We use social media all the time. Make it a point during the day to notice how often you see a friend or colleague checking a Facebook update or sending a tweet (or giving you a three-star rating on the new Peeple app). People are on social media all day; on the phone at a bus stop, in class during a lecture, killing time before a meeting, and sometimes even on a computer in the office. Indeed, the office water-cooler talk has effectively been replaced with the office Instagram page. Some businesses even have their own social media page as an attempt to grow business and connect with a larger market share. Other businesses routinely use social media for research, recruiting, and facilitation of multi-office workplaces. But with the many benefits social media can provide, employers must be incredibly careful when navigating the web of laws that could impact social media privacy during workplace investigations.
Social media, for all of its benefits, provides employees additional ways to engage in inappropriate conduct. An employee may contribute to a hostile work environment if he or she posts a discriminatory statement, racial slur, or sexual innuendo directed at a co-worker, manager, customer, or vendor. Employee postings of gossip and false statements about co-workers could create unrest in the workplace and lead to a defamation claim. Finally, because social media can broadcast to a large audience, employees could create significant legal troubles for the company by inadvertently (or in the case of a disgruntled employee, purposely) revealing proprietary or confidential information. And the consequences are not limited to just employee activities; similar activities by management can cause even more legal concerns.
Advertising and Media
November 20, 2015
People may choose to avoid social media for any number of reasons. Refusing to engage with social media does not make you a luddite or old-fashioned. Instead, the decision to minimize one’s online presence is often a reflection of that individual’s desire to maximize his or her privacy. After all, no one will ever take your right to privacy more seriously than you; privacy starts with the individual. But now, the world might be able to learn just as much about you whether you have willingly elected to participate in social media or not.
Next month, a new mobile app called “Peeple” will launch. Peeple is being advertised as the “Yelp for people.” Just like anyone can use Yelp to rate a restaurant, anyone can use Peeple to rate a person. Anyone, anywhere, at anytime can download the app and upload a rating and review for any relative, friend, or acquaintance… whether that relative, friend, or acquaintance has consented or not. That’s right: users can assign reviews and one- to five-star rating to anyone the user knows: an ex-boyfriend, a co-worker, the bully from middle school, that annoying neighbor that refuses to respect personal space, etc. And, there is no opt out. This means that individuals cannot control whether their name is featured on the website. Once someone submits a review or rating for you, it is there permanently unless the site’s terms of service are violated. Oh, and the subject of the review cannot delete bad or biased reviews. Scared yet?
Advertising and Media
October 21, 2015
This past Friday, October 16, 2015, the Ohio State Bar Association hosted its annual Law & Media Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Faruki Ireland & Cox P.L.L. was among the sponsors of this event, which brings together journalists, judges, lawyers, academics, and others from across the country to discuss hot topics in media law. FIC partners Jeff Cox and Erin Rhinehart participated as moderators of panels that discussed the Dayton Bench-Bar Media Forum, as well as drones’ impact on news reporting and privacy rights. FIC’s Scot Ganow also participated as a speaker on the panel discussing drones. Chris Hollon, a member of the OSBA Law & Media Committee, attended the event.
The conference is organized each year by the OSBA Law & Media Committee, with significant support from OSBA staff. Erin Rhinehart will be the Committee’s Vice Chair in 2016.
For more information on this conference, see https://www.ohiobar.org/ForPublic/Pages/StaticPage-1334.aspx, and follow @FICMediaLaw to stay current on all things media law.
Advertising and Media
October 19, 2015