People in the workforce who use Facebook are starting to "snitch" on colleagues who post pejorative comments about their mutual employers on the social-media site. The "tattlers" have begun showing derogatory postings to human resources, either with printouts or via their smartphones or computers. HR professionals report that they are forced to confront this issue with ever-increasing frequency, underscoring the importance of staying current with National Labor Relations Board rulings on social media.

Steven W. Suflas, a labor and employment partner in Ballard Spahr's New Jersey office, stated, “Many HR professionals do not realize that [even] in a nonunion workforce, the National Labor Relations Act rules apply.” The NLRB rules “protect concerted activities by employees,” which means employees can vent about work—up to a point.

The trend toward "snitching" highlights the importance of social-media policies and related training for HR departments. Yet a 2011 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 60 percent of HR professionals say their company lacks a policy.

Related Practice