Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace

This past week Gray Plant Mooty lawyers, in collaboration with the State of Minnesota, published A Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace. This Guide follows our publication last year, A Legal Guide to Technology Transactions.  

As businesses increasingly utilize social media they face new and evolving legal issues. Whether they collect customer information, use social media to screen employees, market, blog, or use text messaging, they should have a basic understanding of the applicable laws and regulations.  As an employer, you could also have vicarious liability for the actions of your employees. Nobody is immune from the legal risks inherent in the access to and use of personal information and social media.

You could unknowingly be risking your most valuable trade secrets, become liable for unfair or deceptive trade practices, engage in defamation, violate employment or labor laws, infringe someone else’s intellectual property rights, or assume any number of other risks. Reputation, brand equity, and goodwill can quickly evaporate or be tarnished through unauthorized use of social media.

This new Social Media Guide highlights some of the legal issues a business or organization should consider when using social media in the workplace and offers guidance on best practices and ways to mitigate risk.  

On August 28, Gray Plant Mooty will be hosting a related workshop and webinar.  To see more information regarding the workshop, click here.

Workshop attendees will receive a free copy of A Legal Guide to The Use of Social Media in the Workplace.

The Guide is also available for free (hard copy or CD-ROM) by calling either the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Small Business Assistance Office (651) 556-8425 or Gray Plant Mooty (612) 632-3000. You can also view and download a copy here.


  1. Michael, Nice resource. It is interesting to read and identify the many potential areas of concern with respect to social media and the workplace. It seems like each and every one will eventually play out in the courts. Do you think it will all happen in 5 years? 10? Longer or shorter?

  2. Thanks David. I am confident that we will find more and more litigation regarding these issues with increased state and federal legislation. No set timetable but it seems to change by the month. See the Fraley v. Facebook class action suit that settled last week.What is of most concern is the approach taken by the NLRB that is inconsistent with appropriate and necessary business practices of health care related and high tech companies. Stay tuned as it promises to get even more interesting in the months and years ahead.