Employee Blogging: The Growing Litigation Threat

Avoiding Direct and Vicarious Liability for Defamation, Retaliation and Discrimination

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This seminar will examine the legal risks for employers arising from employee blogging and will offer best practices to avoid problems and liability—without violating employee rights and privacy.

Description

Several lawsuits have been filed against employers in recent years alleging that they unlawfully restricted employee blogging or allowed employees to defame others in blog postings. Last year, Cisco Systems was sued for defamation after one of its attorneys blogged about opposing counsel.

Over 1.6 million posts are made to blogs daily. In blogs, employees have revealed confidential company information and disparaged their bosses, co-workers and the companies themselves.

Because blogging is a relatively new phenomenon, there is little court guidance for employers on the proper crafting and implementation of blogging policies that protect employers while respecting employees' rights.

Listen as our panel of employment law attorneys examines the legal risks for employers arising from employee blogging and offers best practices to avoid problems and liability—without trampling upon employee rights and privacy.

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Outline

  1. Current litigation trends
  2. Legal risks of under-restricting employees
    1. Vicarious liability for defamation and harassment
    2. Trade secret disclosure
    3. Hostile work environment claims
    4. Privacy issues
    5. Security issues
  3. Legal risks of over-restricting employees
    1. First Amendment claims
    2. Protection for employees under the National Labor Relations Act
    3. Protection for religious speech under Title VII
    4. State laws protecting employee off-the-job speech
    5. Unlawful termination claims
  4. Best practices for establishing and enforcing company blogging policies
    1. Do not allow anonymous blogging
    2. Establish policies for disclaimers
    3. Monitor blog content
    4. Restrict blogging about competitor companies without their permission
    5. Prohibit posting of confidential information
    6. Include statement regarding IP rights

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the main sources of liability risk for employers in employee blogging?
  • How can companies legally respond to employee blogs that harass or defame others—or disparage the employer?
  • How can employers avoid liability for the content of employee blogs, including those that aren't company-sponsored?
  • How can employers craft and enforce policies to protect themselves from liability for employee blogging without violating employees' free speech and privacy rights?

Faculty

M. Carter DeLorme
M. Carter DeLorme

Partner
Jones Day

He concentrates his practice in labor and employment relations litigation, dispute resolution and counseling matters....  |  Read More

Philip L. Gordon
Philip L. Gordon

Shareholder
Littler Mendelson

Mr. Gordon is the Chair of the firm's Privacy and Data Protection Practice Group. He has years of...  |  Read More

Kathryn Morris Willis
Kathryn Morris Willis

Partner
Burr & Forman

She regularly advises employers on leave issues, employee counseling, and policies and procedures. She has delivered...  |  Read More

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