social media policies- like bans on "disrespectful" comments or posts that criticize the employer- if those policies discourage workers from exercising their right to communicate with one another with the aim of improving wages, benefits or working conditions.
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