Computer Use Policies – Are Your Company’s Illegal According to the NLRB?

4c00b10767cf8a5c15a4cde1b4c4f0a4_f120The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has continued its assault on businesses and their ability to legitimately protect their computer systems and information against unauthorized non-business use by employees.

A few weeks ago, I wrote 3 Important Points on Computer Policies in which I stressed (1) why your company must have them but (2) that such policy must comply with the NLRB’s Purple Communications case. The NLRB has struck again.

On May 3, 2016, an NLRB Administrative Law Judge struck down as overbroad a Computer Use Policy in Ceasars Entertainment Corporation d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino (NLRB Docket Sheet). The policy, titled Use of Company Systems, Equipment, and Resources, was part of the company handbook and stated that computer resources may not be used to do several things that were listed out and is standard in many similar policies. The NLRB decision (Decision) found that prohibitions against the following was illegal:

  • Share confidential information with the general public, including discussing the company, its financial results or prospects, or the performance or value of company stock by using an internet message board to post any message, in whole or in part, or by engaging in an internet or online chatroom
  • Convey or display anything fraudulent, pornographic, abusive, profane, offensive, libelous or slanderous
  • Send chain letters or other forms of non-business information
  • Solicit for personal gain or advancement of personal views
  • Violate rules or policies of the Company

The NLRB found that prohibiting the conduct mentioned above made the policy overbroad and could effectively limit employees’ use of their employer’s email system to engage in Section 7 communications during nonworking time. Because of that, it found the employer has engaged in an unfair labor practice prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act.

Welcome to Wonderland.

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is a business lawyer with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Protection Partner at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Periscope Piracy Sets Up Grudge Match: Hollywood vs. Twitter

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This is a prime example of the challenges that the law has when trying to keep up with evolving technology. The technology wins everytime and then we are left to clean up the mess later.

Variety

Forget Mayweather-Pacquiao. There’s a more interesting fight brewing between Twitter and Hollywood.

The piracy of Saturday’s welterweight boxing championship enabled by Periscope, a livestreaming app recently acquired by Twitter, is setting up a conflict that could be just as brutal.

HBO and Showtime, which partnered on what will likely be the most popular boxing pay-per-view event ever, took a one-two punch of their own Saturday. First, they watched multiple pay-TV distributors experience technical problems transmitting the fight, which probably cut into their sales total.

But what made matters even worse is that countless people who did pay for the fight used their smartphones to re-transmit the fight to users of Periscope and, to a lesser extent, rival app Meerkat. Each stream reached hundreds or thousands of non-paying fans with a picture quality that was shaky and pixilated, yet still quite adequate.

If Twitter CEO Dick Costolo understood the implications…

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Why Hackers Love Companies Who Use Social Media – The Point

I read an interesting article that discusses the intersection between social media and cybersecurity. The gist is that the bad guys use information they learn on social media (recall my lessons on business situational awareness) to engage in social engineering / spear phishing attacks based upon that intel. Read more: Why Hackers Love Companies Who Use Social Media.

New York Court Permits Service of Divorce Papers via Facebook

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Social Media SwirlJustice Matthew Cooper, of the Manhatten Supreme Court, made a landmark ruling that permits a woman to serve divorce papers on her estranged husband via Facebook messenger. In this case, it only makes sense to permit this:

  • The husband has deserted the wife
  • The husband has no fixed address or place employment
  • The husband’s only contact with the wife has been via telephone and Facebook
  • The wife has been diligent in trying to serve the husband but he has refused to make arrangements to accept service

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Judge says Brooklyn woman can use Facebook to serve divorce papers

This is an interesting development in the law. Just a couple of years ago, a Federal judge in New York refused to allow service via Facebook — and I blogged about that case as well as the then-ongoing debate in Texas about a legislative proposal to allow service of legal documents via social media. I am sure we will see more of it as this is the natural trend for the law to take.

-Shawn

Part 3 of Series: Simple Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Practice in One Hour

cordellHere is the third and final post in my 3 part series on Cordell Parvin’s blog: Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 3 | Cordell Parvin Blog.

If you missed them, here are the first two posts:

I also have several other posts where I discuss my coaching experience with Cordell — check them out and give him a call, he doesn’t bite! Here is his website and his blog.