Employers May Be Held Liable for Employees' Cyberbullying
The article “Employers May Be Held Liable for Employees’ Cyberbullying,” featured on SHRM, discussed how employers can be held liable for employees cyberbullying if it connects back to the workplace.
Peter Gillespie provide his input on creating stand-alone cyberbullying policies.
Peter cautioned employers to make sure that their efforts to prevent cyberbullying don’t violate the National Labor Relations Act.
“Courts have found that online platforms were merely extensions of the workplace,” he said. “The fact that the conduct may have been occurring during off hours and online did not prevent aggrieved employees from bringing claims.”
But don’t take social media at face value, Gillespie cautioned. As a prank, a third party could create a social media profile purporting to be a company manager harassing subordinates, he added.
Employers also need to proceed carefully when trying to stem online bullying to ensure that they don’t run afoul of the NLRA, Peter said.
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that many employer policies that could be used to prevent workplace cyberbullying may violate Section 7 of the NLRA, which protects an employee’s right to engage in concerted activity, he explained.
Policies should be drafted to clarify that they are intended to prohibit abusive behavior without interfering with an employee’s rights, he said.
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