Several commentators have identified the proliferation of social networking as one of most important new developments/challenges/obstacles that employers faced in 2009, and will continue to deal with in the foreseeable future.

Despite all the discussion in blogs and other places about this phenomenon, for those who do not spend lots of time in this arena,  there is not a clear understanding of what social networking really is, and what are the benefits and potential drawbacks for employers.

There are hundreds of sites and posts containing information and opinions about social networking.  But, for those who want to get started with some basic information, I commend you to the following sites:

First, is "Social Networking Policies: Best Practices for Companies", published in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.   This article answers basic questions such as, "what is social networking?", what are the benefits and risks?; are there any best practices? 

Second, is "The 3 Principles of Social Media: How to be a good online citizen, in the Delaware Employment Law Blog.   This post provides a good discussion of the purposes of social media and how it can be used effectively.

Third, is an overview of recent Federal Trade Commission regulations concerning the use of endorsement in advertising, and how those regulations could cause potential liability for companies whose employees use social networking.

 

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Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith represents public and private employers in a broad spectrum of employment law matters, including employment discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues, FMLA, whistle-blower claims, defamation, and union related issues.

Patrick is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer. He regularly appears in…

Patrick Smith represents public and private employers in a broad spectrum of employment law matters, including employment discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues, FMLA, whistle-blower claims, defamation, and union related issues.

Patrick is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer. He regularly appears in state and federal trial courts throughout Iowa, as well as before the Iowa Supreme Court, Iowa Court of Appeals, and United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He practices before administrative agencies with jurisdiction over employers, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Iowa Civil Rights Commission, and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Patrick litigates cases involving single plaintiffs, multiple plaintiffs, class actions, and collective actions.

Although a frequent litigator, one of Patrick’s goals is to help his clients avoid litigation. To that end, his practice includes consulting with employers on legal compliance, HR audits, drafting employment policies and handbooks, management training, and internal investigations. He is a frequent presenter on a wide range of employment law topics and publishes this blog.