One problem is that some companies have done just that, nothing to reduce the risk. Companies are reacting with disciplinary action without procedures in place to protect themselves. This is why we keep hearing about lawsuits in the news and main stream media. According to a Proofpoint survey in 2010, 24% of US companies (up from 17%) disciplined an employee for violating social networking policies and 7% reported terminating an employee for such violation (Proofpoint i). This is a high number when you look at the 2009 Deloitte survey of executives that shows only 22% of companies have formal policies that dictate how employees can use social networking tools (Deloitte 14). Many problems come from the fact that without a policy in place, companies cannot enforce disciplinary action. Having a policy in place protects a company from the risk of social media and from employee lawsuits.
Another problem is that companies have an unrealistic policy in place that bans the use of all social networks in the workplace. The company cannot regulate personal time and home computer use though. The current policy at the American Medical Response of Connecticut is that the employees cannot depict the company “in any way” on social media sites (Greenhouse). While this policy attempts to protect the company it is too broad and can be interpreted as illegal. It can potentially violate employee rights, hence why the labor board has become involved.
The National Labor Relations Act protects the rights of the employees to form unions, and it prohibits employers from punishing workers for discussing working conditions or unionization. When a policy as broad as “depicting the company in any way” is in place the