James Wu - Social Media and Employment Law

James Wu

James Wu contributes a monthly column on Social Media and Employment Law. For over 15 years, James has provided day-to-day counseling and advice to employers regarding compliance with employment laws and reducing the risks of employment-related claims and lawsuits. He also provides strategic litigation services when claims and lawsuits do arise. After practicing at some of the nation's leading law firms, James opened his own law office in order to continue to provide his top-notch service at a much more reasonable rate for his clients. James earned his JD from Boston College Law School and both his BA and MA from Stanford University. +James Wu

Latest blog posts from James Wu

The U.S. EEOC Turns Its Attention To Social Media in the Workplace

social media in the workplace

The law surrounding social media in the workplace still lags a long way behind the ubiquitous use of social media.  While the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, and a few state legislatures and courts have been fairly active, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") is only now, finally, openly examining the many legal issues regarding … [Read more...]

Can “Social Media” and “Confidentiality” Co-exist in the Workplace?

social media

By its definition, "social media" focuses on communication, spreading the word, engaging readers, sharing, creating discussion and/or gaining attention.  And, humans have striven to perfect and master communication with others for centuries.  Even Wikipedia's explanation of "social media" points out that "one of the first signs of human social media was cave … [Read more...]

Social Media and Workplace Romances

social media

Do the words "workplace" and "romance" go together? What are some of the pitfalls with intimate relationships in the workplace? How does social media affect these romances and workplaces? In anticipation of Valentine's Day, this article focuses on relationships in the workplace, and what employers and employees should consider when falling in love (or having … [Read more...]

Workplace Woes During Weather Worries

workplace woes

Winter is here, at least in most parts of the United States.  Snow, ice, wind, and dangerously low temperatures are causing workplace woes from coast to coast.  Not only are offices shutting down, entire cities and communities are closed.  And, due to airline flight cancellations, employees attempting to return to work, or travel for business, have been … [Read more...]

Employee Was Properly Facebook Fired

facebook fired

Employers can take some comfort in a recent decision by an administrative law judge who ruled against a former employee who had engaged in protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA").  Regular readers of my posts should remember a few of my articles that explain how even private non-unionized workplaces are subject to the … [Read more...]

Beware A New Way Employers and Employees Could Be Liable For Texting On The Job


Texting, like email, Facebook posts and videos can get employees and employers into trouble.  The most common situations involve harassment, discrimination, and violations of confidentiality provisions.  However, because of a recent lawsuit in New Jersey, anyone who texts or emails another individual should now beware of the potential of being held liable … [Read more...]

New Password Protection Laws In the Workplace

Protection Laws In the Workplace

Did you know that a new social media password protection law went into effect on October 1, 2013?  And, do you know that two more similar laws will go into effect December 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014? These new laws apply to employers and employees in the states of Nevada, New Jersey, and Oregon, respectively.  Currently, there are at least thirteen … [Read more...]

Workplace BYOD Policy: One Size Does Not Fit All

byod policy

Technology continues to adapt, advance and take over our lives.  Apple will be releasing new iPhones and iPads soon, and loyal fans of Android devices (and other platforms) continually upgrade their gadgets with the latest releases.  The more that these gadgets are available, the more likely employees will bring these gadgets into the workplace and attempt … [Read more...]

4 Tips For Employers To Prepare For The New National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is back to full-strength for the first time in over a decade, and employers should beware.  Here's why:  Based on the past, and current events at the NLRB, it is highly likely the NLRB will re-start its aggressive focus regarding employer limits on social media in the workplace. First, the Past . . . The NLRB is a … [Read more...]

Social Media in the Workplace: 5 Reasons to Not Friend Co-Workers

social media in the workplace

Can you ever have too many "friends?"  The answer is "yes," if you indiscriminately accept and/or initiate friend requests with your co-workers and supervisors on your personal social media accounts.  Companies too, should counsel managers and supervisors regarding some of the pitfalls in "friending" co-workers, and especially subordinates. In my post of … [Read more...]

5 Tips On Job Transitions and Social Media Profile Management


Advice for Employers and Employees on Social Media Profile Management when Changing Jobs Last month, I wrote about some social media issues employees and employers face concerning non-solicitation agreements when an employee leaves one company and joins another.  In those situations, the departing employee is typically excited about his or her new job, and … [Read more...]

Social Media in the Workplace: 6 Tips Regarding Non-Solicitation Agreements


Companies want to protect their assets, including their trade secrets, their client/customer lists, and the company's most important asset:  its own workforce.  Companies invest significant resources to on-board new employees, put them through orientations, training sessions, retreats, and of course, provide them with salaries, commissions, benefits and … [Read more...]

Social Media and Employment Law: Lessons About Forking and Big Dongle Jokes


No naked pictures were posted.  No sexually charged words were Tweeted.  No demands for sexual favors were made. Typically, social media's role in sexual harassment has been to serve as "evidence" of inappropriate behavior; like someone posting a sexually explicit comment, or offensive pictures.  However, recently at PyCon 2013, "the largest annual … [Read more...]

Social Media and Employment Law: March Madness (and Yahoo!/Telecommuting) Causes Craziness In The Workplace


Sharpen those pencils!  March Madness is about to begin!  Are you ready?  Is your employer prepared?  Selection Sunday is only a few days away and brackets will be published shortly.  Here are some important tips for employers and employees about how to succeed in the workplace during March Madness.  (You may not win your office pool by reading this post, … [Read more...]

Social Media in the Workplace: Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior

A federal appeals court has declared that President Obama acted in violation of the U.S. Constitution.  Before I get to that case, and why it involves social media in the workplace, let's look at a hoax and at liars using social media. Lying on Your Resume Will End Up Hurting You (duh!) And Will Be A Gift To Your Employer (huh?) Let's focus for a … [Read more...]

6 Social Media New Year Resolutions for Employees and Employers


Eat healthier.  Ger more exercise.  Spend more time with the kids. Do you make resolutions for the new year?  If so, you probably focus on the items that focus on your family, health and prosperity.  Employees should also take the time to make some social media new year resolutions and how it impacts their workplace.  Companies too should keep some key … [Read more...]

Employers: More Employees With Personal Mobile Devices Means More Problems In The Workplace

social media and employment law

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone.  Shoppers are buying Smartphones, mini iPads, iPhones, Kindle Fires, and other gadgets at a record pace.  But what happens when employees decide to bring these shiny new toys into the workplace to show their friends and coworkers?  Worse, what happens when an employee tries to use these personal devices to … [Read more...]

First “Facebook Firing” Decision Issued by the National Labor Relations Board


I’ve written about the importance of the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) role in social media and employment law several times.  Usually, my posts describe how the NLRB and its General Counsel are finding employer practices or policies to be unlawful.  In its first decision regarding a “Facebook firing,” the NLRB surprisingly rules for the … [Read more...]

Employers: New California Law and New NLRB Decision On Social Media


September was a rather busy month for new developments regarding social media in the workplace.  In early September, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") issued its decision regarding various employee policies of Costco Wholesale Corp.  This is the first time the NLRB has issued a decision on many policies that typically appear in a company's social … [Read more...]

Social Media and Employment Law: Naked Twister and Litigating Employment Claims


These days, social media plays an important role in litigation, and particularly litigation of employment claims.  This is so because a typical plaintiff in an employment-related lawsuit is usually a fired employee who claims to have been wrongfully terminated, and/or unlawfully mistreated at the workplace.  Sometimes (and more often then you may think … [Read more...]