Social Media Policies Case Study

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Careers Type: Case Study Paper: #56580886 Related Topics: Costco, Social Worker, Social Work, Media
Excerpt from Case Study :

Social Media

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made its first social media-related ruling. The board adjudicated a case against Costco, and in this case the NLRB struck down Costco's social media policy as standing in violation of the workers' right to free speech (Little, 2012). The Board found that Costco's policy on social media usage was overly broad. The policy held that employees were prohibited from posting statements that "damage" the company and the policy was incorporated into the Costco Employment Agreement. The NLRB held that this policy was too broad. Specifically, some forms of speech by workers are considered to be protected speech. Protected speech includes work-related complaints, which are given this protection so that they can communicate their grievances both to other employees and to the company. This protection is related to the workers' legal right to organize.

The NLRB applies the same standards to protected labor speech as judges do to First Amendment cases. This interpretation is explained in the following passage: "Costco's policy had a reasonable tendency to inhibit employees' protected activity" (Godard, 2012). Essentially, if an employee cannot reasonably understand the difference...


That outcome appears to have been a key motivation for Costco. However, if there is a chance that an employee will feel uncomfortable making protected speech for fear of punishment under vague rules, those rules are in violation of the applicable code that protects the speech. The doctrine of "no infringement," meaning real, perceived or potential, is being applied here by the NLRB.

2. I agree with the NLRB on this decision. The wording in Costco's employee agreement was far too vague. The wording seemed as though the employee could be subject to punishment for any statement on social media that a Costco manager could construe as negative or damaging to the company. Such rules are not allowed to be vague and subjective, because subjective application of the rule could see employees being punished for protected speech. Even the legal definition of protected speech in this instance is somewhat vague. Thus, neither Costco nor the National Labor Relations Act can clearly differentiate between protected and unprotected speech in all instances. As a result, neither can employees. Given that there can be no infringement of any sort on protected labor speech, Costco's blanket statement in the employment agreement thus violates the NLRA.

It is important for workers…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

Little, L. (2012). Fired for FB, tweets? NLRB ruling draws lines. ABC News. Retrieved November 11, 2012 from

Godard, L. (2012). Does your social media policy pass muster with the NLRB? Social Media Today. Retrieved November 11, 2012 from

Cite this Document:

"Social Media Policies" (2012, November 11) Retrieved June 12, 2021, from

"Social Media Policies" 11 November 2012. Web.12 June. 2021. <>

"Social Media Policies", 11 November 2012, Accessed.12 June. 2021,

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