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Regulatory Developments

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a meeting on March 12, 2014, focused on the use of social media in the workplace.  SHRM member Jonathan Segal, partner at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia, testified on behalf of the Society at the commission’s meeting.

In short, the commissioners were interested in learning about the variety of ways that social media is used in the workplace and about the possible legal and employment law issues that could arise through its use.  At the outset of the hearing, the EEOC commissioners made clear that they were not planning guidance or rulemaking in this area, but rather sought a better understanding of the changing landscape on social media in the workplace.

Discussion with the panel of experts moved well beyond recent concerns about employer requests for passwords (a practice now banned in 12 states) and focused on a broader discussion of the impact of social media, both in employment and litigation.  SHRM’s testimony presented information from SHRM survey research that measured employer use of social media for recruitment and hiring, brand recognition and marketing purposes, as well as for employee engagement and workplace flexibility.  The testimony also emphasized that “as with other background checks, it is not the ‘looking’ that is the legal issue.  The legal issue is what the employer does, or does not do, with what it discovers.” 

To view a copy of SHRM’s prepared text, please click HERE.

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