Time & Attendance
Prevent Call Outs
Implementation & Launch
By Staff Report
Oct. 16, 2012
Courts and businesses are grappling over the issue of who owns a social media account—the company or the employee responsible for maintaining it. The most high-profile case is the ongoing dispute between PhoneDog and Noah Kravitz over the company’s Twitter account (which Kravitz took with him when he resigned).
Last week, Eagle v. Moran [pdf] tossed its hat into the ring on this issue.
During 2008, while Dr. Linda Eagle was president of Edcomm, she established an account on Linkedin, which she used to promote Edcomm’s services, foster her reputation as a businesswoman, reconnect with family, friends, and colleagues, and build social and professional relationships. A co-worker had access to Eagle’s password and assisted her in maintaining her account. Edcomm, through its CEO, recommended that all employees participate in Linkedin and indicated that employees should list Edcomm as their current employer. Edcomm generally followed the policy that when an employee left the company, the company would “own” the Linkedin account and could “mine” the information and incoming traffic, so long as it did not steal the ex-employee’s identity.
On June 20, 2011, Edcomm terminated Eagle, accessed her LinkedIn account and changed her password, and changed the account to display the name and photograph of its new CEO.
The court dismissed Eagle’s federal statutory claims, but refused to dismiss her state law misappropriation claims. Trial starts today.
What are the takeaways for businesses deciding how to deal with the ownership of corporate social media accounts? I have some thoughts, but Eric Meyer, at the Employer Handbook Blog, beat me to it:
More succinctly, I can sum up the one key takeaway for employers and the one key takeaway for employees:
Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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