Social Media and Labor and Employment Law

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The impact of Social Media on contemporary America is undeniable when movies like The Social Network, a story about the genesis of major social networking site Facebook, can win 3 Oscars and be nominated for 5 more. These sites – however influential – pose risks for employers and employees alike. Imagine how many liability-creating messages there must be among the 25 billion “tweets” sent through the Twitter service in 2010.



Social Media and Labor &
Employment Law


Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Esq.
Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC
Universal Building South
1825 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Suite 640
Washington, D.C. 20009-5728
(202) 588-5300
(202) 588-5023 (Iax) (website) (blog)



Table of Contents
I. Overview ............................................................................................................................ 1
A. What is Social Media? ................................................................................................... 1
B. For more in-depth resources, see: ................................................................................... 5
C. Initial Inquiries .............................................................................................................. 6
D. Employee`s Lawyer`s Obligations ................................................................................. 6
E. Employer`s Counsel ....................................................................................................... 7
F. What Employer Ought Not Do ....................................................................................... 7
II. Employment Decisions and Social Media ............................................................................ 8
A. Hiring ............................................................................................................................ 8
B. Firing ........................................................................................................................... 10
1. Employee Postings .................................................................................................. 10
2. Employer Postings .................................................................................................. 12
III. Government and Social Media........................................................................................ 13
A. Government Policies on Use oI Social Media ............................................................... 13
B. Public Sector Employees.............................................................................................. 17
C. Federal Contracting ...................................................................................................... 18
D. NLRB: The 'Facebook Firing¨ Case and Related Cases ............................................... 19
IV. Potential Claims in Cases Involving Social Networking ................................................. 22
A. Potential Claims Against Employees: ........................................................................... 22
1. DeIamation ............................................................................................................. 22
2. Misappropriation oI Trade Secrets ........................................................................... 23
3. Breach oI Fiduciary Duty ........................................................................................ 23
4. Breach oI Contractual ConIidentiality Agreement ................................................... 23
5. Conversion .............................................................................................................. 24
6. Copyright/Trademark Violations ............................................................................. 24
7. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act .............................................................................. 25
B. Potential Claims Against Employers: ........................................................................... 27
1. Generally ................................................................................................................ 27
2. Fair Credit Reporting Act ........................................................................................ 28
3. Employment Discrimination .................................................................................... 28
4. Disparate Impact Discrimination Claim ................................................................... 29
5. NLRA Violation Concerted Activity .................................................................... 29
6. Violation oI State OII-Duty Conduct Statute ........................................................... 29
7. Invasion oI Privacy ................................................................................................. 30
C. Social Networking Posts Considered as Advertising, Endorsement, or Testimonial ...... 31
D. Background Checks oI Employees and Job Applicants ................................................ 31
E. Anonymity ................................................................................................................... 33
F. Civil Procedure ............................................................................................................ 34
G. Social Networking Sites and GINA .............................................................................. 34
H. LinkedIn: An OIIensive Weapon Ior Employees .......................................................... 35
I. Employer May be Liable Ior Impersonating Employee on Facebook and Twitter ......... 36
J. Medical Workplace ...................................................................................................... 36
V. Employer Social Media Policies ........................................................................................ 38
VI. Discoverability and Admissibility oI Social Networking Sites ........................................ 42
A. Discovering Passwords ................................................................................................ 42
B. Discovering Social Media Content ............................................................................... 43
C. Guides to Collecting Social Media ............................................................................... 49
D. Admissibility oI Social Media ...................................................................................... 51
1. Authentication ......................................................................................................... 51
2. Attorney-Client Privilege Questions On Work Computers ....................................... 54
E. Data Preservation Issues .............................................................................................. 58
F. Data Management Issues.............................................................................................. 58
G. Other Litigation Issues ................................................................................................. 59
VII. Jurors and Social Networking ......................................................................................... 59
A. Lawyers Googling Jurors ............................................................................................. 59
B. Juror Use oI Social Media ............................................................................................ 59
VIII. Privacy Issues Regarding Cell Phones and Email: The Civil Context .......................... 62
A. Smartphones ................................................................................................................ 62
B. Email ........................................................................................................................... 62
C. Trouble With Text Messages ....................................................................................... 63
IX. Cell Phones and Email In The Criminal Context ............................................................. 63
A. Cell Phones .................................................................................................................. 63
B. Email ........................................................................................................................... 64
X. Persistent Generational ConIlicts ....................................................................................... 65
XI. Solicitation and Competition .......................................................................................... 65
A. Solicitation .................................................................................................................. 65
B. Competition ................................................................................................................. 66
XII. Ethics ............................................................................................................................. 67
A. Just 'Friends?¨ ............................................................................................................. 67
B. Judicial Ethics .............................................................................................................. 68
C. Lawyer Marketing and Solicitation .............................................................................. 69
1. Marketing ................................................................................................................ 69
2. Solicitation Issues.................................................................................................... 70
XIII. InIormation Security (ConIidentiality) ........................................................................ 70
XIV. Consumer Privacy ....................................................................................................... 71
XV. Foreign Law ................................................................................................................... 71
XVI. Data Security .............................................................................................................. 71
XVII. Provider Responsibility and Security Restrictions ....................................................... 73
XVIII. Judges on Social Media............................................................................................... 74
Appendix A: Glossary ............................................................................................................... 73
Appendix B: Considerations Ior DraIting Social Media Policies................................................ 78
Appendix C: Sample Social Media Policies .............................................................................. 89
Appendix D: Sample Forms ...................................................................................................... 99
Sample Deposition Questions ................................................................................... 100
Sample Spoliation Letter ........................................................................................... 102
Sample Subpoena ..................................................................................................... 104
Appendix E: Blogs on Social Media ........................................................................................ 108

Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
Social Media and Privacy in the Workplace
by: Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Esq.

I. Overview
A. What is Social Media?
The impact oI Social Media on contemporary America is undeniable when
movies like The Social Network, a story about the genesis oI maior social
networking site Facebook, can win 3 Oscars and be nominated Ior 5 more.
These sites however inIluential pose risks Ior employers and employees
alike. Imagine how many liability-creating messages there must be among the
25 billion 'tweets¨ sent through the Twitter service in 2010.
For a glossary oI terms, see Appendix A.
For brieI overviews oI a Iew oI most important social media websites, see:
Ŵ Facebook, WIKIPEDIA,
O Statistics
a. Over 500 million active users.
b. 50° oI active users log on to Facebook on any given day.
c. In total, people spend 700 billion minutes per month on
d. About 70° oI Facebook users are outside the United
e. The average user creates 90 pieces oI content each month.
I. More than 30 billion pieces oI content are shared each
g. More than 250 million active users are currently accessing
Facebook through mobile devices. (May 4,

This article was prepared with assistance by Jonathan S. Keim, Ryan P. Chapline and Brian J. Aurelio, associates
with Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC. Mr. Keim is a May 2008 graduate oI Georgetown University Law Center and a
member oI the Missouri and Illinois State Bars. Mr. Chapline is a May 2009 graduate oI George Mason Law School
and a member oI the Maryland State Bar. Mr. Aurelio is a May 2008 graduate oI Georgetown University Law
Center and a member oI the DC and Virginia State Bars.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O The Facebook Help Center, at÷173, is an especially useIul
resource Ior getting up to speed on the world`s most important
social networking site.
O Facebook tutorials go out oI date every Iew months because the
company`s web designers change the layout oI the page every Iew
months and add Ieatures constantly. That said, a wealth oI Iree
resources is available.
O How to Use Facebook, video series, eHow,
O How to Use Facebook, Mahalo,
O Statistics
a. Approximately 200 million users.
b. One billion tweets are posted to Twitter every week.
c. In February, 2011, an average oI 460,000 people signed up
Ior Twitter accounts each day.
d. The top Iive most Iollowed people on Twitter are, in order:
1. Lady Gaga 2. Justin Bieber 3. Barak Obama 4. Britney
Spears 5. Kim Kardashian. Source: (May 4, 2011)
O David Griner, The Twitter Tutorial. A Beginners Guide, THE
SOCIAL PATH (Apr. 29, 2009),
O Twitter for Dummies, Avangate (Aug. 26, 2008),
O Jane Bernardo, A Completelv Free Beginners Guide to Twitter, (Dec. 19, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O 'DJFrancis,¨ What is Twitter? A Beginners Guide, Social Media
Today (Aug. 11, 2008),÷SMC/43329.
O Deanna Zandt, A non-fanatical beginners guide to Twitter,
Deanna Zandt (Feb. 26, 2009),
O True Beginners Twitter Guide. Advanced Twitter Functions,
Linden`s Pensieve (Mar. 31, 2009),
O Statistics
a. Over 101 million registered users in over 200 countries and
territories. More than halI oI all LinkedIn members are in
the United States. (May 4,
b. More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn company
pages. (May 4, 2011)
c. LinkedIn generates 21.4 million unique visitors Irom the
U.S. each month, and 47.6 million globally. (December 17,
O LinkedIn for Dummies, Avangate (Mar. 7, 2008)
O Sirona Consulting, LinkedIn for Beginners,
O Erin M. Wiles, Beginners Guide. Twitter. Facebook. Linkedin.
and YouTube for Business, biznik (Nov. 13, 2009),
O Karen KeIauver, Linkedin Basics for Beginners and Tips for Those
in the Know on LinkedIn, Social Media Ior Business with Karen
KeIauver (June 2, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Statistics
a. Myspace generates 22.1 million unique visitors each month
in the U.S. This is down Irom over 50 million in the second
quarter oI 2010.
(May 4, 2011).
O 'CareyYo,¨ Mvspace for Beginners, HubPages,
O MvSpace Beginners Guide, MySpace CORE,
O YouTube. Flickr and MvSpace. A Beginners Guide (June 30,
O Statistics
a. Over 2 billion videos are viewed every day.
b. Youtube gets over 100 million views per day.
c. 35 hours oI video Iootage is uploaded to Youtube every
d. Over 13 million hours oI Iootage was uploaded in 2010.
e. 70° oI Youtube traIIic is Irom the United States.
I. 10° oI Youtube videos are in high deIinition. Source (all): (April 18,
O The Beginners Guide to Youtube'', BeardStudios (Jan. 17, 2008),
O Chris Birk, The Beginners Guide to Marketing and Branding on
YouTube, DIYthemes,
O A Beginners guide to YouTube, Butterscotch (Nov. 28, 2008),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
Ŵ Smaller social media sites
1. Video: Vimeo
2. Pictures: Flickr and Picasa
3. Link sharing: Digg,, StumbleUpon, and Reddit
4. Social Networks: Bebo, Last.Im, and Orkut
5. Blogs: Xanga, Blogger, and Wordpress
6. Location-based networks: Foursquare, GoWalla, and Latitude
Many articles address the challenges that social media brings to employers
and the law. For some general overviews, see:
Ŵ Karen Kranson & Marisa Warren, Personal Social Media Use Raises
Emplovment Issues, 39 Labor & Emp. Law No. 2, at 6 (Winter 2011).
Ŵ Steven Seidenberg, Seduced, 97 ABA Journal 49 (Feb. 2011).
Ŵ Paul Lippe, The Role of Social Networking in Law, Law Technology
News (July 30, 2009),÷120
Ŵ Richard Paul and Lisa Hird Chung, Brave New Cvberworld. The
Emplover´s Legal Guide to the Interactive World, 24 The Labor Lawyer
109, (Winter 2008).
B. For more in-depth resources. see:
Ŵ Tresa Baldas, Work blogs take off. and so do the suits, National Law
Journal (Sept. 15, 2008),÷120
Ŵ Karen Barth Menzies & Wesley K. Polischuk, Is Your Client an Online
Social Butterflv?, Trial (Oct. 2010).
Ŵ Joel Patrick Schroeder & Leita Walker, Social Media in Civil Litigation, (Oct. 14, 2010),
Ŵ Twittering Classes. Lessons For and From the AmLaw 100, (date unknown),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
Ŵ Rexa Gradeless (pseudonym), The First Law School Seminar Paper on
Twitter. Twitter and Emplovment Law Issues, Social Media Law Student
(May 26, 2009),
C. Initial Inquiries
Social media can have signiIicant eIIects on the outcome oI a case. The
inIormation on these sites, iI discoverable, can provide invaluable inIormation to
either the plaintiII or deIendant. The result is that social media cannot be either
ignored or an aIterthought. In order to provide competent representation, a Iew
key questions should be asked early in the representation. Failing to perIorm a
social media check when there is easily discoverable inIormation damaging the
client`s claim may be negligent on the part oI the attorney.
a. Does the employee have a blog? II yes, does anyone at work know about this
b. Does the employee have a Twitter account? II yes, do you Iollow or are you
Iollowed by coworkers or supervisors? Has the employee used Twitter while at
c. Does the employee have a MySpace account? II yes, are you Iriends with
coworkers or supervisors? Has the employee been on MySpace while at work?
d. Does the employee have a Facebook account? II yes, are you Iriends with
coworkers or supervisors? Has the employee used Facebook at while work?
e. Is the employee on LinkedIn? II yes, are you Irinds with coworkers or
supervisors? Has the employee been on LinkedIn while at work?
I. Is there a video oI the employee on YouTube or Vimeo? II yes, did the employee
upload the video or does it belong to someone else? Who else appears in the
video? Has the employee watched or uploaded videos while at work?
g. Does the employee use Digg? Flickr? Bebo? Xanga? Orkut? Plaxo?
Reddit? Last.Im? StumbleUpon? Picasa? Foursquare? Latitude? Any other site
that allows posting oI messages, pictures, location data, or other inIormation on
the Internet?
D. Employee`s Lawyer`s Obligations
a. Duty to inquire regarding digital evidence, including social media sites. Any
evidence that might be 'out there¨ somewhere will probably be discoverable.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
b. Duty to inquire what electronic platIorms the client may be using to access their
social media. Many social networking sites have smartphone applications that
allow use oI the social network without a computer.
c. Duty to take reasonable steps to assure that digital evidence, including social
media sites, is preserved.
d. It is improper to recommend to client that sites be taken down without Iirst
preserving evidence, e.g., screenshots that can be properly authenticated.
e. While preserving digital evidence, duty to make private unhelpIul comments to
mitigate damages to employee`s claim.
E. Employer`s Counsel
a. Duty oI employer to preserve, and duty oI counsel to Iollow through on
implementation oI litigation hold.
b. Upon receipt oI notice oI claim, immediately communicate to employee or
employee`s counsel regarding employee`s duty to preserve evidence.
c. In all communications, reIerence duty to preserve evidence on social media sites.
d. In discovery, seek relevant evidence on social media sites.
e. Rather than a Iishing expedition, lay the groundwork Ior document requests at
F. What Employer Ought Not Do
When seeking to obtain relevant inIormation about an employee Irom social
media sites, there are a Iew key pitIalls the employer must avoid. An employer
can expose itselI to risk by improperly obtaining social media inIormation.
a. Violate terms oI service in accessing employee`s social media site.
b. Adopt an alias to attempt to 'Iriend¨ employee and thus access social media site
(see Section XII below).
c. Pietrvlo v. Hillstone Rest. Group, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108834 (D.N.J. July 24,
2008). A iury Iound the employer violated the Iederal Stored Communications
Act and the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act Ior
unauthorized access to employees` postings on a private password-protected
Internet chat room. The chat room was created with login IDs and passwords
given to employees but not managers. Managers then coerced an employee into
providing her inIormation which was then used to monitor the site.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 For more inIormation on this case, see Brian Hall, Court Upholds Jurv
Jerdict in Pietrvlo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, Employer Law Report
(Oct. 19, 2009),
II. Employment Decisions and Social Media
InIormation available Ireely on the Internet can be either very helpIul or very dangerous
Ior employment decisions. This is true both Ior employers seeking to Iind inIormation
and employees who do not keep certain inIormation private. See Social Media Research
¹ Emplovment Decisions. Mav Be a Recipe for Litigation, Labor & Employment Law
Blog (Jan. 21, 2011),
A. iring
The temptation to use social media to do a thorough vetting oI iob candidates is
strong. Sometimes employers go too Iar, such as when the Maryland Division oI
Correction demanded that iob applicants provide the government with passwords to
their social media accounts. Employers should be very cautious about accessing
background inIormation Ior vetting applicants because oI the personal background
inIormation such as age, race, or disability that open the employer to discrimination
claims. At the same time, employers want to ensure potential employees will reIlect
well on the company. Two options to alleviate both concerns are to outsource social
media background searches or Iirewalling the searches to ensure the person making
the hiring decision only has the relevant inIormation.

Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
1. ACLU letter to Maryland Division oI Correction
a. Letter Irom Deborah A. Jeon, Legal Director, American Civil Liberties
Union oI Maryland, to Secretary Gary D. Maynard, Maryland Department
oI Public SaIety and Correctional Services (Jan. 25, 2011), This letter
mentions two possible claims arising Irom the Department`s policy,
namely, violations oI the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and invasion
oI privacy.
b. Molly DiBianca, Md. Agencv Suspends Facebook-Password Policv, The
Delaware Employment Law Blog (Feb. 28, 2011),
c. Bradley Shear, Marvlands Division of Corrections Demands Applicants
Provide Facebook Usernames and Passwords During Interviews, Shear
on Social Media Law (Mar. 1, 2011),
d. More than 1/3 oI police agencies review applicants` social media activity
during background checks. Kevin Johnson, Police recruits screened for
digital dirt on Facebook. etc., USA Today (Nov. 2, 2010),
e. AIter a 45 day suspension oI the policy, Maryland Division oI Corrections
changed the policy Ior applicants to login to their social media accounts
during the interview. While no longer soliciting login inIormation or
logging into another`s account ending violations oI Facebook`s Terms oI
Service, the ACLU is not satisIied with the new policy stating concerns oI
coercion oI the interview process allowing an invasion oI privacy and
third party privacy. ACLU oI Maryland, ACLU Savs Division of
Corrections Revised Social Media Policv Remains Coercived and
Jiolates 'Friends` Privacv Rights (Apr. 18, 2011), http://www.aclu-
2. Michael Clarkson, Human Resources and Emplovment Law Implications of Social
Networking, (2009), available at°20Networking°20Article°20°28Ii
3. Laurie Ruettimann, Dont Facebook Me. Whv You Shouldnt Google During the
Recruiting Process, TLNT (Oct. 4, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4. David Jolly, Germanv Plans Limits on Facebook Use in Hiring, N.Y. Times
(Aug. 25, 2010),
5. Meredith Levinson, Social Networks` New Hotbed for Hiring Discrimination
Claims, CIO (Apr. 18, 2011),
6. David Carr, Social Media Research Mav Expose Discrimination Claims,
InIormation Week (Apr. 20, 2011),
7. Laurel Clay, Can Social Recruiting Lead to Discrimination and Equal
Opportunitv Issues, Laurel Clay`s Blog (Jun. 7, 2010),
8. Nathan Vardi, Creepv Start-Up Or Sign Of The Times, Forbes (Sep. 28, 2010),
9. Eric B. Meyer, How Facebook Can Make or Break Your Case. The Plaintiffs
Arsenal, The Employer Handbook (Jan. 13, 2011),
B. Firing
Employers are understandably concerned about their employees bashing them on
the Internet, and several oI the Iollowing articles discuss those issues in detail.
But what iI the employer notiIies the employee that he or she has been terminated
through Facebook? At the root oI all these issues is the central Iact that social
networking has blurred the line between public and private spheres. See Erin L.
Gouckenour, Social Networking and the Workforce. Blurring the Line Between
Public and Private Spheres, The Virginia Bar Association News Journal, at 8
(Winter 2009/2010).
1. Emplovee Postings
O Threatening one`s employer on MySpace is rarely a good idea. In this case,
the employee made some concerning comments on her MySpace page
threatening violence, which she had made known to many oI her co-workers.
The case is not terribly interesting on legal grounds because the employee
Iailed to produce evidence in her suit Ior sexual harassment, retaliation, and
religious discrimination to oppose Starbucks` motion Ior summary iudgment,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
but the Iactual situation may become a common one where employees post
threatening comments about their employers to social media. Nguven v.
Starbucks, No. CV 08-3554, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113461 (N.D. Cal. Dec.
7, 2009) (granting deIendant`s motion Ior summary iudgment where employee
Iailed to produce evidence showing an issue oI material Iact).
O Lawver Fired for Comment Made on Twitter, Going Paperless (Feb. 28,
O Brendan Begley, The Risk in Firing an Emplovee for Posting Negative
Remarks on the Internet about a Boss, The Labor & Employment Law Blog
(Nov. 16, 2010),
O John Holmquist, Facebook and emplovers. new wavs to get information about
emplovees, Michigan Employment Law Connection (Feb. 28, 2011),
O Donna Ballman, Social Media and Emplovment Law. Six Things You Need To
Know, Monster Thinking (Mar. 2, 2011),
4 1. Employers will monitor social media use.
4 2. Posts aren`t private.
4 3. Disability and Genetic inIormation on social networking sites
cannot be used against you.
4 4. Be careIul oI photos posted Irom business events.
4 5. Assume your boss will see anything insulting him or the company.
4 6. First Amendment Iree speech does not protect private employees.
O Several law review articles have addressed these issues.
4 Robert Sprague, Fired for Blogging. Are There Legal Protections for
Emplovees Who Blog?, 9 U. Pa. J. Lab. & Emp. L. 355 (2007).
4 Aaron Kirkland, Note, 'You Got Fired? On Your Dav Off?'`.
Challenging Termination of Emplovees for Personal Blogging
Practices, 85 U.K.M.C. L. Rev. 545 (2006).
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Katherine M. Scott, When is Emplovee Blogging Protected bv Section
7 of the NLRA?, 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 17 (2006),
O For an overview oI the concerns with employee blogging, see Craig Cornish`s
paper Irom the 2007 Midwinter Meeting oI the ABA`s Employment Rights
and Responsibilities Committee, entitled Fear and Loathing of Emplovee
Blogging. Private Emplover Censorship of Emplovee Blogs (Mar. 28-31,
O Molly DiBianca, MvSpace Post Results in Termination of Nursing Student,
Delaware Employment Law Blog, (Mar. 22, 2009),
O Molly DiBianca, Emplovee Fired When Her Sex Blog is Discovered bv Her
Boss, The Delaware Employment Law Blog (May 13, 2010)
O Jill Rosen and Justin Fenton, McDonalds emplovee fired after taping video of
fight, The Baltimore Sun (Apr. 23, 2011),
4 For Iurther inIormation on the use oI social media in this case see
McDonalds Emplovee Took Credit For Filming Brutal Beating In
Baltimore Fast Food Joint, The Smoking Gun (Apr. 22, 2011),
employee-Iilmed-brutal-beating-640128 (contains picture Irom
employee`s social media proIile, Facebook wall posts, and a Twitter
post by the employee regarding the incident).
2. Emplover Postings
Just like employees, employers need to be careIul about postings to social
media. Employer`s issues include notiIying an employee she has been
Iired through social media, posts that target employees Ior complaints, and
inappropriate comments made through the company`s oIIicial social media
O Paul M. Secunda, Firing bv Facebook, Marquette University Law School
Faculty Blog (Jan. 6, 2009),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Molly DiBianca, Social-Media Guidelines Applv to Supervisors. Too, The
Delaware Employment Law Blog (Jan. 18, 2011),
O Josh Morgan, Now this is how vou use a corporate blog' Chrvsler does it right
after Twitter F-bomb, Social Media Today (Mar. 11, 2009),
O Beniamin Ostrander, Problems and Solutions to Corporate Blogging. Model
Corporate Blogging Guidelines, 7 J. High Tech. L. 226 (2007).
O Robert Sprague, Business Blogs and Commercial Speech. A New Analvtical
Framework for the 21
Centurv, 44 Am. Bus. L.J. 127 (2007).
III. Government and Social Media
A. Government Policies on Use of Social Media
The government has its own set oI policies governing the use oI social media. These
policies Iall in two main categories. The Iirst is related to using social media as a means
oI oIIicial government communication. The second regards government employees` use
oI social media Irom government computers.
O Cass R. Sunstein, Social Media. Web-Based Interactive Technologies. and the
Paperwork Reduction Act, White House OIIice oI InIormation and Regulatory AIIairs
(Apr. 7, 2010), available at

OIIice oI Management and Budget holds that PRA does not apply to 3 categories oI
activities: general solicitations, public meetings, and like items.
4 Many social media uses Iall under these categories and are thus not inIormation
collections subiect to PRA
General Solicitations: similar to notices published in the Federal Register,
blogs, discussion topics, photos, video, etc that allow Ior unstructured
Ieedback through comments are not subiect to the PRA.
Public Meetings: interactive meeting tools including public conIerence calls,
webinars, blogs discussion boards, Iorums, chat sessions, social networks,
wikis, and online communities are equivalent to in-person social meetings.
Like Items: The Iollowing types oI questions or solicitations are not
'inIormation¨ subiect to the PRA
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Items collected to create user accounts or proIiles Ior agency websites
O Items collected to allow users to customize or inIluence the appearance oI
an agency website
O Ratings and rankings
O Items necessary to complete a voluntary commercial transaction
O Contests
O Use oI social media on behalI oI government
4 Security concerns oI types oI social soItware categories by order oI where more
guidance exists to areas oI less guidance.
O Inward Sharing: sharing internal organizational documents through internal
collaboration sites.
O Outward Sharing: inter-institutional sharing enables Federal Government
inIormation to be shared with external groups such as state and local
governments, law enIorcement, large corporations, and individuals.
O Inbound Sharing: 'crowdsourcing¨ is similar to a large online collaborative
O Outbound Sharing: Iederal engagement on public commercial social media
4 Used as part oI larger communication and marketing strategies
4 Prohibitions against engaging in:
O Vulgar or abusive language.
O Commercial products, services, or entities.
O Endorsement oI political parties, candidates, or groups.
O Lobbying members oI Congress using GA or any other appropriated resource.
4 User represents the government agency that is responsible Ior the persistent
content published.
4 User is not acting in a personal capacity
4 Do not disclose classiIied or non-public inIormation
4 State Iacts, not opinions
4 Protect privacy oI personally identiIiable inIormation
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Personal use oI social media on government computers
4 Not to be used to conduct oIIicial agency business
4 Any activity during duty time or using government equipment within the
Department oI Interior Ialls under guidelines on the Personal Use oI Government
OIIice Equipment
4 HHS OCIO Policy Ior Personal Use oI InIormation Technology Resources
O CIO Council, Guidelines for Secure Use of Social Media bv Federal Departments
and Agencies, Version 1.0 (Sept. 2009),
O Center Ior Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Social Media Tools Guidelines &
Best Practices (Jan. 24, 20110),
O Deputy Secretary oI DeIense, Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-based
Capabilities, Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-026 (Feb. 25, 2010), available
It is DoD policy that:
The |Non-ClassiIied Internet Protocol Router Network| shall be
conIigured to provide access to Internet-based capabilities across all DoD
Commanders at all levels and Heads oI DoD Components shall continue
to deIend against malicious activity aIIecting DoD networks (e.g.,
distributed denial oI service attacks, intrusions) and take immediate
commensurate actions, as required, to saIeguard missions (e.g.,
temporarily limiting access to the Internet to preserve operations security
or to address bandwidth constraints).
Commanders at all levels and Heads oI DoD Components shall continue
to deny access to sites with prohibited content and to prohibit users Irom
engaging in prohibited activity via social media sites (e.g., pornography,
gambling, hate-crime related activities)
O General Services Administration, GSA Social Media Policv, CIO 2106.1 (July 17,
2009), available at
O Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategv (July 30, 2009),
available at
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O U.S. Air Force, Social Media and the Air Force (Version 2, Nov. 2009), available at
O U.S. Army Corps oI Engineers, Jacksonville District, Social Media User Guidelines
(last accessed Apr. 15, 2011),
O U.S. Coast Guard, ALCOAST 457/08, Social Media The Wav Ahead, available at
4 U.S. Coast Guard, ALCOAST 458/08, Social Media Official Internet Posts,
available at
4 U.S. Coast Guard, ALCOAST 548/08, Social Media Unofficial Internet
Posts, available at
O U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Interim Guidance Representing EPA Online
Using Social Media (Jan. 26, 2010),
O U.S. Geological Survey, Interim Social Media and Social Networking Policv (Dec.
O U.S. Department oI Health & Human Services, Policy 2010-0003-OCIO, HHS-OCIO
Policv for Social Media Technologies (Mar. 31, 2010),
O U.S. Department oI the Interior, Social Media Policv (Nov. 18, 2010),
O U.S. Department oI State, 5 Foreign AIIairs Manual 790 (June 10, 2010), available at
O Lovisa Williams, Social Media Policv The Balancing Act (May 28, 2009),
O U.S. Navy, Navv Ombudsman Social Media Handbook (Summer 2010),
O U.S. OIIice oI Special Counsel, Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Social Media
and the Hatch Act (July 27, 2010), available at
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Employees can use social media on their own time and outside government
buildings to express political opinions
4 Employees cannot engage in 'political activity¨ i.e. activity directed at the
success or Iailure oI a political party, partisan political candidate, or partisan
political group.
4 Further restricted employees also cannot provide links to anything created by
a political party, partisan candidate, or partisan campaign because such actions
would be distributing campaign literature.
4 Agencies use oI social media must be limited to oIIicial non-partisan agency
4 Agencies cannot post anything partisan, including news about an oIIicial`s
speech at political events, to social media.
B. Public Sector Employees
O Spanierman v. Hughes, 576 F. Supp. 2d 292 (D. Conn. 2008).

Following an investigation oI a non-tenured teacher`s MySpace¹ proIile,
through which the teacher was communicating with his students, and
Iollowing a subsequent hearing regarding said proIile and communications,
Connecticut state school oIIicials decided not to renew the teacher`s
employment contract.

The teacher brought a Section 1983 action alleging that the school oIIicials
violated his Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process, substantive due
process, and equal protection rights and the teacher`s First Amendment rights
to Ireedom oI speech (the teacher authored and published a 'political¨ poem
on his account) and Ireedom oI association by Iailing to renew
his employment contract.

The court held the Iollowing:

That the non-tenured teacher did not have a protected property interest in the
renewal oI his employment contract, as there was nothing in the applicable
collective bargaining agreement or the Teacher Tenure Act (Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 10-151), indicating that the non-renewal oI a non-tenured teacher`s contract
had to be based on iust cause.

That the teacher`s Ireedom oI speech claim Iailed because there was no causal
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
connection between the decision not to renew the teacher`s contract and a
poem expressing the teacher`s political views, and that the school oIIicials
would have taken the same adverse action in the absence oI the poem given
that the teacher`s unproIessional interactions with students through his
MySpace¹ proIile was disruptive to school activities.
O Joe Lustig, Gav Teacher Terminated for Blog Post on Same-Sex Relationship,
Joe`s HR and BeneIits Blog (Feb. 27, 2011),
O Chris Tye, Cleveland. Juvenile corrections officer fired over Facebook slurs, (Aug. 7, 2010),÷142950.
O Schill v. Wisc. Rapids School Dist., 2008AP000967 (Wisc. Supreme Ct.
7/16/10). The government is asked to release the contents oI personal e-mails
oI government employees (teachers) under the state`s 'Sunshine Laws¨. The
court holds that personal e-mails are not part oI government business and not
subiect to disclosure.
C. Federal Contracting
Federal contractors are embracing social media. Federal contractors see social
media as a marketing tool to increase their public perception. They are also using
internal social media Ior collaboration either within their company or with
government employees on speciIic contracts.
O Alice Lipowicz, Contractors embrace social media. but wheres the ROI?,
Washington Technology (Aug. 27, 2010),
O Chris Abraham, Online Reputation Management for Federal Contractors,
Marketing Conversation (Jun. 19, 2007),
O Lisa WolIisch, FedSpace. New Collaborative Intranet for Federal Emplovees
and Contractors, (Jun. 10, 2010),
O Jason C. Gaveiian, Federal Agencies Tighten Data Securitv Screws on
Federal Contractors, Workplace Privacy Data Management & Security
Report (Oct. 7, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
D. NLRB: The ~Facebook Firing¨ Case and Related Cases - Under What
Circumstances Will Employment / andbook Policies on the Use of Social
Media Constitute an Unfair Labor Practice?
1. On November 2, 2010, the NLRB Iiled a complaint against American Medical
Response oI Connecticut, Inc. (AMR), in what has become known as the
'Facebook Firing¨ case. The NLRB alleged that (1) AMR`s handbook policy
regarding blogging, internet posting, and inter-employee communications was
overly broad; and (2) AMR had unlawIully terminated an employee under
said policy Ior posting on her Facebook page critical comments about her
supervisor, and responding to posts which her coworkers posted in response.
The NLRB ultimately announced on February 7, 2011 that the case had
settled, and that AMR had agreed to (1) revise its policy to ensure that it does
not improperly restrict employees Irom discussing their wages, hours, and
working conditions with coworkers and others while not at work, and (2)
reIrain Irom disciplining or discharging employees Ior making such
2. The NLRB`s press release regarding the AMR settlement can be Iound at:°20press°20release°20re°
3. It appears that similar cases may soon be considered by the NLRB. For
example, on February 4, 2011, the CSEA/SEIU Iiled an unIair labor practice
charge against Student Transportation oI America (STA), a Connecticut Bus
Company, claiming that STA violated Section 8(a)(1) oI the NLRA by
maintaining certain policies in its employment handbook, including a policy
which prohibits, among other things:

The use oI electronic communication and/or social media in a manner that
might target, oIIend, disparage, or harm customers, passengers or employees;
or in a manner that might violate any other company policy.
4. A copy oI the charge Iorm in the STA case can be Iound at:
5. More recently, the NLRB decided to issue a complaint against a publisher
aIter a supervisor reprimanded a reporter Ior posting a message on Twitter
stating that the publisher needed to deal honestly with the union. Seth Borden,
NLRB Set to Issue Complaint Arising Out of Emplovee Twitter Comment,
Labor Relations Today (Apr. 11, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
a) See also Molly DiBianca, NLRB Takes Issue With Emplovers Response to
Emplovees Tweet, The Delaware Employment Law Blog (Apr. 26, 2011),
withemployer.html; Brian Hall, An Appeal for Cooler Heads on NLRBs
Social Media Policv Enforcement, Employer Law Report (Apr. 25, 2011),
6. The NLRB now requires all regional oIIices addressing complaints that
involve social media policies to Iirst seek advice Irom NLRB`s Division oI
Advice beIore they can take action. Hunton & Williams LLP, Update. NLRB
Remains Focused on Social Media Issues, Hunton Employment & Labor
Perspectives (May 5, 2011),
7. Countless articles have been written about the AMR, STA, and related cases.
For examples oI a Iew such articles, see:
b) Daniel Schwartz, Facebook Firing Case Settles, But Another Social Media
Case at the NLRB Mav Be Rising, Connecticut Employment Law Blog
(Feb. 8, 2011),
c) Suzanne Lucas, Yes. You Should Be Fired For That Facebook Post. (No
Matter What the Feds Sav Next Week), Evil HR Lady (Jan. 21, 2011),
d) Seth Borden, a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in New York
City, and a member oI the Iirm`s Employer Services Group, posted a
series oI articles about the AMR, STA, and related cases. See. e.g.:
O Seth Borden, NLRB. Parties Settle 'Facebook Firing` Case, Labor
Relations Today (Feb. 7, 2011),
O Seth Borden, NLRB Regional Director Discusses 'Facebook Firing`
Case With Morning Show, Labor Relations Today (Feb. 9, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Seth Borden, More Recap of 'Facebook Firing` Case, Labor
Relations Today (Feb. 14, 2011),
O Seth Borden, More on American Medical Response a/k/a The
'Facebook Firing` Case, Labor Relations Today (Nov. 10, 2010),
O Seth Borden, Labor Disputes Arising Out of Social Media, Law
Technology News (Sept. 28, 2010),÷1
O Labor Relations Institute, Inc., Social Media Spotlight. Feds Latest
Attack on Computer-Use Policies (Mar. 24, 2011),°e2°80°99-latest-
e) Robin E. Shea, BOO' NLRB 'Facebook Firing` Case Settles,
Employment & Labor Insider (Feb. 9, 2011),
I) Declan McCullagh, Yes. Insults on Facebook Can Still Get You Fired,
Cnet News (Nov. 9, 2010),
g) Daniel Schwartz, CBA and CELA Social Media Seminar Recap. NLRB is
Back and Readv for Action (Part I), Connecticut Employment Law Blog
(Apr. 27, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
IV. Potential Claims in Cases Involving Social Networking
Social media opens the door to a large number oI potential claims. The ability to quickly
make a comment that is viewable by anywhere Irom hundreds oI people to anyone with an
internet connection gives a Iar broader audience to our communication than ever beIore. The
extension in audience provided by social media also extends the consequences oI
communications made through social media. One must consider the broad audience capable
oI seeing posts to social media sites.
A. Potential Claims Against Employees:
Employees must be careIul with their use oI inIormation obtained Irom their
employers. Use oI social media does not give employees a Iree pass to make
comments that would otherwise give rise to legal claims.
1. Defamation
O For a general resource on digital deIamation, particularly that arising Irom
statements in chat rooms, electronic bulletin boards, and in the blogosphere,
see an excellent paper by Danielle M. Conway-Jones, Defamation in the
Digital Age. Liabilitv in Chat Rooms. on Electronic Bulletin Boards. and in
the Blogosphere (ALI-ABA Course Materials, 2005).
O Eric B. Meyer, FACT. Emplovers can sue emplovees for social networking,
The Employer Handbook (Mar. 21, 2011),
O Michael Schmidt, Old Claims Still Exist in New Social Media Context,
cyberINQUIRER (Apr. 15, 2011),
4 See Finkel v. Dauber, No. 012414/09, 2010 N.Y. Slip Op. 20292, 2010
N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3279 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. July 22, 2010).
O The title says it all in this paper describing the general law oI Internet-related
deIamation claims: Mark D. Risk et al., Cvbersmear. Its What the Internet is
For. Right? (ABA Section oI Labor and Employment Law, Employment
Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Mar. 9, 2005).
O Communications Decency Act available at
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
2. Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
O Client data collected over years may not be conIidential iI the inIormation is
publicly available. Sasqua Group. Inc v. Courtnev, No. CV 10-528 (ADS)
(AKT), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93442 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 2010) (search Iirm
could not sustain a trade secret misappropriation claim where the secret
customer and client database was known outside the Iirm, was a collection oI
inIormation available on LinkedIn, Bloomberg, and other publicly available
databases, and was accessed Irom many non-password-protected computers
and external vendors).
4 Michelle Sherman, Information Sharing On The Internet Mav Mean
Fewer Confidential Trade Secrets, Social Media Law Update Blog
(Oct. 18, 2010),
4 Kelly Dingee, Who Do Your Tweets Represent? You? Or Your
Emplover?, FistIul oI Talent (Jan. 24, 2011),
3. Breach of Fiduciarv Dutv
One Akin Gump partner criticized President Obama on the Power Line Blog
Ior allowing a Native American prayer to be recited beIore a speech. Akin
Gump, it seems, has a well-developed practice in Native American law
requiring the Iirm to make statements distinguishing the Iirm Irom the private
blogs oI its employees in order to satisIy its clients.
4 Lauren Moak, Lawvers Can Demonstrate the Need for Social-Media
Policies In More Wavs than One, The Delaware Employment Law
Blog (Jan. 23, 2011),
4. Breach of Contractual Confidentialitv Agreement
Social media provides employees with simple, quick ways to post their
thoughts. UnIortunately, this also makes it signiIicantly easier Ior employees
to breach their conIidentiality agreements, or accidentally reveal sensitive
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
5. Conversion
Another potentially explosive issue is whether employees who use Twitter or
LinkedIn Ior work-related Iunctions, such as marketing or networking, are the
proper owners oI their contact lists. And what about the celebrity whose name
is used to create a social media account that is not, in Iact, that person? Who
owns the contacts, postings, and other inIormation associated with a social
networking account, particularly one that has been developed on company
time and with company resources? This issue is particularly signiIicant Ior
employees whose positions required developing a network oI personal
O Venkat Balasubramani, Can a Departing Emplovee Take Her Twitter Account
With Her?, Spam Notes (Oct. 3, 2010),
O Amanda Bronstad, Twitteriacking Lawsuits Face Obstacles, Law
Technology News (Aug. 17, 2009),÷
O Jessica Lee, Who Owns Your Social Media Relationsips? What To Do When
Your 'Social` Emplovees Move On, FistIul oI Talent (Sep. 30, 2010),
O Marshall Kirkpatrick, CNN´s Social Media Pioneer Gets Fired. What
Happens to Rick Sanchez on Twitter?, Read Write Web (Oct. 1, 2010),
O Maria Ogneva, Who Owns Your Contacts and Communications?, Social
Media Today (Feb. 27, 2011),
6. Copvright/Trademark Jiolations
O Robert Ambrogi, New Site Protects Trademarks in Social Networks, Robert
Ambrogi`s LawSites (Sept. 10, 2010),
O Digital Millennium Copyright Act oI 1998, available at
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O AIter Google acquired YouTube, they entered into negotiations with content
owners Ior licensing and revenue sharing agreements. When negotiations
broke down Viacom issued 100,000 takedown notices to YouTube as
provided under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Eventually
Viacom brought suit against Google Ior copyright inIringement on YouTube
under the DMCA. Google deIended the lawsuit and was granted summary
iudgment Ior Ialling under the 'saIe harbor¨ exception. Viacom is planning to
appeal this decision.
4 Michael Arrington, GooTube Slammed Bv Jiacom Takedown Demand,
Tech Crunch (Feb. 2, 2007),
4 David Kravets, Jiacom Savs YouTube Ruling Will Completelv
Destrov Copvright, (Dec. 3, 2010),
7. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
O The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) permits a civil cause oI action
Ior any loss resulting Irom a violation or violations oI the Act aggregating at
least $5,000 in a one-year period. The plaintiII need show no 'damage¨
independent oI the loss, so long as the loss otherwise qualiIies under the
statute. 1st Rate Mortg. Corp. v. Jision Mortgage Serv. Corp., No. 09-C-471,
2011 WL 666088, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15479 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 14, 2011).
In 1
Rate, the plaintiII corporation brought suit under the CFAA (and other
causes oI action) against several Iormer employees (and their employer) who
had been terminated aIter the plaintiII discovered that they had been
downloading or emailing company inIormation to their personal computers.
The employees had secretly Iormed a competitor company, and by the time
the employees were terminated, the new company had started soliciting
customers and taking business away Irom the plaintiII. The court disposed oI
several oI deIendants` arguments as abandoned or waived, and held that the
remaining questions were Ior the iury. The 'reasonableness¨ oI a company`s
reaction to stolen data, the court held, involves practical, not legal concerns.
As such, a iury could Iind that the 'loss¨ sustained as a result oI the
deIendants` actions included the company`s damage assessment, response
costs, and restoration oI the original condition oI the aIIected systems.
4 Evan Brown, What is a reasonable cost that should count as loss
under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?, Internet Cases (Mar. 3,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Employer policy deIines the limits oI authorized access under the CFAA, the
Eleventh Circuit has held. United States v. Rodriguez, 628 F.3d 1258 (11
2010). In Rodriguez, the deIendant worked Ior the Social Security
Administration (SSA) and had access to SSA databases that contained
sensitive personal inIormation. SSA had a policy prohibiting employees and
others Irom obtaining inIormation in its databases without a business reason.
Rodriguez had accessed personal records oI 17 people Ior nonbusiness
reasons, most oI them personal and romantic. Despite being warned by SSA
that he was under criminal investigation Ior his access, Rodriguez continued
to engage in usage inconsistent with SSA policy. The CFAA made it a crime
to intentionally access a computer 'without authorization or exceed authorized
access¨ to obtain inIormation Irom SSA, so the court relied on SSA`s policy:
'The policy oI the Administration is that use oI databases to obtain personal
inIormation is authorized only when done Ior business reasons.¨ SpeciIically,
'the plain language¨ oI the CFAA mandated this conclusion. The court also
noted, however, that deIense counsel admitted in opening statement that
Rodriguez 'did access things that were unauthorized.¨ The court`s holding is
sustainable apart Irom counsel`s admission, but this case is not quite as clear
as it Iirst seems.
4 But in United States v. Alevnikov, 737 F. Supp. 2d 173 (S.D.N.Y.
2010), the District Court dismissed a CFAA charge against an
employee who had used his position as a computer programmer
working on Goldman Sachs` high-Irequency trading platIorm to send
Goldman`s source code to his home computer and his new employer.
The indictment alleged that Goldman had limited access to the trading
platIorm source code to those 'who had reason¨ to access it.
Aleynikov moved to dismiss that charge, arguing that he had neither
accessed a computer without authorization, nor exceeded his
authorized access. Relying on dictionary deIinitions oI
'authorization,¨ the district court read the CFAA to only address 'the
unauthorized procurement or alteration oI inIormation.¨ More
importantly, '|w|hat use an individual makes oI the accessed
inIormation is utterly distinct Irom whether the access was authorized
in the Iirst place.¨ Accordingly, several cases cited by the United
States improperly inIerred that 'authorization¨ is automatically
terminated where an individual exceeds the purposes Ior which access
is authorized because that approach would require evaluation oI the
employee`s subiective intent in accessing the computer system. Rather,
the court said, the statutory language imposes an obiective test oI
whether the individual had suIIicient authorization.
4 See Privacy and Data Protection Practice Group, Eleventh Circuit
Ruling Strengthens Emplovers Hand Against Emplovees who Abuse
Access to Information Svstems, Workplace Privacy Counsel (Jan. 18,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Damages recoverable under CFAA include both the cost oI repairing the
damage to computer systems and other losses resulting Irom the costs oI
responding to the oIIense. US v Janosko, No. 10-1046, (1st Cir. 2011). In
Janosko, a prisoner pled guilty to hacking the prison computer system to
obtain personal inIormation, including Social Security numbers, oI prison
personnel. The court allowed recovery oI costs Ior credit monitoring as part oI
the costs oI responding to the incident.

O The CFAA may even apply to someone who uses social networking services,
but Ior the purposes oI deception. The criminal prosecution oI the 49-year-old
Missouri woman who created a Iake MySpace proIile and taunted a 13-year-
old girl until she committed suicide is an example. The prosecution`s case
rested on MySpace`s terms oI service, which Iorbade Iraudulent registration
inIormation, obtaining iuvenile users, and the use oI the site to do various
things to other users, including promoting Ialse or misleading inIormation.
The iury convicted the deIendant on the CFAA charges. This was apparently
the Iirst time that the CFAA had been used to prosecute abuses oI a user
agreement. U.S. v. Lori Drew, 259 F.R.D. 449 (C.D. Cal. 2009).
4 JenniIer Steinhauer, Jerdict in MvSpace Suicide Case, New York
Times (Nov. 27, 2008),
4 Ashley Surdin, Woman Guiltv of Minor Charges for MvSpace Hoax,
Washington Post (Nov. 27, 2008),
B. Potential Claims Against Employers:
1. Generallv
Employers should be careIul about using social media, or monintoring their
employees` social media. Any monitoring by an employer oI employees use oI
company computers, email, or social media should be set Iorth in a company
policy inIorming employees that such inIormation may be monitored. Much oI
the law covering this area has yet to be made, so the Iollowing resources
should be used with caution.
For some general guidance, see:
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Lou Dubois, How to Avoid a Social Media Lawsuit, Inc. (Feb. 24, 2011),
2. Fair Credit Reporting Act
O Employers who gather inIormation Irom social media on potential employees
are seeking a 'consumer report¨ under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Employers are not 'consumer reporting agencies¨ requiring authorizations
Irom the potential employee. However, a staIIing agency could be held liable
as a 'consumer reporting agency¨ Ior providing 'consumer reports¨ to
employers containing background inIormation obtained Irom social media.
Even iI the employer would be saIe under the FCRA without acquiring consent
to search social media, it is good practice to provide disclose when social
media will be searched. Sarah Evans, Fair Credit Reporting Act. Social Media.
and Investigations of Current Emplovees, Employment Law in the Digital Age
(May 21, 2010),
O Karen Bush-Schneider, Hiring Decisions in the Age of Social Media, The
Greater Lansing Business Monthly,
3. Emplovment Discrimination
O John A. Gallagher, Can an Emplovee Be Terminated for Simplv Surfing the
Internet?, (Mar. 16, 2011),
O Jessica Miller-Merrell, Part 3The Era of Corp Social Media Discrimination,
Blogging4Jobs (Apr. 7, 2011),
O Summa v. Hofstra Univ., CV 08-0361 WDW, 2011 WL 1343058 (E.D.N.Y.
Apr. 7, 2011).
O Philip Miles, A Facebook Harassment Consideration, LawIIice
Space (Apr. 19, 2011),
O Equal Emplovment Opportunitv Commission v. Xerxes Corp., 2011 U.S. App.
LEXIS 8481 (4
Cir. April 26, 2011). The EEOC brought suit on behalI oI two
AIrican-American employees alleging a hostile work environment based on
race in violation oI Title VII. The District Court granted summary iudgment Ior
the deIendant employer, and the EEOC appealed. The plaintiIIs introduced
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
evidence that they were the target oI racial slurs. The plaintiIIs reported the
oIIending behavior to a supervisor, who investigated the matter, and ultimately
issued suspensions, ordered the oIIending employees to attend a reIresher
training course regarding anti-harassment policies, told the oIIending
employees that they were 'placed on a Iinal warning,¨ and threatened
termination iI the harassment continued. The harassment then continued,
though it was less overt so the harassers could avoid detection by the
deIendant. In an opinion by Judge Traxler, the 4
Circuit reversed in part the
District Court`s award oI summary iudgment and remanded the case. In a
concurring opinion, Judge Wilkinson warned oI the peril oI dispensing with
due process when an allegation is made to an employer, stating that 'no entity
public or private should be denied the leeway to sort out right Irom wrong.¨
4. Disparate Impact Discrimination Claim
O Given the higher proportion oI minorities on social media sites, reiecting
candidates based on social media proIiles could result in a disparate impact
claim against the employer. Sarah Evans, Disparate Impact Claims from
Using Social Media to Source and Evaluate Candidates?, Employment Law
in the Digital Age (May 21, 2010),
O Under the Supreme Court`s ruling in Lewis v. Citv of Chicago, 560 U. S.
(2010), every time a hiring practice with a disparate impact is used, it opens
up claims Ior the entire class oI persons aIIected by that hiring practice. See
U.S. Supreme Court Finds Disparate Impact Claims Timelv Years After Citv
Adopts Original Emplovment Practice, Dorsey & Whitney LLP (Jun. 10,
5. NLRA Jiolation Concerted Activitv
O See Section III.D above.
6. Jiolation of State Off-Dutv Conduct Statute
O Some states have statutes arising Irom the tobacco lobby to protect use oI
'lawIul products¨ during nonworking hours. An argument could be made that
this includes pictures on social media oI employees drinking and smoking.
Some states` statutes go Iurther making it unlawIul Ior an employer to
discharge and employee Ior any lawIul conduct occurring during nonworking
hours oII the employer`s premises. Brian M. Flock, Off-Dutv Conduct Statutes
Limit Prving into an Applicants Online Background, Counselor(Law (Aug.
31, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Kerry M. Lavelle, Whv Everv Emplover Should Adopt a Social Media
Networking Policv, Construction Equipment Distribution (Sept. 1, 2010),÷10926323. This article
discusses legal restrictions Ior employer`s monitoring oI oII-duty internet
usage and social media in light oI social media policies.
O Karlee S. Bolaño & Kyle W. Sturgess, Will Lifestvle Discrimination Statutes
Protect Emplovee Social Media Use?, Law Technology News (Mar. 30,
O ALI-ABA, Monitoring Off-Dutv Conduct on the Internet. Facebook. Blogs
and Social Networking Media (Study materials, Feb. 24, 2010).
7. Invasion of Privacv
O Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel, 172 Cal. App. 4th 1125 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th App.
Dist. Apr. 2, 2009). An author who posted an article on MySpace claimed
invasion oI privacy and intentional inIliction oI emotional distress when the
deIendant principal submitted to the article to the deIendant newspaper, which
republished it. The republished article included the author`s name, unlike the
MySpace posting, and it was included in the letters to the editor section oI the
newspaper. The article itselI explained how much the plaintiII despised her
hometown. AIter republication, the author`s Iamily received death threats and
a shot was Iired at the Iamily home. The court dismissed the plaintiII`s claim
Ior invasion oI privacy because she had publicized her opinions on MySpace,
relinquishing any reasonable expectation oI privacy. Nor was her name a
private Iact: her identity, the court Iound, was 'readily ascertainable¨ Irom her
MySpace page, which contained her picture, and the principal was able to
attribute the article to her Irom the original source. The principal, according to
the court, was only giving Iurther publicity to 'already public inIormation.¨
O Gerardi v. Citv of Bridgeport, 985 A.2d 328 (Conn. 2010). Employer installs
GPS devices on city vehicles to track them without notiIication to employees.
AIter the city disciplines two Iire inspectors Ior taking unauthorized breaks
between iobs, they sue Ior being monitored without prior notice oI the GPS
Ŵ Order on Discovery Issues Raised During April 21 ConIerence, EEOC v.
Simplv Storage Mgmt.. LLC, No. 1:09-cv-1223-WTL-DML, at 1 (S.D. Ind.
May 11, 2010), available at÷key-
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Daniel Schwartz, Electronic Monitoring of Emplovees Who Plav Games at
Work, Connecticut Employment Law Blog, (Oct. 1, 2007),
monitoring-oI-employees-who-play-games-at-work. Employers who monitor
their employee`s use oI their computers to prevent them Irom playing online
games must give written notice oI monitoring under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-
O Kyle Mitchell, Blog Wars. Emplover Controls and Emplovee Rights
Regarding Personal Blogging, The LEJer (Apr. 27, 2011),
O For more inIormation on how privacy aIIects discovery, see Section VI. B.
below especially the discussion oI Crispin v. Audigier.
C. Social Networking Posts Considered as Advertising. Endorsement. or
Employers should have policies in place regarding the statements employees can
make regarding their products on social media sites. Comments made to Facebook
or Twitter by an employee could be viewed as advertisements or endorsements
and subiect to FTC regulation.
O Federal Trade Commission`s Endorsement Guidance. See Federal Trade
Commission, 'FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements,
Testimonials¨ (Oct. 5, 2009), available at; see also Federal Trade
Commission, 'Guides Concerning the Use oI Endorsements and Testimonials
in Advertising,¨ available at
O Jason Shinn, Another Reason for Emplovers to be Warv of Social Media
Unfair and Deceptive Acts, DeIending the Digital Workplace (Jan. 17, 2010),
O Bryan Seiler, The Nice Things Your Emplovees Are Saving Can Create
Liabilitv, Minnesota Business (Jun. 3, 2010),
D. Background Checks of Employees and 1ob Applicants
Employers should be careIul about using social media sites to research potential
employees. Many companies have started this practice, but it is Iull oI risks.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
Social media sites give employers access to demographic inIormation that cannot
be considered in the hiring process. Even iI not considered, having seen
inIormation regarding an applicant`s age, race, religion, or disability poses a risk
Ior litigation that such inIormation was the grounds Ior a Iailure to hire.
O Survey data indicates substantial percentages oI employers are doing so. See,
e.g.,, Forty-Five Percent oI Employers Use Social
Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds,
Aug. 19, 2009, available at÷pr51
O Lawvers Warn Facebook a Riskv Tool for Background Checks, (unknown date),
O Heather R. Huhman, Whv You Could Be Breaking the Law Bv Researching
Job Candidates Online, Business Insider (Mar. 9, 2011),
O Tari D. Williams & Abigail Lounsbury Morrow, Want to Know Your
Emplovees Better? Log On To A Social Network. But. Be Warned. You Mav
Not Like What You See, 69 ALA. LAW. 131 (2008).
O Steve Bruce, MvSpace and Facebook. Routing [sic] Reference Checks or
Dangerous Data Sources?, HR Daily Advisor (Dec. 3, 2007),
O Michelle Sherman, Social Media Research ¹ Emplovment Decisions. Mav Be
a Recipe for Litigation, Social Media Law Update Blog (Jan. 18, 2011),
O Thomas Econdometrics, DeepNet. The Final Frontier for Emplovment Law,
The Proactive Employer Blog (Jun. 16, 2010),
O Sharlyn Lauby, Should You Search Social Media Sites for Job Candidate
Information?, Open Forum (Aug. 31, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
E. Anonymity
Due to the nature oI social media, it is possible to make public comments
anonymously. Anonymity can be a valuable tool in a social media strategy,
especially in 'viral¨ marketing. In some cases, especially with commercial
speech, courts can require the discovery oI the identity behind anonymous social
O In Anonvmous Online Speakers v. U.S. District Court, No. 09-71265, 2011
U.S. App. LEXIS 487 (9
Cir. January 7, 2011) (replacing 611 F.3d 653 (July
12, 2010)), the Ninth Circuit aIIirmed a district court opinion ordering the
disclosure oI three persons who, with two others, had posted anonymous
videos and other postings disparaging Quixtar, Inc. Quixtar had sought
disclosure oI all Iive persons` identities. The Ninth Circuit outlined the law oI
the right to anonymous speech, ultimately Iinding that the district court had
not abused its discretion in ordering disclosure. The Ninth Circuit did,
however, state that the district court had applied a test borrowed Irom the
Delaware Supreme Court, Doe v. Cahill, 884 A.2d 451 (Del. 2005). Cahill
required plaintiIIs to be able to survive a hypothetical motion Ior summary
iudgment and give (or attempt) notice to the speaker beIore discovering the
anonymous speaker`s identity. The Ninth Circuit`s test integrated insights
Irom Doe v. Reed, 561 U.S. , 130 S.Ct. 2811 (2010), arguing that the
proper standard should consider the nature oI the speech. Because Cahill
involved political speech (instead oI commercial speech), and rightly imposed
a higher bar to revealing the anonymous speaker, the speech at issue in this
case was commercial, which enioys less First Amendment protection.
Nonetheless, the district court`s choice did not constitute clear error, nor was
the error consequential, and so was aIIirmed.
O The Mortgage Specialists. Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavv Industries. Inc., 999
A.2d 184 (N.H. 2010) (Iinding limited right to discovery oI anonymous
commenter identities where potentially deIamatory comments were posted on
a website).
O Molly DiBianca, Judge Shows Whv Emplovers Should Consider Prohibiting
Emplovees From Posting Anonvmouslv Online, The Delaware Employment
Law Blog (Apr. 8, 2010),
O 'Manic,¨ Steve Grover. the Burger King of sock-puppets', Bloggerheads (Apr.
29, 2008),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O In general, aggrieved parties will Iind that the social media providers are
immune Irom suit Ior postings made through them. See Richard Raysman and
Peter Brown, Immunitv for Web Site Owners, Law Technology News (Sept. 9,
F. Civil Procedure
Not even civil procedure is leIt unaIIected by the changes oI social media. Social
media allows Ior businesses to reach across state lines without needing an
employee to step Ioot in that state. Sales through the internet, extensive
communications, and social media targeted at residents oI a state can give that
state`s courts personal iurisdiction. Even more, email is beginning to become
accepted as a Iorm oI substitute service in New York.
Social media with its many potential channels oI communication presents
many procedural advantages and disadvantages. For a brieI overview, see Daniel
L. Brown & Aimee R. Kahn, The Smoking Gun in an Adversarvs Network, Law
Technology News (Sept. 11, 2009),÷1202433691
Minimum contacts can also be established through the Internet. Robert S.
Friedman & Mark E. McGrath, Jirtual Contacts and Personal Jurisdiction, Law
Technology News (June 16, 2009),÷1202431398201.
G. Social Networking Sites and GINA
The Genetic InIormation Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) can be implicated by the
use oI social networking. Simply Iinding genetic inIormation about an employee
through accessing a Facebook or Myspace proIile could be dangerous Ior an
O Regulations Under the Genetic InIormation Nondiscrimination Act oI 2008,
75 Fed. Reg. 68912, codified at 29 C.F.R. Part 1635 (Nov. 9, 2010), available
4 Joseph Lazzarotti, EEOC Issues Final Regulations Under Title II of
GINA, Workplace Privacy Data Management & Security Report (Nov.
8, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Megan J. Erickson, Final GINA Regs Delaved. GINA & Social Media
Considerations for Emplovers, Social Networking Law Blog (June 6,

'With respect to social media issues speciIically, GINA makes the
mere acquisition oI genetic inIormation illegal. Because the Act
broadly deIines the term genetic inIormation` (including even medical
conditions oI Iamily members), checking out an employee`s or
applicant`s Facebook proIile could easily result in a violation. For
example, iI an employer Iound an employee`s status update saying he
is raising money Ior multiple sclerosis in honor oI his Iather who is
suIIering Irom itiust getting that inIormation could be a violation.¨
O Diane PIadenhauer, Social Networking Sites and Emplovment. Watch out for
GINA, Strategic HR Lawyer (Jun. 15, 2010),
H. LinkedIn: An Offensive Weapon for Employees
O How should employer policy address manager`s response to requests Irom
employee or Iormer employee Ior LinkedIn recommendation? A public
positive review on LinkedIn could be problematic Ior employers claiming
termination due to perIormance problems.
O Tresa Baldas, Lawvers warn emplovers against giving glowing reviews on
LinkedIn, Nat`l L. J., (July 6, 2009), available at÷1202432039774.
O But: Molly DiBianca, Warnings Against LinkedIn Recommendations.
Justified or Propaganda?, Delaware Employment Law Blog (July 20, 2009),
O Daniel Schwartz, 'Be Afraid of Social Networking` Whv the Conventional
Wisdom is Overblown, Connecticut Employment Law Blog (July 21, 2009),
O Michael Schmidt, Recommendations and References in the Social Media
Context, Social Media Employment Law Blog (Apr. 25, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
I. Employer May be Liable for Impersonating Employee on Facebook and
Employers should be careIul with using an employee`s social media account. II an
employer gains password inIormation Irom monitored internet use or uses a
computer an employee leIt logged into a social media site, any content created by
the employer on the employee`s account may be liable Ior impersonating the
O In Maremount v. Susan Friedman Design Group. Ltd., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
26441 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 15, 2011), an employer that allegedly posted to an
employee`s Facebook and Twitter accounts without her consent may be liable
Ior Ialse association / Ialse endorsement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §
1125(a)(1)(A), and the right to publicity under the Illinois right to publicity
J. Medical Workplace
Medical workplaces have spawned a series oI incidents that analyze social media
within a wide variety oI legal Irameworks, Irom state law to Iederal law. The
enhanced privacy surrounding medical records and patient inIormation creates
increased risks Ior the use oI social media at a medical workplace compared to
other Iields.
O In Westlake Surgical. L.P. v. Turner, No. 03-08-00122-CV, 2009 Tex. App.
LEXIS 6132 (Tx. Ct. App. Aug. 7, 2009), the plaintiII alleged that she was
Iired by the deIendant hospital in retaliation Ior reporting Iraudulent billing
and several other illegal activities. The hospital Iiled a counterclaim Ior
conversion and violation oI the Texas TheIt Liability Act (TTLA), alleging
that Turner improperly copied or took 3,000 pages oI conIidential patient
inIormation. The hospital also requested an iniunction and temporary
restraining order requiring a return and account Ior the inIormation. The trial
court denied the hospital`s requests, and the hospital appealed. The court oI
appeals held that the hospital had Iailed to plead its conversion claim because
it was inIormation, not a tangible item, was not the 'type oI property that can
be the obiect oI a conversion claim,¨ and thereIore the plaintiII could not have
'deprived¨ the hospital oI that inIormation. In addition, the plaintiII did not
violate HIPAA because she was a whistleblower in good Iaith under 45 C.F.R.
§ 164.502(i)(1).
O In Yath v. Fairview Clinics, 767 N.W.2d 34 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009), a patient
sued the deIendants medical clinic and employees because they allegedly
posted on MySpace conIidential inIormation purloined Irom the plaintiII`s
Iile. When one oI the deIendants, Navy Mao Tek, observed the plaintiII
visiting the hospital, she viewed the plaintiII`s Iile out oI curiosity. Ms. Tek
discovered that the plaintiII had both a sexually transmitted disease and a sex
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
partner other than her husband (Irom whom she was separated). Ms. Tek
could not resist telling one oI her Iriends, and eventually the gossip got back
to the plaintiII. The plaintiII brought suit under several theories. The appellate
court aIIirmed the trial court`s grant oI summary iudgment against the
patient`s claims oI invasion-oI-privacy, negligent inIliction oI emotional
distress, vicarious liability, and related claims, but reversed the trial court`s
holding that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
preempted Minnesota state law protecting patient inIormation. The case
makes Ior particularly interesting reading because it implicates some common
data preservation issues in social media-related cases, including spoliation.
4 For analysis and commentary on the opinion, see Joshua Gilliland,
Invasion of Privacv and Spoliation on MvSpace, Bow Tie Law (Aug.
3, 2009),
O When a nursing student took a photo oI a placenta and placed it on Facebook,
she was dismissed Irom the program Ior violating patient privacy. When she
sued, the court ruled that there was nothing in the photo to identiIy whose
placenta it was. Kashmir Hill, Taking a Photo with a Placenta Wont Get You
Kicked Out of Nursing School, The Not-So Private Parts (Jan. 7, 2011),
4 The Kansas court hearing the case about the placenta photo observed
that iI permission is given Ior a photo to be taken, it is reasonable to
anticipate that the photo will be shown to others. Kashmir Hill, Judge
Savs Its Reasonable For Anv Photo Taken To Go Jiral. A Dangerous
Precedent?, The Not-So Private Parts (Jan. 27, 2011),
4 Bvrnes v. Johnson Ctv. Cmtv. College, No. 10-2690-EFM-DJW, 2011
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5105 (D. Kan. Jan. 29, 2011).
4 For more on this case, see:
Littler Mendelson P.C., Posting Patient Photos The Newest
Example of Social Media Implications for the Workplace,
Digital Workplace Blog (Feb. 8, 2011),
Eric Goldman, Nursing School Cant Expel Students for
Posting Photo to FacebookBvrnes v. Johnson Countv CC,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
Technology & Marketing Law Blog (Jan. 26, 2011),
V. Employer Social Media Policies
The best way Ior an employer to protect itselI is through the use oI a social media policy.
A good social media policy will give employees Ireedom to use social media as part oI
their iobs while also giving guidelines that when Iollowed by employees will prevent
exposing the employer to liability Ior unlawIul comments oI its employees.
O Doug Cornelius, ChieI Compliance OIIicer at Beacon Capital Partners, has collected
some 236 social media policies. So, iI you need a sample, see
4 Molly DiBianca, Sample Social-Media Guidelines, The Delaware
Employment Law Blog (Dec. 2, 2009),
4 Mr. Cornelius also has a handy PowerPoint presentation on social media
policies at
policy.pptx, originally presented at the Virtual Corporate Counsel Forum on
September 30, 2010.
4 For a Iew select policies, see Appendix C below.
O Holly C. Pomraning, Developing a Social Media Policv Dos and Donts, Labor &
Employment Law Perspectives (Mar. 7, 2011),
4 Do Understand company`s need Ior a social media policy.
4 Do deIine 'social media¨ broadly.
4 Do describe the scope oI the policy.
4 Do set guidelines Ior internal computer use.
4 Do set guidelines Ior outbound communication.
4 Do allow employees to ask questions and sign the policy.
4 Don`t discipline employees Ior violating the social media policy
without Iirst consulting your attorney.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Don`t view social media proIiles without authorization.
4 Don`t consult social media sites Ior hiring decisions due to personal
inIormation that could Iorm basis oI a discrimination lawsuit.
O Molly DiBianca, 5 Non-Negotiable Provisions for Your Social-Media Policv, The
Delaware Employment Law Blog (Feb. 4, 2010),
4 Keep conIidential inIormation conIidential.
4 Be nice.
4 Do not break the law.
4 Protect privacy rights.
4 Standards oI conduct still apply.
O Jason Shinn, How to Increase the Likelihood Employees will Follow Your Social
Media Policy, DeIending the Digital Workplace (July 5, 2010),
4 Direct social media users with simple policies. II they have to search a
large document Ior a speciIic situation, they won`t.
4 Motivate the emotional side with examples oI poor social media use.
O Carolyn EleIant, Encouraging Discretion in Blogging Is Better Than Restricting It,
Legal Blog Watch (Oct. 11, 2007),
4 See also Daniel Schwartz, The Blog Post I Didnt Publish Will Your
Emplovees Do the Same?, Connecticut Employment Law Blog (Oct. 10,
O Patrick M. Fahey and Susan S. Murphy, How a Clear Social Media Policv Is a
Companvs Best Defense, Law Technology News (Apr. 27, 2011),÷1202491718569
O Ryan D. McConnell and Katharine Southard, Facebooks Impact on Compliance
Codes, Law Technology News (May 4, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Kris Dunn, The HR Capitalist Social Media PolicvAll Youll Ever Need . . ., The
HR Capitalist (June 24, 2009),
O Linda D. Schwartz, Social MediaFriend or Foe?, Maryland Bar Journal (Mar.
2011), available at
O Craig M. Cornish, Midwinter Meeting oI American Bar Association Section oI Labor
and Employment Law Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Anti-
privacv disclaimers. how courts are permitting emplover notices of intrusive
conditions of emplovment to eliminate privacv in the workplace (2005),
O Molly DiBianca, Are You Monitoring Your Emplovees Facebook Pages?, The
Delaware Employment Law Blog (June 15, 2010),
O Kris Dunn, A Tale of Two Social Media Policies.'Jaders Death Star` v. 'Dont
Embarrass Your Mom`. The HR Capitalist (June 4, 2010),
O Molly DiBianca, Sure. You Can Use Facebook at Work . . . Well Just Monitor What
You Post, The Delaware Employment Law Blog (Mar. 31, 2010),
O Molly DiBianca, Sample Social Media Policv, The Delaware Employment Law Blog
(Mar. 16, 2010),
O Molly DiBianca, Whv the Philadelphia Eagles (Still) Need a Social-Media Policv,
The Delaware Employment Law Blog (Jan. 7, 2010),
O David Gevertz & Gina Greenwood, Crafting an Effective Social Media Policv for
Healthcare Emplovees, 22 THE HEALTH LAWYER 28 (Aug. 2010).
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Jay Shepherd, Cosmic Law and social media, Gruntled Employees (Feb. 25, 2011),
O Jason Shinn, Digital Securitv Report. Social Networking Sites Expand Risks for
Emplovers, DeIending the Digital Workplace (July 26, 2009),
O Paul Secunda, Facebook and Work Do Not Mix. Part Deux, Workplace ProI Blog
(Nov. 3, 2008),
O Mark Herrmann, Inside Straight. Social Media Policies, Above the Law (Apr. 18,
O Michelle Sherman, Whv Everv Business Should Have A Social Media Policv, Social
Media Law Update (Sep. 10, 2010),
O Jon Hyman, Your Business is Behind the 8-ball if vou don´t have an Email Policv,
Ohio Employer's Law Blog (May 3, 2010),
O Robert K. RadcliII, Tailoring a Social Media Policv. The NFL Example, Smooth
Transitions (Dec. 8, 2010),
O Daniel Schwartz, Social Networking and Social Media Guidelines Is It Time Your
Companv Developed Some?, Connecticut Employment Blog (Jan. 22, 2010),
O James Wong, Drafting Trouble-Free Social Media Policies, Law Technology News
(Jun. 15, 2009),÷1202431410095.
O Gregory Rasin and Ariane Buglione, Social Networking and Blogs.
ManagingChatter, Law Technology News (Jul. 29, 2009),÷1202432598684
O William Martucci, Kristen Page, and JenniIer Oldvader, Social Networking. A
Workplacv Policv, Law Technology News (Jan. 22, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Gregory Gordillo, How to Create a Social Media Policv for Emplovee Handbooks,
Ohio Employment Law Blog (Jun. 18, 2009),
O David Schwartz, Twitter in the Workplace. Whv Emplovers Need to Be Cautious. Not
Afraid, Connecticut Employment Blog (Mar. 4, 2009),
VI. Discoverability and Admissibility of Social Networking Sites
Like other data, social networking sites can present vast stores oI discoverable data, some oI
which will be probative. This section will present resources that discuss the 'hows¨ and
'whys¨ oI collecting social media.
Some may question whether social media is even discoverable in the Iirst place. Divorce and
personal iniury lawyers have been using social media Ior some time. Employment law is the
late comer to the social media bandwagon.
Divorce attorneys have been ahead oI the social media curve Ior some time. The Iirst place
many divorce attorneys can Iind incriminating evidence against a spouse is on social media
sites, and such evidence can sway the outcome oI child custody battles and alimony disputes.
Social networking discovery skills are thus critical to divorce lawyers. The American
Association oI Matrimonial Lawyers estimates that over 80° oI its members have used
Facebook evidence in court. Emily Doskow, Facebook and Divorce. A Match Made
Somewhere, Nolo`s Divorce, Custody & Family Law Blog (Mar. 10, 2011),
Some personal iniury lawyers have also been early pioneers in social media discovery, using
videos, photographs and other inIormation posted to social media sites as evidence oI the
extent oI iniuries, or as prooI oI liability. As one personal iniury lawyer said, 'iI you don`t
want the other side to see it, it is not wise to post it up on Facebook.¨ D`Amore Law Group,
Facebook and the Personal Iniurv Litigant, Personal Iniury Law Update (Jun. 2, 2010),
For a brieI overview Irom a plaintiII`s perspective, see Karen Barth Menzies & Wesley K.
Polischuk, Is Your Client an Online Social Butterflv?, 46 Trial No. 10, at 23 (Oct. 2010).
A. Discovering Passwords
It may be tempting to request the username and password oI a witness or litigant`s
social networking sites. This case addressed that issue squarely granting a motion
to compel discovery oI social media usernames and passwords. The court argues
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
excluding relevant inIormation would require creating a new privilege Ior social
O McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedwav. Inc., No. 113-2010 CD, 2010 Pa. Dist.
& Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 270 (Pa. Ct. oI Common Pleas) (Sept. 9, 2010),
available at
4 Philip Miles, Discoverv Granted. Give Opposing Counsel Your
Facebook Password, LawIIice Space (Dec. 8, 2010),
4 Venkat, Court Orders Disclosure of Facebook and MvSpace
Passwords in Personal Iniurv Case McMillen v. Hummingbird
Speedwav, Technology & Marketing Law Blog (Oct. 24, 2010),
B. Discovering Social Media Content
TIP: Facebook, one oI the most signiIicant social networking sites, allows users
to download their entire Facebook proIile with a single click. Alexia Tsotsis,
Facebook Now Allows You To 'Download Your Information`, Tech Crunch
(Oct. 6, 2010),
No more must litigants subpoena Facebook to obtain the inIormation a motion
to compel the user to download their proIile is all that is needed. See Daniel
Schwartz, Using Social Networking Sites to Defend Your Companv in
Emplovment Law Cases, Connecticut Employment Law Blog (Apr. 11, 2011),
O The case law is mixed regarding entitlement to a party`s postings to Facebook
or other social media. There is an apparent consensus that litigants are
entitled to the most probative inIormation, but courts diIIer about how to
handle requests that seem to be exploring the limits oI 'reasonably calculated
to lead to the discovery oI admissible evidence.¨
O On May 11, 2010, Magistrate Judge Lynch oI the Southern District oI Indiana
entered an order in EEOC v. Simplv Storage Mgmt.. LLC, No. 09-1223 (S.D.
Ind. May 11, 2010) (relying heavily on Canadian law), in which she permitted
broad discovery by the deIense oI plaintiII`s social network sites. The EEOC
brought suit on behalI oI two Iemale employees oI a selI-storage Iirm, the
property manager and the associate manager, contending that the two and
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
other similarly situated Iemale employees were subiected to unwelcome
sexual groping, sexual assault, and sexual comments by a male property
manager. The two Iemales alleged that the sex harassment resulted in severe
emotional distress. Judge Lynch ordered them to disclose to the deIense
extensive inIormation Irom their MySpace and Facebook accounts, including
all proIiles, status updates, wall posts, groups ioined, causes supported,
photos, applications, and the like that 'reveal, reIer, or relate to any emotion,
Ieeling, or mental state, as well as communications that reveal, reIer, or relate
to events that could reasonably be expected to produce a signiIicant emotion,
Ieeling, or mental state.¨

Judge Lynch held that any privacy concerns were overridden by the Iact that
plaintiIIs had already shared the inIormation 'with at least one person.¨ In
support oI this proposition, Judge Lynch cited to two Canadian casesLeduc
v. Roman, 2009 CanLII 6838, at ¹31 (ON S.C.) ('Facebook is not used as a
means by which account holders carry on monologues with themselves.¨),
available at
I; and Murphv v. Perger, |2007| O.J. No. 5511 (S.C.J.) (Ontario Superior
Court oI Justice)as well as Mackelprang v. Fidelitv Natl Title Agencv of
Nevada. Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2379 (D. Nev. 2007), Ior the proposition
that 'merely locking a proIile Irom public access does not prevent discovery¨
under the auspices oI privacy.
4 In Leduc, the Ontario Superior Court oI Justice overturned the trial
court`s holding that the existence oI the plaintiII`s Facebook was not
reason to believe it contained relevant evidence about his liIestyle. In
so doing, the court stated:

'With respect, I do not regard the deIendant`s request as a Iishing
expedition, Mr. Leduc exercised control over a social networking and
inIormation site to which he allowed designated Iriends` access. It is
reasonable to inIer that his social networking site likely contains some
content relevant to the issue oI how Mr. Leduc has been able to lead
his liIe since the accident . . . a court can inIer, Irom the nature oI the
Facebook service, the likely existence oI relevant documents on a
limited-access Facebook proIile.¨ Leduc, 2009 CanLII 6838, at ¹32 &
4 In Murphv, the Ontario Superior Court oI Justice ordered a plaintiII in
a motor vehicle suit to produce copies oI her Facebook pages. The
deIendant successIully argued that the pages were likely to contain
photographs relevant to the plaintiII`s damages claim, and was
buttressed by the Iact that the plaintiII had served photographs
showing herselI participating in various Iorms oI activities pre-
accident. The court concluded:
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved

'Having considered these competing interests, I have concluded than
any invasion oI privacy is minimal and outweighed by the deIendant`s
need to have the photographs in order to assess the case. The plaintiII
could not have a serious expectation oI privacy given that 366 people
have been granted access to the private site.¨ |Thanks to Dan
Michaulk Ior the preceding synopsis and quotation.|
O See also Jon Hyman, Do vou know? Discoverv of social networks in
emplovment disputes, Ohio Employer`s Law Blog (May 25, 2010),
O Romano v. Steelcase. Inc., 907 N.Y.S.2d 650 (Sup. Ct. NY. SuIIolk Cty. Sept.
21, 2010). The deIendant in this case moved Ior an order granting it access to
the plaintiII`s current and historical Facebook and MySpace data, including
deleted pages or any other inIormation inconsistent with her iniury claims.
According to the deIendant, public photos and portions oI the plaintiII`s social
networking pages tended to contradict her claim oI iniury, and indicated that
she had traveled extensively despite a claim that her iniury prevented her Irom
doing so. The court held that because the public portions oI the site contained
adverse material, the private portions may contain Iurther evidence that is
material and relevant. The court took a dim view oI any 'attempt to hide
relevant inIormation behind selI-regulated privacy settings.¨ Id. at 655.
Moreover, the court reiected the plaintiII`s claim that she had a reasonable
expectation oI privacy in her Facebook or MySpace data. Analogizing social
networking sites to internet postings or emails that are intended to reveal
inIormation to a third party, the court interpreted the plaintiII`s postings as
implying consent to share her personal inIormation with others.
4 Sylvia Hsieh, Plaintiff must turn over deleted Facebook. MvSpace
pages, Lawyers USA Online (Oct. 4, 2010),
O Mackelprang v. Fidelitv Natl Title Agencv of Nev.. Inc., No. 2:06-cv-00788-
JCM-GWF, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2379, 2007 WL 119149, at *8 (D. Nev. Jan. 9,
2007) (Iinding that the employer could discover MySpace messages relating
to issues relevant to the case). In this sexual harassment case, the deIendant
attempted to obtain 'email communications on two internet
accounts¨ that allegedly belonged to the plaintiII, but which the plaintiII had
not admitted. Despite a subpoena Irom the deIendant, MySpace had reIused to
produce private 'email messages¨ without a search warrant or letter oI
consent to production by the owner oI the account. The court ultimately held
that the deIendant could not access the emails on mere suspicions that they
may contain sexually explicit or promiscuous content relevant to damages,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
though it did order release oI emails subsequent to one suicide attempt that
might be relevant to the credibility oI the plaintiII`s emotional distress claims.
The court also acidly observed that nothing would stop the deIendant Irom
serving discovery to determine whether the accounts did, in
Iact, belong to the plaintiII.
O EEOC v. Simplv Storage Management, 270 F.R.D. 430 (S.D. Ind. May 11,
2010). The EEOC Iiled a complaint on behalI oI two named claimants and
other individuals who alleged that the deIendant business were liable Ior
sexual harassment. The parties disagreed about whether discovery should
include the plaintiIIs` Facebook or MySpace proIiles, as well as all related
applications, both at deposition and through requests Ior production. The court
held that the sought content was not shielded Irom discovery simply because it
was 'locked¨ or 'private,¨ and instead held that the content must be produced
when relevant to a claim or deIense. Not all social networking site
communications were considered relevant, but verbal communications, third-
party communications, and photos and videos were ordered produced iI they
related to the plaintiII`s claim Ior emotional distress or placed the claimants`
communications in context. On a related note, the court observed that the
parties should conIer regarding whether a protective order limiting disclosure
oI discovery materials ought to cover the materials at issue here.
O Crispin v. Christian Audigier. Inc., 717 F. Supp. 2d 965 (C.D. Cal. May 26,
2010). The deIendant in this case served subpoenas duces tecum on several
social networking websites, including Facebook and MySpace, seeking all
communications between the plaintiII and a plaintiII in a separate lawsuit, as
well as any oI the other deIendants, on the grounds that it was relevant to
determining the nature and terms oI the agreement at issue. The plaintiII
obiected on three grounds: 1) the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18
U.S.C. § 2701(a)(1); 2) overbreadth on grounds oI privilege and privacy
rights; and 3) relevance. The magistrate iudge reiected all three. The district
court, reviewing the decision, held that the SCA applied to the social
networking sites, but that the Facebook wall or MySpace comment was not
protected. The court quashed the subpoena with respect to the private
messages and webmail because they were 'inherently private¨ and not readily
accessible to the public. As to the wall and proIile pages, however, the court
directed the parties to develop a Iuller evidentiary record regarding the
plaintiII`s privacy settings and the extent oI public access to the Facebook
wall and MySpace comments.

In Crispin, the court delineated the three types oI inIormation contained on
social network sites, as Iollows:
4 InIormation made public via a social networke.g., Facebook or
Twitter postings.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 InIormation not readily available to the general public via option
privacy settings.
4 Private messages between users oI the sites, with the site serving
merely as a conduit Ior the private communications.
O The court continued, noting that oI the above three, only the Iirst may be
discoverable via subpoena:

'With respect to webmail and private messaging, the court is satisIied that
those Iorms oI communications media are inherently private such that stored
messages are not readily accessible to the general public.. Those portions oI
the . subpoenas that sought private messaging are thereIore quashed. With
respect to the subpoenas seeking Facebook wall postings and MySpace
comments, however, the court concludes that the evidentiary record . is not
suIIicient to determine whether the subpoenas should be quashed. The only
piece oI evidence adduced was a Wikipedia article stating that Facebook
permits wall messages to be viewed by anyone with access to the user`s
proIile page` and that MySpace provides the same` Iunctionality. This
inIormation admits oI two possibilities; either the general public had access to
plaintiII`s Facebook wall and MySpace comments, or access was limited to a
4 See also Eric Lipman, Plaintiffs Exhibit 1. Your Facebook Wall,
Legal Blog Watch (Jun9, 2010),
s-exhibit-1-your-Iacebook-wall.html; Eric Goldman, Facebook
Messages/Wall Posts. Civil Discoverv. and the Stored
Communications ActCrispin v. Audigier; Technology & Marketing
Law Blog (June 2, 2010),; Doug
Cornelius, Are Facebook and MvSpace Messages Subiect to
Discoverv?, Compliance Building (Jun. 16. 2010).
myspace-messages-subiect-to-discovery; Venkat Balasubramani, Can
You Subpoena Someones Facebook Page in a Civil Case?, Spam
Notes (Jun. 3, 2010).
O Barnes v. CUS Nashville. LLC, Order, No. 3:09-cv-00764 (M.D. Tenn. May
27, 2010). An initial order directed Facebook to produce inIormation Irom the
Facebook account oI a nonparty witness. Facebook appeared and moved to set
aside the order. The magistrate iudge agreed with Facebook that the Secured
Communication Act (SCA) prohibits Facebook Irom disclosing the materials
sought in the order.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Beve v. Horizon and Folev v. Horizon (consolidated cases) No. 06-5337 & No.
06-6219 (D.N.J. Nov. 8, 2006 & Dec. 26, 2006). The iuvenile class plaintiIIs
obiected to discovery requests seeking access to their Facebook and MySpace
pages. The magistrate iudge initially ordered disclosure oI all the pages, but
later narrowed the order to exempt writings 'the contents oI which have not
been shared with others.¨
O Bass v. Miss Porters School, 2009 WL 3724968 (D. Conn. 10/27/09). The
plaintiII obiected to the production oI documents provided by Facebook. The
court overruled the obiections and allowing the deIendants to obtain a copy oI
the documents related to the plaintiII`s teasing and taunting on Facebook.
O McCann v. Harlevsville Ins., 910 N.Y.S.2d 614 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Nov. 12,
2010). The plaintiII in this action brought suit seeking supplementary
uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. The deIendant appealed an
order denying a motion to compel disclosure oI photographs and authorization
to access plaintiII`s Facebook account to determine whether the plaintiII
sustained a serious iniury in the accident. The court aIIirmed the trial court`s
denial as 'overly broad,¨ while vacating the trial court`s grant oI a protective
order to the plaintiII. This decision did not preclude the deIendant Irom
seeking a narrower authorization Ior inIormation related to the plaintiII`s
4 Evan Brown, Facebook account protected from disclosure in
discoverv. for now, Internet Cases (Nov. 13, 2010),
O Molly DiBianca, Discoverv of Social-Media Profiles, Going Paperless Blog
(June 15, 2010),
O John Hyman, More on Discoverv of Social Networks. Subpoenas to Websites
Proving to be Difficult, Ohio Employer`s Law Blog (June 10, 2010),
O A plaintiII has standing to challenge a subpoena oI his Facebook and
MySpace inIormation. Mancuso v. Florida Metropolitan Universitv.
Inc., No. 09-61984-CIV, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11141 (S.D. Fla.
2011), citing Crispin, supra.
O Evan Brown, Facebook user had standing to challenge subpoena
seeking his profile information, Internet Cases (Feb. 8, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Joshua Gilliland, How to Get a Judge to Overcome the Guilt of
Ordering the Forensic Examination of a Personal Computer, Bow Tie
Law (Jun. 14, 2010),
C. Guides to Collecting Social Media
II you are working on a case and need to collect social media data, these articles
should provide a good practical guide Ior how to collect the inIormation and
prepare it Ior use in a case.
O Sharon D. Nelson, The Defensible Collection of Social Media Data in
Electronic Discoverv, Ride the Lightning (Apr. 29, 2010),
4 Sharon D. Nelson, Readers Comment. The Defensible Collection of
Social Media Data in E-Discoverv, Ride the Lightning (Jun. 01, 2010),
Use oI soItware iCyte ( to capture webpages
Screen captures
Print to pdI to save Iormatting
O James Parton, Obtaining Records From Facebook. LinkedIn. Google and
Other Social Networking Websites and Internet Service Providers., DRI
Today (May 24, 2010),÷2010°2I5°2IObtaining¹Records¹From
¹Social¹Networking¹Websites.pdI. This is included in the appendix. Note
that it was written beIore Facebook began allowing users to download their
entire proIile.
O Christopher J. Akin, How to Discover and Use Social Media-Related
Evidence, Litigation Vol 37 No. 2 (Winter 2011), 32.
O Yonaton AronoII, Can Emplovers in an FLSA Overtime Case Issue
Subpoenas Concerning an Emplovees Social Media. Banking. and Texting
Activities?, Foley & Lardner Labor & Employment Law Perspectives (Apr. 4,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Discusses case Mancuso v. Florida Metropolitan Universitv. Inc.,
where the plaintiII initiated an overtime pay lawsuit. Employers were
able to successIully subpoena Ior Facebook and MySpace proIile
activity, AT&T text message times, and Bank oI America ATM
O See generally, John D. Martin, ed., E-Discoverv Connection,
4 JenniIer Woiciechowski, Ensuring Integritv of Electronic Evidence.
Twelve Strategies for e-Evidence Collection, E-Discovery Connection
Vol. 1 No. 1 (Jun. 20, 2006),°2
Consider authentication issues in developing a data collection
Evaluate which metadata Iields should be preserved and
Avoid booting a computer and/or accessing Iiles
Avoid opening a hard drive outside oI a cleanroom
Obtain mirror images oI the original media, iI necessary
Maintain a thorough chain oI custody documentation
Understand the pitIalls associated with selI-collection soItware
and techniques
Avoid dangerous desk-side collection
Consider authenticity and hearsay issues in advance
Consider enlisting the services oI a data collection expert
Consider whether an e-evidence expert will require disclosure
Develop Ioundational questions Ior your testiIying expert
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Andrea Johnson, Tracking Down the Anonvmous Blogger, E-
Discovery Connection Vol. No. (Jan. 15, 2008),°2
Discovery°20Connection°20February.pdI. Courts will look to
balance multiple Iactors in determining whether to require the
discovery oI an anonymous blogger.
How critical is the disclosure to the requesting party?
Has the requesting party sought the inIormation through other
How substantial are the reasons Ior disclosure?
What is the chance oI the litigation succeeding?
D. Admissibility of Social Media
Social media technology may be new, but the applicable rules oI evidence are not.
For an extensive analysis oI the admissibility oI electronically stored inIormation
(ESI), see Judge Grimm`s scholarly opinion in Lorraine v. Markel American Ins.
Co., 241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007). For brieIer overviews, see Jocelyn D. Larkin,
Impact Fund, Getting It In. The Admissibilitv of Electronicallv Stored Information
in Emplovment Litigation (undated),; Mary Kay
Kisthardt & Barbara Handschu, Using social network site evidence in familv law
cases, Nat`l Law Journal, at 28 (Sept. 20, 2010).
1. Authentication
O M. Anderson Berry & David Kiernan, Authenticating Web Pages as Evidence,
Law Technology News (Jan. 21, 2010),÷1202439
O Social media postings by a party are admissible iI the party opens the door.
For a heart-wrenching example, see Clark v. Indiana, 915 N.E.2d 126 (Ind.
2009) (murder deIendant`s boasts about his character opened the door Ior
character evidence gleaned Irom deIendant`s MySpace page, where he
boasted about his status as an 'outlaw and criminal¨).
4 But see Evan Brown, MvSpace Evidence Was Inadmissible Hearsav,
Internet Cases Blog (Apr. 8, 2011),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Griffin v. State, 2011 Md. LEXIS 226 (Md. Apr. 28, 2011). In an opinion by
Judge Battaglia, the Court considered the appropriate way to authenticate
electronically stored inIormation printed Irom a social networking site. In the
underlying criminal trial, the Circuit Court Ior Cecil County admitted what the
State alleged were several pages Irom the appellant`s girlIriend`s Myspace
proIile. The Court oI Special Appeals aIIirmed. The Court oI Appeals held
that the pages were not properly authenticated pursuant to Maryland Rule 5-
901, and reversed the iudgment below. In so ruling, the Court noted that that
the State had attempted to authenticate the pages through the testimony oI the
lead investigator in the case. The Court also noted that '|t|he identity oI who
generated the proIile may be conIounding, because a person observing the
online proIile oI a user with whom the observer is unacquainted has no idea
whether the proIile is legitimate.`¨ Id. at *13 (quoting The Fourth Amendment
and the Brave New World of Online Social Networking, 93 Marq. L. Rev.
1495, 1499-1500 (2009-2010) (Iootnotes omitted)). Thus 'concern arises
because anyone can create a Iictitious account and masquerade under another
person`s name or can gain access to another`s account by obtaining the user`s
username and password.¨ 2011 Md. LEXIS 226 at *13. The Court discussed
U.S. v. Drew, 259 F.R.D. 449 (D.C.D. Cal. 2009), in which a woman was
prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Ior creating a Myspace
proIile Ior a Iictitious 16 year old boy, contacting a Iriend oI her daughter`s,
Ilirting with her, and then breaking oII communication, aIter which the young
woman killed herselI. The Court then turned to Judge Grimm`s decision in
Lorraine v. Markel American Ins. Co., 241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007), and
stated as Iollows:

'|T|he requirement oI authentication or identiIication as a condition
precedent to admissibility is satisIied by evidence suIIicient to support a
Iinding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims,` to insure
trustworthiness. Judge Grimm recognized that authenticating electronically
stored inIormation presents a myriad oI concerns because technology
changes so rapidly` and is oIten new to many iudges.` Moreover, the
complexity` or novelty` oI electronically stored inIormation, with its
potential Ior manipulation, requires greater scrutiny oI the Ioundational
requirements` than letters or other paper records, to bolster reliability.¨

2011 Md. LEXIS 226 at *20 (quoting Loraine, 241 F.R.D. 534) (internal
citations omitted). The Court oI Appeals held that a picture oI the appellant`s
girlIriend, coupled with her birth date and location, were not 'suIIicient
distinctive characteristics` on a Myspace proIile to authenticate its printout,
given the prospect that someone other than |the girlIriend| could have not only
create the site, but¨ posted the comments in question. Id. at 22. In so holding,
the Court oI Appeals cited similar cases around the country, including
Commonwealth v. Williams, 456 Mass. 857, 926 N.E.2d 1162 (Mass. 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
People v. Lenihan, 30 Misc. 3d 289, 911 N.Y.S. 2d 588 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2010)
and U.S. v. Jackson, 208 F.3d 633 (7
Cir. 2000).

In a dissenting opinion by Judge Harrell, ioined by Judge Murphy, Judge
Harrell noted that there was nothing in the record to suggest that someone
other than the appellant`s girlIriend could access or create the account in
question, or post to the account. Judge Harrell said that '|t|he technological
heebie-ieebies discussed in the Maiority Opinion go, however, not to the
admissibility oI the print-outs under Rule 5-901, but rather to the weight to be
given the evidence by the trier oI Iact.¨ 2011 Md. LEXIS 226 at *41.

O Susan Brenner, MvSpace Evidence Not Authenticated But., CYB3RCRIM3
(June 2, 2010),
O LaLonde v. LaLonde, 2011 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 161 (Ky. Ct. App. Feb.
25, 2011). This appeal Irom a custody decree involved the allegation that one
party had not been truthIul with her health care providers when indicating that
she had suspended or diminished her consumption oI alcohol. She argued on
appeal that the trial court improperly admitted unauthenticated Facebook
pictures oI her enioying parties and consuming alcohol against the providers`
advice. These photos were discovered because she had been 'tagged,¨
presumably by another user. Because she had ultimately admitted that she was
drinking alcohol and the pictures reIlected that activity, they were properly
O John Soma, Melodi Mosley Gates, & Michael Smith, Bit-Wise But Privacv
Foolish. Smarter E-Messaging Technologies Call For a Return to Core
Privacv Principles, 20 ALB. L.J. SCI. & TECH. 487 (2010).
O Randy L. Dryer, Advising Your Clients (And You') In the New World of Social
Media. What Everv Lawver Should Know About Twitter. Facebook. YouTube.
& Wikis, 23 UTAH BAR. J. 16 (2010).
O Brian Kane & Brett T. Delange, A Tale of Two Internets. Web 2.0 Slices.
Dices. and is Privacv Resistant, 45 IDAHO L. REV. 317 (2009).
O Gregory M. Duhl and Jaclyn S. Millner, Social Networking and Workers
Compensation Law at the Crossroads, PACE L. REV., Vol. 31 (Forthcoming),
William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-16, Sept. 2010,÷1675026.
O Lori Paul, Paralegal Practice Tip. How to Subpoena MvSpace and Facebook
Information, PARALEGAL BLAW BLAW BLAW (Oct. 10, 2009),÷litigation.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
2. Attornev-Client Privilege Questions On Work Computers
O Holmes v. Petrovich Development Co., 191 Cal. App. 4
1047 (Cal. Ct.
App. January 13, 2011). A plaintiII employee brought suit Ior hostile
work environment sexual harassment, breach oI the right to privacy,
intentional inIliction oI emotional distress, retaliation, and constructive
discharge. The Superior Court oI Sacrament County granted the
employer`s motion Ior summary iudgment on the hostile work
environment sexual harassment, retaliation, and constructive discharge
claims, and a iury returned a verdict Ior the employer on the remaining
claims. The employee appealed. In an opinion by Judge Chang, the
Court Iound as Iollows:
Ŵ Emails Irom the plaintiII to her attorney were not protected by the
attorney-client privilege because they were sent Irom the
employer`s computer using her employer`s company email account
aIter the employee was expressly advised that such emails were not
private, and were accessible by the employer. Because the
plaintiII`s privacy and intentional inIliction oI emotional distress
claims were based on the employer`s alleged violation oI the
attorney-client privilege, they could not stand.
Ŵ The hostile work environment claim was appropriate Ior dismissal
because the plaintiII Iailed to show that the environment was
obiectively oIIensive.
Ŵ The plaintiII`s retaliation claim could not stand because the
plaintiII Iailed to demonstrate that she suIIered an adverse
employment action. The plaintiII`s salary, beneIits and work hours
were not reduced, and she was not terminated.
Ŵ Finally, there was no evidence Irom which a reasonable trier oI
Iact could conclude that the deIendant 'intentionally created or
knowingly permitted working conditions that were so intolerable
or aggravated at the time oI |plaintiII`s| resignation that a
reasonable employer would realize that a reasonable person in
|her| position would be compelled to resign.¨ Thus the
constructive discharge claim was properly dismissed.
1. Frank Steinberg, Using Your Emplovers E-mail. Theres Legal.
and Then Theres Smart, New Jersey Employment Law Blog (Jan
18, 2011);
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Stengart v. Loving Care Agencv. Inc., 990 A.2d 650 (N.J. March 30,
2010). A plaintiII Iormer employee sued the deIendant employer Ior
discrimination. AIter the plaintiII Iiled suit, the deIendant hired a
computer expert to retrieve password-protected, emails Irom a personal,
web-based account, between the plaintiII and her attorney on an
employer-owned laptop that the plaintiII had used and returned upon
termination. The employer`s attorney read the emails, and used the
inIormation contained therein during discovery. At trial, the plaintiII
moved to disqualiIy the employer`s counsel, claiming that the emails
were privileged. The trial court disagreed, holding that the emails were
not privileged, and denying the plaintiII`s request to disqualiIy the
employer`s attorney. In a unanimous opinion written by Judge Rabner,
the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the
circumstances the employee could have reasonably expected that her
personal email account would remain private, and that sending and
receiving emails to her attorney using an employer-provided computer
did not serve as a waiver oI the attorney-client privilege. Because the
emails were at least arguably privileged, the employer`s attorney
violated New Jersey Rule oI ProIessional Conduct 4.4(b).
O Natl Econ. Research Assoc. v. Evans, Mass. L. Rptr. No. 15 (Mass.
Super. Ct. Sept. 25, 2006) (An employee used a company laptop to send
and receive attorney-client communications by e-mail. In doing so, he
used his personal, password-protected Yahoo account and not the
company's e-mail address. The e-mails were automatically stored in a
temporary Internet Iile on the computer's hard drive and were later
retrieved by a computer Iorensic expert. The expert recovered various
attorney-client e-mails; at the instruction oI the company's lawyer, those
e-mails were not reviewed pending guidance Irom the court.)
O In re Asia Global Crossing. Ltd., 322 B.R. 247, 257 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.
2005) (the Bankruptcy Court Ior the Southern District oI New York
considered whether a bankruptcy trustee could Iorce the production oI e-
mails sent by company employees to their personal attorneys on the
companv´s e-mail system. The court developed a Iour-part test to
"measure the employee's expectation oI privacy in his computer Iiles and
e-mail": (1) does the corporation maintain a policy banning personal or
other obiectionable use, (2) does the company monitor the use oI the
employee's computer or e-mail, (3) do third parties have a right oI access
to the computer or e-mails, and (4) did the corporation notiIy the
employee, or was the employee aware, oI the use and monitoring
policies? Because the evidence was "equivocal" about the existence oI a
corporate policy banning personal use oI e-mail and allowing
monitoring, the court could not conclude that the employees' use oI the
company e-mail system eliminated any applicable attorney-client
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Smvth v. Pillsburv Co., 914 F. Supp. 97, 100-01 (E.D.Pa.1996) (Iinding
no reasonable expectation oI privacy in unproIessional e-mails sent to
supervisor through internal corporate e-mail system).
O Scott v. Beth Israel Med. Ctr.. Inc., 17 Misc. 3d 934, 847 N.Y.S.2d 436,
441-43 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.2007) (Iinding no expectation oI conIidentiality
when company e-mail used to send attorney-client messages).
O Convertino v. U.S. Dep´t of Justice, 674 F.Supp.2d 97, 2009 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 115050, *33-34 (D.D.C.2009) (Iinding reasonable expectation oI
privacy in attorney-client e-mails sent via employer's e-mail system).
O Curto v. Medical World Communications. Inc., 99 Fed. Empl. Prac.
Cas. (BNA) 298 (E.D.N.Y. May 15, 2006) (An employee working Irom
a home oIIice sent e-mails to her attorney on a company laptop via her
personal AOL account. Those messages did not go through the
company's servers but were nonetheless retrievable. Notwithstanding a
company policy banning personal use, the trial court Iound that the e-
mails were privileged).
O TransOceanCapital. Inc. v. Fortin, 2006 WL 3246401 (Mass. Super.
Oct. 20, 2006) (Where the evidence was clear that an employer did not
notiIy employees oI a policy prohibiting personal email use, the
Massachusetts Superior Court concluded that an employee`s emails sent
Irom the oIIice computer to his lawyer remained privileged).
O Long v. Marubeni America Corp, 2006 WL 2998671 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 19,
2006) (Where the employees communicated with their attorneys through
password-protected internet-based email accounts, not the company`s
email system, the court, relying on the company`s policy that it had
warned employees that they had 'no right oI personal privacy in any
matter stored in, created, received, or sent over the email... and/or
internet systems¨ held that the employees could not claim privilege over
the contents oI emails that were Iound in the temporary internet Iiles oI
their oIIice computers).
O Kaufmann v. SunGard Inv. Svs., 2006 WL 1307882, 2006 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 28149 (D.N.J. May 10, 2006). The court aIIirmed a magistrate
iudge`s order granting the deIendant`s motion seeking to discover email
communications between one plaintiII and counsel, most oI which had
been copied and/or deleted Irom a company laptop. The plaintiII had not
segregated her communications with counsel on the laptop beIore she
sold the company (which owned the laptop) to the deIendants. As such,
the court aIIirmed the magistrate`s decision that she had Iailed to take
reasonable measures to withhold the emails Irom the deIendant or ensure
their conIidentiality, and that disclosure oI the pre-closing email
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
communications constituted a deliberate waiver oI the privilege.
Moreover, the acquisition agreement indicated that email
communications should have been transIerred with other inIormation. In
addition, the plaintiII had used SunGard`s network knowing that
SunGard`s company policy declared company property all inIormation
and email on its computer systems. According to company policy, all
emails were subiect to monitoring, and SunGard reserved the right to
monitor emails. Consequently, the plaintiII had no reasonable
expectation oI privacy in the emails.
O People v. Jiang, 131 Cal. App. 4th 1027 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2005). The
trial court Iound that password-protected documents placed on the
deIendant`s employer-owned laptop and segregated into a Iolder named
'Attorney¨ were not protected by the attorney-client privilege because
the deIendant had no reasonable expectation oI privacy in documents on
an employer-issued laptop. The prosecutor printed the contents oI a CD
produced by the deIendant`s employer in response to a subpoena, and
represented to the court and opposing counsel that the printed contents
contained everything on the CD. A couple months later, however, the
prosecutor discovered the password-protected Iiles and obtained the
password Irom the deIendant`s employer. The deIendant, it turned out,
had been communicating with counsel through his wiIe and other Iamily
members using his work laptop. On appeal, the court decided that
because the deIendant`s work agreement with his employer did not
preclude personal use oI the computer or make any reIerence to copying
or disclosure by the employer, and because the deIendant had made
'substantial eIIorts¨ to prevent others Irom viewing the documents, the
deIendant`s expectation oI privacy in those documents was reasonable.
O Havnes v. Office of Attv. Gen. Phill Kline, 298 F.Supp.2d 1154 (D. Kan.
2003) (Iormer assistant attorney general was entitled to preliminary
iniunctive enioining a state Attorney General's OIIice Irom accessing
personal Iiles and e-mail communications stored on his work computer
Iollowing his termination; plaintiII had a subiective expectation oI
privacy in the personal Iiles stored on his work computer, and this
expectation was obiectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment;
although a computer use policy was displayed daily on his computer
stating that there was no expectation oI privacy in the computer system,
he was told he could put personal inIormation in a private Iile so no one
could access it).
O Adam C. Losey, Dunwody Distinguished Lecture in Law: Note:
Clicking Awav Confidentialitv. Workplace Waiver of Attornev-Client
Privilege, 60 Fla. L. Rev. 1179 (Dec. 2008).
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Photocopiers, particularly the new ones, may be storing conIidential
records. Watch this issue careIully. See Steve Bruce, Copv Machine Mav
Be Storing Your Confidential Records, HR Daily Advisor (Dec. 6,
esRecordsRecordkeepingDOLIRSCrackdown.aspx; Armen
Keteyian, Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets, CBS News (Apr.
15, 2010),
E. Data Preservation Issues
O Preservation oI social media evidence is so close to the cutting-edge that there
is no edge to speak oI (yet). But stay tuned the duty to preserve applies iust
as much to social media as it does to other Iorms oI ESI. Failing to impose
litigation holds related to social media may lead to vigorous sanctions. Cf.
Jones v. Bremen High School Dist. 228, No. 08-C-3548, 2010 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 51312 (May 25, 2010) (sanctioning deIendant Ior poor document
retention policy and negligence in data preservation).
O Megan J. Erickson, Update. Update. Update Your Document Retention
Policies', Social Networking Law Blog (Feb. 26, 2011),
O Bob Sutton, On the temptation to declare 'email bankruptcv`, Work Matters
(Feb. 26, 2011),
F. Data Management Issues
O Without careIul attention to limiting the scope oI discovery, attorneys working
in the realm oI social media may Iind themselves awash with inIormation. Not
all inIormation is useIul Ior litigation, and seemingly simple requests can
reveal overwhelming amounts oI unusable technical data resulting in a
discovery dump. Such inIormation should not be requested simply because it
is available; counsel should be careIul to tailor discovery requests to the issues
sought, and not inundate themselves with overly broad responsive materials.
4 Alan M. Winchester & Russell E. Maines, Harvesting Evidence From
the Sea of Text Messages, New York Law Journal (Oct. 6, 2010),÷1
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Sometimes the vast inIormation Ilow can be useIul, particularly where there
are plausible allegations oI impersonation or Iraud. Social media sites oIten
retain inIormation about the source oI user traIIic, called an IP address. Such
inIormation is useless by itselI, and requires signiIicant assistance Irom
network providers in a process called 'backtracing.¨ The technical details
involved in identiIying the human source oI the transmission can be Iraught,
particularly where a sophisticated party attempts to hide personal
involvement. For an exceptionally careIul opinion demonstrating the
complexity oI using post-mortem analysis oI Internet traIIic to determine the
identity oI an anonymous emailer, see Passlogix. Inc. v. 2FA Tech.. LLC et
al., No. 08 Civ. 10986, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44182 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 27,
2010) (siIting through complex expert opinions regarding Iorensic analysis oI
computer and internet records; evaluating spoliation consequences). The court
there Iound that the experts` testimony was mixed, in large part due to internal
inconsistencies in the declarations.
G. Other Litigation Issues
O Karen L. Stevenson, Whats On Your Witnesss MvSpace Page?, 33 Litigation
News No. 3 (Mar. 2008).
O Mark L. Tamburri, Thomas M. Pohl, M. Patrick Yingling, A Little Bird Told
Me About the Trial. Revising Court Rules to Allow Reporting From the
Courtroom Jia Twitter, 79 BNA Insights 1341 (Sept. 21, 2010).
VII. 1urors and Social Networking
Social media has aIIects on the courtroom too. Due to the prevalence oI social media, most
iurors probably participate in at least one Iorm iI not several. A iuror`s use oI social media
can be iust as important as a party or witness` use oI these same networks.
A. Lawyers Googling 1urors
Jury selection is a critical stage in any trial. Lawyers want to know what each iuror is like
in order to determine whether or not that person will be sympathetic to the client`s
case. Social media can provide Iar more inIormation about a person`s background
than would otherwise be available.
O Molly DiBianca, New Jersev Appellate Court. Lawvers Can Google Jurors,
Going Paperless (Oct. 13, 2010),
B. 1uror Use of Social Media
Juror`s use oI social media can pose signiIicant risk. Jurors are not allowed to
seek outside inIormation about a case, nor are they to communicate with others
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
outside about the trial during its duration. Jurors have been using social media Ior
these purposes causing trouble Ior iudges and trial attorneys.
i. Judicial ConIerence oI the United States Committee on Court
Administration and Case Management, Memo, Juror Use of
Communication Technologies, Jan. 28, 2010, available at
ii. Frank J. Mastro, Preventing the 'Google Mistrial`. The Challenge Posed
bv Jurors Who Use the Internet and Social Media, Litigation Vol 37 No. 2
(Winter 2011), 23.
iii. Rebecca Porter, News & Trends. Texts and Tweets bv Jurors. Lawvers
Pose Courtroom Conundrums, Trial 12 (Aug. 2009).
iv. Susan MacPherson & Beth Bonora, The Wired Juror. Unplugged, Trial 40
(Nov. 2010).
v. Hon. Dennis Sweeney, Social Media and Jurors, Md. Bar Journal,
November/December 2010, at 44.
vi. Bridget Freeland, Jurors Facebook Postings During Gang Trial Lead to
Legal Morass & Suit Against Judge, Courthouse News Service, (Feb. 15,
vii. Blog Law Online, Juror Use of Social Media. A State-bv State Guide,
Posted on Feb. 15, 2010 by Eric P. Robertson, available at
4 Sharon Nelson, Florida Issues New Jurv Instructions. No Tweeting.
Blogging. Net Research. etc., Ride the Lightning (Nov. 4, 2010),
4 Order Amending Indiana Jury Rules, Cause No. 94S00-1003-MS-128
(Mar. 1, 2010).
viii. Rosalind R. Greene & Jan Mills Spaeth, Are Tweeters or Googlers In Your
Jurv Box?, 46 Az. Attorney 38 (Feb. 2010).
ix. John G. Browning, When All That Twitters Is Not Told. Dangers Of The
Online Juror, 73 Tex. B.J. 216 (Mar. 2010).
x. John Eligon, 'An Astor Juror Says Her Fear Dictated Vote¨, New York
Times, Feb. 21, 2010,
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
61 (iurors sent
nearly 60 e-mail messages amongst themselves 'that showed them
orchestrating how to portray the deliberations¨).
xi. Molly DiBianca, Jurv Instructions on Social Media (And Google Earth'),
Going Paperless (Jun. 4, 2010),
xii. The Judicial ConIerence`s model instructions, entitled The Use of
Electronic Technologv to Conduct Research on or Communicate about a
Case, provide as Iollows:

Before Trial:

You, as iurors, must decide this case based solely on the evidence
presented here within the Iour walls oI this courtroom. This means that
during the trial you must not conduct any independent research about this
case, the matters in the case, and the individuals or corporations involved
in the case. In other words, you should not consult dictionaries or
reIerence materials, search the internet, websites, blogs, or use any other
electronic tools to obtain inIormation about this case or to help you decide
the case. Please do not try to Iind out inIormation Irom any source outside
the conIines oI this courtroom.

Until you retire to deliberate, you may not discuss this case with anyone,
even your Iellow iurors. AIter you retire to deliberate, you may begin
discussing the case with your Iellow iurors, but you cannot discuss the
case with anyone else until you have returned a verdict and the case is at
an end. I hope that Ior all oI you this case is interesting and noteworthy. I
know that many oI you use cell phones, Blackberries, the internet and
other tools oI technology. You also must not talk to anyone about this case
or use these tools to communicate electronically with anyone about the
case. This includes your Iamily and Iriends. You may not communicate
with anyone about the case on your cell phone, through e-mail,
Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, through any blog or
website, through any internet chat room, or by way oI any other social
networking websites, including Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, and

At the Close of the Case:

During your deliberations, you must not communicate with or provide any
inIormation to anyone by any means about this case. You may not use any
electronic device or media, such as a telephone, cell phone, smart phone,
iPhone, Blackberry or computer; the internet, any internet service, or any
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
text or instant messaging service; or any internet chat room, blog, or
website such as Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter, to
communicate to anyone any inIormation about this case or to conduct any
research about this case until I accept your verdict.
VIII. Privacy Issues Regarding Cell Phones and Email: The Civil Context
Two speciIic areas oI communication that extra sensitive Ior privacy concerns involve
cell phones and email. These are less public than other Iorms oI social media like
Facebook and Twitter. The higher expectation oI privacy by employees in these Iorms oI
communication creates additional problems with tracking them.
A. Smartphones
Smartphones can be a big productivity boost in the oIIice. At the same time, their ability
to handle data like a computer carries its own set oI risks.
O Chris Penttila, When It Comes to Smartphones. Emplovers Better Watch out,
Workplace Diva (Nov. 30, 2010),
O Suzanne Lucas, Blackberries. iPhones and Androids. Do SmartPhones Belong
in Meetings?, Evil HR Lady (Dec. 3, 2010),
O Sharon Nelson, CIOS See Smartphones as Data Breach Time Bombs, Ride
The Lightning (Nov. 23, 2010),
O Identity TheIt 911, Clearing Old Smartphones Reduces Fraud Risk, Identity
TheIt 911 Knowledge Center (Oct. 29, 2010), http://idtheIt-÷11473.
O Joseph Lazzarotti, What to do with old phones. particularlv smartphones?,
Workplace Privacy Data Management & Security Report (Nov. 11, 2010),
B. Email
The private nature oI emails is changing. Once, emails were viewed as similar to
private, sealed letters. Now, with the ease that others can view someone`s email,
they are considered to be more like postcards.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Strauss v Microsoft Corp., 1995 WL 326492, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7433
(S.D.N.Y. June 1, 1995). In this case the court held that explicit e-mails Irom
her supervisor Iound on backup tapes were admissible in a gender
discrimination lawsuit.
4 Mitchell H. Rubenstein, Using E-mail as evidence in Disciplinarv
Actions, Adiunct Law ProI Blog (Sep. 15, 2010),
O Mitchell H. Rubinstein, Privacv and Email, Adiunct Law ProI Blog (Oct. 15,
C. Trouble With Text Messages
Text messages are convenient, which makes it easy to send messages using work
devices that are best leIt to personal discretion.
O W. Scott Blackmer, Quon. US Supreme Court Rules Against Privacv on
Emplover-Issued Devices, InIo Law Group (June 17, 2010),
O Suzanne Lucas, Sexting and Other Bad Career Moves, Evil HR Lady (Mar. 2,
IX. Cell Phones and Email In The Criminal Context
Cell phones and email are relevant to the criminal context too. The extra privacy
considerations can protect these communications requiring the government to have a
warrant based on probable cause to search Ior this inIormation.
A. Cell Phones
Ŵ United States v. Warshak, 631 F.3d 266 (6
Cir. 2010) (holding that
deIendant had reasonable expectation oI privacy in emails stored at his
Internet Service Provider (ISP), and thus Iederal agents violated his Fourth
Amendment rights by compelling ISP to turn over emails without a
warrant based on probable cause).
Ŵ In re United States for an Order Directing Provider of Electronic
Communication Service to Disclose Records to the Government, 620 F.3d
304 (3d Cir. 2010).
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
4 Opinion and Memorandum Order in United States District
Court Ior the Western District oI Pennsylvania, Magistrate`s
No. 07-524M, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98761 (W.D. Pa. Sept.
10, 2008).
Ŵ In re Order Authorizing the Release of Prospective Cell Site Info., 407 F.
Supp. 2d 134 (D.D.C. 2006). The government sought an order requiring a
cellular phone company to provide it with location inIormation related to a
criminal investigation, without a warrant. Magistrate Judge Facciola
denied the application, pointing out the lack oI statutory authority to do so.
Ŵ J.W. v. Desoto Countv Sch. Dist., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116328 (N.D.
Miss. Nov. 1, 2010) (granting deIendant`s motions to dismiss where
school oIIicials searched student`s cell phone and Iound pictures oI gang
activity resulting in the student`s expulsion).
Ŵ People v. Schutter, No. 10SA304, 2011 Colo. LEXIS 246 (Colo. 2011).
Ŵ State v. Smith, 920 N.E.2d 949 (Ohio 2009).
Ŵ People v. Diaz, No. S166600 (Cal. 2011), available at
Ŵ Commonwealth v. Frattaroli, 2010 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 4 (Pa.
Ct. Com. Pl. 2010).
Ŵ United States v. Jones, 149 Fed. Appx. 954 (11
Cir. 2005).
Ŵ Jones v. United States, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31982 (M.D. Fla. 2006).
Ŵ Garritv v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8343
(D. Mass. 2002).
Ŵ Bohach v. Reno, 932 F.Supp. 1232 (D. Nev. 1996).
B. Email
Ŵ Commonwealth v. Proetto, 771 A.2d 823 (Pa. 2001).
Ŵ United States v. Charbonneau, 979 F.Supp. 1177 (S.D. Ohio 1997).
Ŵ United States v. Maxwell, 1995 CCA LEXIS 129 (A. Ct. Crim. App.
Ŵ United States v. Monroe, 2000 CAAF LEXIS 280 (C.A.A.F. 2000).
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
X. Persistent Generational Conflicts
With new technology comes new terminology and culture, and social media is no
exception. Even relatively old technology can be described in terms that do not
communicate eIIectively to a diIIerent generation. Younger generations appear to have no
problem broadcasting their private lives into the ether, a view inexplicable to others.
O Plain Dealer StaII, Identifving photocopv machine poses problem for
Cuvahoga Countv Official (Mar. 24, 2011),
O Anna Bahney, Interns? No Bloggers Need Applv, New York Times (May 25,
O Kevin O`KeeIe, Can a lawver respond to comments on their blog without
creating an attornev client relationship, Real Lawyers Have Blogs (Apr. 20,
XI. Solicitation and Competition
Comments made on social networks can comprise solicitation, competition, or both.
Social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn that contain employer data create speciIic
risks in these areas.
O See supra 1st Rate Mortg. Corp. v. Jision Mortgage Serv. Corp., No. 09-C-
471, 2011 WL 666088, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15479 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 14,
2011) ('reasonableness¨ oI losses incurred as a result oI violation oI
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was iury question where employees set up
competing company and began operations using plaintiII`s conIidential
A. Solicitation
Similar to using social media Ior advertisements, comments made on social media
networks can cross the line to solicitation. Employers and employees should be
careIul to be precise in their comments so solicitation only occurs when intended.
O Rob RadcliII, Non-solicits that address social media communications, Smooth
Transitions (Sept. 14, 2010),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Amwav Global v. Woodward, No. 09-12946, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105762
(E.D. Mich. Sept. 30, 2010) (blog posting that 'II you knew what I knew, you
would do what I do.¨ was adequate evidence oI solicitation in violation oI
non-solicitation agreement where evidence showed that deIendants remained
in contact aIter separation Irom the plaintiII and issued coordinated statements
announcing new arrangements with plaintiII`s competitor).
4 Molly DiBianca, Jiolation of a Non-Solicitation Provision Jia Blog
Post, The Delaware Employment Law Blog (Oct. 22, 2010),
O In TEKsvstems. Inc. v. Hammernick, No. 0:10-cv-0081, Iiled in the United
States District Court Ior the District oI Minnesota, an employee allegedly
violated a nonsolicitation agreement by contacting individuals through
LinkedIn aIter her employment with the plaintiII Iormer employer ended. The
plaintiII alleged that the deIendant invited an employee oI the Iormer
employer through LinkedIn to visit the plaintiII`s new workplace to discuss
employment opportunities. The case is currently scheduled Ior trial in August,
O Merrill Lvnch v. Schultz, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26194; 2011 WL 1681973
(D.D.C. 2001). A deIendant Iormer employee called clients oI his Iormer
employer to announce his resignation. Judge Hogan Iound that the deIendant`s
behavior violated his nonsolicitation agreement because 'such initiated,
targeted contact is tantamount to solicitation because there is no reason to
believe that a customer on the receiving end oI such a |communication| does
not assume that the |employee| wishes Ior him to transIer his account.¨ Id. at
O Some law Iirms are now starting to use social networking in order to market
themselves to potential clients. Nathan Koppel, Using Social Networking as
Legal Tool, The Wall Street Journal (Jun. 15, 2010), B4.
O Bradley Shear, Social Media Credential Fraud, Shear on Social Media Law
(Feb. 2, 2011),
B. Competition
Employees who sign a non-compete agreement when they leave a company need
to be careIul about what they post to social networks. Facebook or LinkedIn
updates about the new employer and positive comments about the new company
could be viewed as competition by indirectly seeking to pull clients who are
Iriends oI the employee to the new employer`s business.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O For best practices see Michael Greco, LinkedIn. A violation of Your
Emplovees Non-Compete?, Non-Compete and Trade Secrets (Oct. 3, 2010).
O Steve Bruce, Does Updating a Facebook Page Jiolate a Non-Compete?, HR
Daily Advisor (Dec. 14, 2010),
O Molly DiBianca, Breach of Noncompetition Agreement Jia LinkedIn, The
Delaware Employment Law Blog (Apr. 3, 2010),
O Tom Crane, Former Emplovee Emails LinkedIn Contacts and is Sued, San
Antonio Employment Law Blog (June 3, 2010),
O Michael R. Greco, LinkedIn. A Jiolation of Your Emplovees Non-Compete?,
Non-Compete and Trade Secrets (Oct. 3, 2010),
O Andrew R. McIlvaine, LinkedIn Messages Spark a Lawsuit, Human Resources
Executive Online (June 1, 2010),÷436127008.
XII. Ethics
The Internet has opened up a multitude oI new ways to run aIoul oI ethics rules. This
section introduces some oI the main issues: deception, ex parte contacts, and marketing
and solicitation rules. For a more expansive treatment oI the ethical challenges resulting
Irom Internet activity, see J.T. Westermeier, Ethics and the Internet, 17 Geo. J. Legal
Ethics 267 (2004).
A. 1ust ~Friends?¨
Social media can provide invaluable inIormation. In eIIorts to achieve that
inIormation, care should be taken as to the means employed. Creating Ialse
personalities or simply requesting to be 'Iriends¨ with someone under your own
proIile Ior the sole purpose oI obtaining inIormation Ior litigation without
disclosing this purpose could be a violation oI ethics rules.
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
O Philadelphia Bar Association ProIessional Guidance Committee, Opinion
2009-02 (March 2009) (impermissible Ior lawyer to use third party to 'Iriend¨
deposition witness without disclosing that lawyer would be using inIormation
posted on the pages), available at
O New York City Bar Association Committee on ProIessional Ethics, Formal
Opinion 2010-2 (Sept. 2010) (a lawyer may not attempt to gain access to a
social networking website under Ialse pretenses by Iailing to disclose the
material Iact oI the lawyer`s role in litigation, either directly or through an
agent), available at
4 Molly DiBianca, N.Y. Ethics Opinion re. Social Networking, Going
Paperless (Oct. 4, 2010),
4 Debra Cassens Weiss, Lawvers Cant Friend Potential Witnesses Under
False Pretenses, Ethics Opinion Says, ABA Journal (Sept. 30, 2010),
B. 1udicial Ethics
Judges must be especially careIul on social media networks. Judges are to both be
and hold the appearance oI impartiality. Judges being Iriends with attorneys or
parties who appear beIore them on social networks can create the appearance oI
O James Nash, State sets social-networking rules for iudges, The Columbus
Dispatch (Dec. 8, 2010),
O James McCarty, Anonvmous online comments are linked to the personal e-
mail account of Cuvahoga Countv Common Pleas Judge Shirlev Strickland
Saffold, (Mar. 26, 2010),
O Can iudges do their own research and look at the Facebook pages oI those
appearing beIore their court? This happened in one recent NJ Social Security
disability beneIits case where the opinion includes this Iootnote, '|a|lthough
the Court remands the ALJ's decision Ior a more detailed Iinding, it notes that
in the course oI its own research, it discovered one proIile picture on what is
believed to be PlaintiII's Facebook page where she appears to be smoking.¨
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
Purvis v. Comm´r of Soc. Sec., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18175, 19-20 (D.N.J.
Feb. 23, 2011).
C. Lawyer Marketing and Solicitation
Opinions abound about social media and whether it can pay dividends in law
practice. Though business concerns are leading the way in driving the legal
industry to social media, the ethical rules are Iollowing close behind.
1. Marketing
O D. Todd Smith, Marketing Your Practice in 140 Characters or Less, Law
Technology News (Jan. 13, 2009),÷
O Lawrence E. Dube, Panelists Urge Lawvers to Exercise Caution In Use of the
Internet and Social Media Tools, 79 Legal News 1204 (Aug. 2010).
O Nora Tooher, Legal tweeters respond to recent barbs at Twitter, Lawyers
USA Online (June 4, 2009),
O Larry Bodine, Law Firm Marketing Blog Policv? Heres a 10-Point Checklist,
Larry Bodine LawMarketing Blog (June 3, 2008),
O Bruce Carton, Companv Requires Tweet as Part of Law Firms RFP
Response, Legal Blog Watch (Jan. 21, 2010),
O Jonathan Ezor, ABA on Collision Course With New Technologv, Law
Technology News (Nov. 17, 2010),÷1202474
O Ali Bayler & Katherine Wilson, How to Catch Clients With Social Media,
Law Technology News (July 27, 2009),÷
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
2. Solicitation Issues
O Philadelphia Bar Association ProIessional Guidance Committee, Opinion
2010-6 (June 2010) (no violation oI solicitation rule where lawyer participates
in a 'blog¨ in which prospective clients are discussing legal problem,
announces selI as lawyer, and invites bloggers to respond to the lawyer iI they
are interested in discussing the matter Iurther), available at
O ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Working Group on the Implications oI
New Technologies, For Comment: Issues Paper Concerning Lawyers` Use oI
Internet Based Client Development Tools (Sept. 20, 2010), available at
O Karen Sloan, Kentuckv Bar Proposes Regulation of Attornevs Social Media,
Law Technology News (Nov. 17, 2010),÷1202474
O Bruce Carton, The Blogosphere Examines Lawver Bios, Legal Blog Watch
(Aug. 31, 2010),
O Solicitation Via Social Media Is Permitted Under Rule on Real-Time
Electronic Contact, 79 Legal News 1136 (Aug. 2010).
XIII. Information Security (Confidentiality)
Attorneys must keep their client`s inIormation conIidential. Attorneys should take steps
to prevent electronically stored inIormation about their clients secure. Negligence in data
security could result in client inIormation being disclosed and no longer held
O ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Working Group on the Implications oI
New Technologies, For Comment: Issues Paper Concerning Client
ConIidentiality and Lawyers` Use oI Technology (Sept. 20, 2010), available
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
XIV. Consumer Privacy
O American Civil Liberties Union, Federal Court Upholds Amazon Users
Privacv And Free Speech Rights, Press Release (Oct. 26, 2010), available at
XV. Foreign Law
Some clients will have concerns about the impact oI social media on the law outside oI
the United States. These resources will be helpIul Ior how other countries are dealing
with the same issues.
O RoschierRaidla, The Internet and Privacv in the Workplace, RoschierRaidla
News (Nov.-Dec. 2006), available at
O Act on the Protection oI Privacy in Working LiIe, 759/2004 (unoIIicial
translation Ministry oI Labour, Finland), available at
O Robert Ottinger, Facebook and Emplovee Privacv, New York Employment
Lawyer Blog, (Aug. 26, 2010), available at
XVI. Data Security
As more commerce occurs electronically, consumers expect their data to be kept private.
Companies must take steps to keep the personal and payment data oI their customers
secure. Employers regularly re-issue smart phones, personal computers and laptops aIter
they are turned in by employees. Many employers are aware that such devices may
contain sensitive, secret, or personal inIormation about the employee or the employer. A
common solution is to wipe the memory oI the device, but this is not always carried out
properly. Smartphones are particularly troublesome because merely erasing or swapping
out the phone`s SIM card may not erase all oI the data stored on the device, as it may
have internal memory that stores additional inIormation.
Wiping data stored in devices turned in by Iormer employees also raises potential
spoliation issues. II there is any reason to believe that a lawsuit could be Iiled by a Iormer
employee, the storage drives oI the devices used by that employee should be mirrored
beIore they are erased.
O In re Hannaford Bros. Co. Customer Data Securitv Breach Litigation, 4 A.3d
492 (Me. 2010) (time and eIIort reasonably spent by plaintiII consumers to
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
avoid or remediate reasonably Ioreseeable harm Irom theIt oI Iinancial
inIormation did not constitute an iniury Ior which damages could be recovered
Irom deIendant company under Maine law oI negligence and implied
4 Jason C. Gaveiian, No Claim for Data Breach Damages Absent
Financial Loss or Tangible Iniurv, Workplace Privacy, Data
Management & Security Report (Oct. 1, 2010),
O Guin v. Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation. Inc., Civ. No. 05-668,
2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4846 (D. Minn. Feb. 7, 2006) (deIendant was entitled
to summary iudgment because plaintiII Iailed to show a breach oI the duty oI
care in protecting conIidential customer inIormation where customer`s
inIormation on stolen laptop was unencrypted, and laptop was stolen Irom an
employee`s secured house in a relatively saIe neighborhood).
O Whistleblower protection: In Zungoli v. United Parcel Service. Inc., No. 07-
2194, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33693 (D.N.J. Apr. 22, 2009) (unpublished),
Judge Wigenton held that the plaintiII could proceed to a iury trial because he
had supported his claim (among others) that the deIendant had terminated him
because he was engaged in protected whistleblower activity. The twist: the
plaintiII had blown the whistle about employee data that was subiect to New
Jersey laws requiring protection oI personal inIormation. New Jersey`s
miscellaneous whistleblower statute, the Conscientious Employee Protection
Act, protects employees who report illegal activity. The court held that the
plaintiII was entitled to such protection because New Jersey`s Identity TheIt
Protection Act made it necessary to restrict access to citizens` social security
numbers, and in any case, the New Jersey courts recognize that citizens have
'a reasonable expectation and a right to keep identiIying inIormation
conIidential.¨ Because the plaintiII`s obiections were 'in line with New
Jersey`s laws and public policies,¨ the deIense motion Ior summary iudgment
against his CEPA claim was denied.
4 Jason Gaveiian, Emplovee Data Securitv Complaint Supports
Whistleblower Retaliation Claim, Workplace Privacy Data
Management & Security Report (Mar. 17, 2010),
4 Similar to this ruling, a CaliIornia court in Cutler v. Dike ruled that an
employer wrongIully terminated an employee Ior voicing concerns
that a database Ior testing company soItware exposed conIidential
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
patient data in violation oI HIPAA. Joseph Lazzarotti, Emplovees
Protected from Retaliation When Raising Concerns about HIPAA and
Data Securitv, Workplace Privacy Data Management & Security
Report (Nov. 8, 2010),
O Joseph J. Lazzarotti, Data Securitv. A Primer For the Midsize Companv,
Law360 (Oct. 20, 2009),
O Joseph Lazzarotti, WISP. Do You Have a Plan For Your Companvs Sensitive
Information?, Workplace Privacy Data Management & Security Report (Oct.
24, 2009),
4 A WISP is written policies and procedures that provide administrative,
physical, and technological saIeguards to protect personal inIormation.
4 Massachusetts, Maryland, and Nevada all have statutes that require
businesses to have one.
4 For more inIormation, see A Small Business Guide. Formulating A
comprehensive Written Information Securitv Program,
Commonwealth oI Massachusetts, OIIice oI Consumer AIIairs and
Business Regulation,;
XVII. Provider Responsibility and Security Restrictions
Not everyone is honest about who they are when signing up on social media. When this
dishonesty is then used to Iurther committing a crime, who is responsible? The 5th
Circuit has said the social media provider is not liable Ior Ialse inIormation others assert
using their services.
O Jane Doe v. MvSpace Inc., 528 F.3d 413 (5
Cir. 2008) (MySpace was
granted saIe harbor under Iederal Communications Decency Act (CDA)
where minor who was sexually assaulted when meeting with man she met
over MySpace had lied about her age when signing up Ior the service).
4 Michael Kunzelman, Court sides with MvSpace in suit over sex assault,
USA Today (May 17, 2008),
Copyright 2011, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC, Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved
XVIII. 1udges on Social Media
A Iew iudges have made comments on their views oI social media. With as much as we
can debate whether one type technology constitutes social media or not and what aIIects
new technology will have on the law, the opinion that really matters is that oI the iudge.
O Robert Ambrogi, Survev. Judges Split on Their Use of Social Media, LawSites (Oct. 28,
O Molly DiBianca, Judge Obtains Protective Order Based on a Tweet, The Delaware
Employment Law Blog (Oct. 31, 2010),


Appendix A: Glossary

Many oI the terms in this glossary come Irom U.S. Air Force, Social Media and the Air Force (Version 2, Nov.
2009), available at
O Aggregation: Gathering and remixing content Irom blogs and other Web sites that
provide RSS Ieeds; typically displayed in an aggregator like Bloglines or Google Reader,
or directly on your desktop using soItware (oIten also called a newsreader).
O Avatars: Graphical images representing people within the social media arena. You can
build a visual character with the body, clothes, behaviors, gender and name oI your
choice. This may or may not be an authentic representation oI yourselI.
O Blog: A website with dated items oI content in reverse chronological order, selI-
published by authors known as bloggers.
O Blogosphere: A term used to describe the totality oI blogs on the Internet, and the
conversations taking place within that sphere.
O Blogroll: A list oI sites displayed in the sidebar oI a blog, showing who the blogger reads
O Bookmarking: Saving the address oI a Web site or item oI content, either in your
browser, or on a social bookmarking site like Delicious. II you add tags, others can easily
Iind your research too, and the social bookmarking site becomes an enormous public
O Browser: The tool used to view Web sites, and access all the content available there
onscreen or by downloading. (e.g., MicrosoIt Explorer, FireIox and Chrome.)
O Bulletin Boards: The early vehicles Ior online collaboration, where users connected with
a central computer to post and read email-like messages.
O Chat: An interaction on a Web site, with a number oI people adding text items one aIter
the other into the same space at (almost) the same time. A place Ior chat, a chatroom,
diIIers Irom a Iorum because conversations happen in 'real time,¨ similar to Iace to Iace.
O Cookie: InIormation (in this case URLs, Web addresses) created by a Web server and
stored on a user`s computer. This inIormation lets Web sites the user visits keep a history
oI a user`s browsing patterns and preIerences. People can set up their browsers to accept
or not accept cookies.
O Crowdsourcing: Harnessing the skills and enthusiasm oI those outside an organization
who are prepared to volunteer their time contributing content and solving problems.
O Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a not-IorproIit organization and licensing
system that oIIers creators the ability to Iine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in
which others may use their works. For more inIormation, visit:
O Domain Name: A method oI identiIying computer addresses. Your e-mail address has a
domain address. II there is an '.edu¨ at the end oI your e-mail address that means your
account is aIIiliated with an educational institution. A '.com¨ extension means the
account is business related and a government account has a '.gov¨ suIIix.
O Embedding: The act oI inserting video or photos to a Web site or e-mail.
O Facebook: A social networking service and website. Users may create a personal proIile,
add other users as Iriends, and exchange messages, including automatic notiIications
when they update their proIile. Additionally, users may ioin common interest user
groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics.
Many oI the terms in this glossary come Irom U.S. Air Force, Social Media and the Air Force (Version 2, Nov.
2009), available at
O Feeds: The means by which you can read, view or listen to items Irom blogs and other
RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site, by subscribing and using an aggregator or
O Flash: Animation soItware used to develop interactive graphics Ior Web sites as well as
desktop presentations and games.
O Flickr: An image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online
community created by Ludicorp and later acquired by Yahoo!.
O Forums: Discussion areas on Web sites, where people can post messages or comment on
existing messages asynchronouslythat is, independently oI time or place.
O Friends: On social networking sites, contacts whose proIile you link to in your proIile,
thereby creating your network. On some sites people have to accept the link, in others,
O Friendster: A social networking service and website. The service allows users to contact
other members, maintain those contacts, and share online content and media with those
contacts. The website is also used Ior dating and discovering new events, bands, and
hobbies. Users may share videos, photos, messages and comments with other members
via their proIile and their network.
O Hyperlink: Text, images or graphics that, when clicked with a mouse (or activated by
keystrokes), will connect the user to a new Web site. The link is usually obvious, such as
underlined text or a 'button¨ oI some type, but not always.
O Instant Messaging (IM): Chatting with one other person using an IM tool like gchat, AOL
Instant Messenger, MicrosoIt Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger. The tools allow you
to indicate whether or not you are available Ior a chat, and iI so can be a good alternative
to e-mails Ior a rapid exchange. Problems arise when people in a group are using
diIIerent IM tools that don`t connect.
O LinkedIn: A business-oriented social networking site, mainly used Ior proIessional
networking. It allows registered users to maintain a list oI contact details oI people with
whom they have some level oI relationship, called Connections.
O Listserv: A list oI e-mail addresses oI people with common interests. SoItware enables
people who belong to a list to send messages to the group without typing a series oI
addresses into the message header.
O Mashups: Mixes oI technology, audio, video and maps combining several tools to create
a new Web service.
O MMO: A massively multiplayer online game (also called MMO and MMOG) is a
multiplayer video game which is capable oI supporting hundreds or thousands oI players
simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the internet, and Ieature at least one
persistent world. MMOs can enable players to cooperate and compete with each other on
a large scale, and sometimes to interact meaningIully with people around the world. They
include a variety oI gameplay types, representing many video game genres.
O Myspace: A social networking service and website. Myspace allows its users to create
webpages to interact with other users. Users oI the service are able to create blogs, upload
videos and photos, and design proIiles to showcase their interests and talents.
Many oI the terms in this glossary come Irom U.S. Air Force, Social Media and the Air Force (Version 2, Nov.
2009), available at
O Networks: Structures deIined by nodes and the connections between them. In social
networks, the nodes are people, and the connections are the relationships that they have.
Networking is the process by which you develop and strengthen those relationships.
O Open-Source SoItware: SoItware that is available under a license that permits users to
study, change and improve the soItware, and to redistribute it in modiIied or unmodiIied
Iorm. It is oIten developed in a public, collaborative manner.
O Peer-to-Peer: ReIers to direct interaction between two people in a network. In that
network, each peer will be connected to other peers, opening the opportunity Ior Iurther
sharing and learning.
O Persistent World: A virtual world that continues to exist even aIter a user exits the world.
User-made changes to a persistent world are, to some extent, permanent.
O Podcast: Audio or video content that can be downloaded automatically through a
subscription to a Web site so you can view or listen oIIline.
O Post: Item on a blog or Iorum.
O ProIiles: InIormation that users provide about themselves when signing up Ior a social
networking site. As well as a picture and basic inIormation, this may include personal and
business interests, a 'blurb¨ and tags to help people search Ior like-minded people.
O Second LiIe: An online virtual world developed by Linden Lab. A number oI Iree client
programs, called Viewers, enable Second LiIe users, called residents, to interact with
each other through avatars. Residents can explore the world (known as the grid), meet
other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and
trade virtual property and services with one another.
O Short Message Service (SMS): The text communication service component oI phone,
web, or mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols
that allow the exchange oI short text messages between Iixed line or mobile phone
O Social Media: Tools and platIorms people use to publish, converse and share content
online. The tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts and sites to share photos and bookmarks.
O Social Networking: Using web sites and other tools where users can create proIiles, and
then socialize with others using a range oI social media tools including blogs, video,
images, tags, lists oI Iriends, Iorums and messages.
O Streaming Media: Video or audio that is intended to be listened to online but not stored
permanently on the local device.
O Threads: Strands oI conversation.
O Twitter: A website oIIering a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its
users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts oI up to 140
characters displayed on the user's proIile page. Tweets are publicly visible by deIault;
however, senders can restrict message delivery to iust their Iollowers. Users can tweet via
the Twitter website, compatible external applications (such as Ior smartphones), or by
Short Message Service, available in certain countries.
O URL: Unique Resource Locator is the technical term Ior a Web address.
O User-Generated Content: Text, photos and other material produced by users oI a service
or website.
Many oI the terms in this glossary come Irom U.S. Air Force, Social Media and the Air Force (Version 2, Nov.
2009), available at
O Web 2.0: A term coined by O`Reilly Media in 2004 to describe blogs, wikis, social
networking sites and other Internet-based services that emphasize collaboration and
sharing, rather than less interactive publishing (Web 1.0).
O Wiki: A Web pageor set oI pagesthat can be edited collaboratively. The best known
example is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by thousands oI contributors across the
world. Once people have appropriate permissions set by the wiki ownerthey can
create pages and/or add to and alter existing pages.
O YouTube: A video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos.
Unregistered users may watch videos, and registered users may upload an unlimited
number oI videos.


Appendix B: Considerations
for Drafting Social Media

Two short decades ago, the rise oI e-mail revolutionized the way companies conduct
business and created new pitIalls Ior both employers and employees, who soon realized that
e-mails easily can be Iorwarded to unanticipated audiences and used Ior unintended reasons.
Facebook, Twitter, and other Iorms oI social media have now rocketed these issues to
dizzying new heights with amazing speed. As oI January 2011, Facebook is estimated to have
more than 600 million active users roughly double the entire population oI the United States.
With so many people memorializing every aspect oI their lives online, the line between peoples`
personal and proIessional lives has never been so blurry.
Social networking sites are a goldmine oI inIormation about who people are. Users oI
sites such as Facebook and Myspace create proIiles disclosing personal inIormation ranging Irom
immutable characteristics such as name, age, race, national origin and gender, to inIormation
about their likes, dislikes, and associations, including relationship status, political and religious
views, hobbies, and interests. AIter describing themselves in some level oI detail, users can then
add other users as 'Iriends,¨ ioin virtual groups with other users with shared interests, and send
messages and post comments on their Iriends` pages.
Social networking sites also are a goldmine oI inIormation about what people think.
Users oI Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and other sites can post messages (or 'microblogs¨) Ior
other users to see. There is no limit to the kinds oI topics such posts can include, Irom what
someone had Ior breakIast to pictures oI their kids` school play to detailed accounts oI UFO
sightings. But with so much time spent at work, it is perhaps inevitable that many oI these
microblogs contain employees` thoughts about coworkers, their supervisors, their companies,
their customers, and their iobs in general.
Privacy in social media is almost non-existent. While many social networking sites
contain privacy settings that limit who can view certain content, not all users are aware oI the
privacy settings or how to use them. Moreover, privacy settings do not provide complete
protection because any intended viewer oI the content can copy or Iorward it to someone who
does not have independent access.
With that background in mind, this article explores how social media has aIIected the
employment relationship and addresses the provisions that employers should consider including
in social media policies. Inasmuch as this is a new and rapidly-evolving area oI the law,
however, employers and attorneys should take particular care in balancing employers` legitimate
interests in obtaining inIormation regarding their employees and restricting their employees`
actions with employers` risk tolerance Ior litigation.
Discrimination In Hiring And Other Employment Decisions.
In making hiring decisions that avoid unnecessary risks oI liability, sometimes ignorance
is bliss. There are certain things employers should seek to avoid learning at certain stages oI the

hiring process, and reviewing social media sites as resources oI inIormation regarding candidates
can Irustrate that goal.
One signiIicant source oI potential liability in making hiring decisions is the risk oI a
discrimination claim. It is a well-settled principle oI discrimination law that an employer cannot
have intended to discriminate against an employee or a candidate Ior employment iI the
employer was unaware oI the employee`s or candidate`s protected characteristics. That principle
applies with particular Iorce during the hiring stage, when an employer is reviewing applications
Ior employment, because the employer is oIten unlikely to be aware oI the protected
characteristics. Social media, however, can change that.
Take two examples. Title VII oI the Civil Rights Act oI 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq., prohibits discrimination against individuals in employment on the basis oI race,
color, religion, sex, or national origin. It is impossible to tell the color oI a candidate`s skin Irom
a properly draIted employment application. Thus, an employer`s decision to extend or not
extend an invitation to interview with the company is Iairly insulated Irom such claims oI
discrimination. II the employer researches candidates on social media sites, however, that
insulation erodes. Many users oI social media sites post pictures oI themselves, Irom which their
skin color is immediately apparent. II an employer decides not to interview a candidate aIter
viewing such a picture even iI the reason was unrelated to the picture the candidate may be
able to state a discrimination claim.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 42 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., prohibits
discrimination on the basis oI age against individuals over the age oI 40. An employer
conducting an interview may or may not be able to estimate a candidate`s age with any accuracy.
In such circumstances, a discrimination claim based on the decision not to extend an oIIer oI
employment will be ambiguous at best. An employer may have believed a Iorty-year-old
employee was in his or her early thirties. Again, however, an employee`s precise age may well
be disclosed by social media sites, which may expressly list users` ages or indirectly indicate
their ages by, Ior example, stating the dates they graduated Irom school.
Any number oI discrimination claims may be enabled by employers` review oI social
media sites. Federal laws prohibit discrimination against employees who take leaves oI absence
Ior health reasons or to care Ior Iamily members (the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 2601 et seq.), qualiIied individuals with disabilities (the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.), and members oI the military (the UniIormed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. § 4301 et seq.). Something as innocuous as a picture oI an
applicant with his or her children, or a picture oI the applicant sitting in a wheelchair, or a picture
oI the applicant in uniIorm, can serve as the basis Ior a claim that the employer knew about the
applicant`s protected characteristic in making hiring decisions.
Nor is Iinding out too much inIormation the only risk. Employers also Iace potential
liability Ior discrimination in deciding who to research on social media sites. Employers may
legitimately use social media to decline to extend employment oIIers to candidates who post
unproIessional messages or pictures on their Facebook or Myspace accounts. But iI the
employer only checks the accounts oI applicants oI a particular race or gender thereby ignoring

potentially unproIessional messages or pictures posted by other candidates that discriminatory
decision regarding who to research can taint the otherwise legitimate decision not to hire an
unproIessional candidate.
These dangers are not limited to the hiring context but can occur in that context or at any
time during employment. For example, in Simonetti v. Delta Air Lines Inc., No. 5-cv-2321 (N.D.
Ga. 2005), an airline discharged a Iemale Ilight attendant who posted risque pictures oI herselI
wearing a partly unbuttoned uniIorm. The employee claimed discrimination on the grounds that
the airline did not similarly discharge male Ilight attendants who similarly posted risque pictures
oI themselves. The employer`s diIIerence in treatment gave rise to a potential discrimination
claim, even though the employer otherwise had the right to protect its image and discharge
employees who post inappropriate material to social media sites.
Conversely, in Ganzv v. Sun Chem. Corp., 2008 WL 3286262 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 8, 2008),
the employer was able to make a compelling argument that it had not discriminated based on its
record oI employee searches: eight out oI 26 AIrican-American employees, three out oI 22
Hispanic employees, and three out oI Iour Caucasian employees. The court concluded that such
Iacts were inconsistent with a claim oI discrimination by a minority employee because
'Caucasian employees were starkly overrepresented and AIrican-American and Hispanic
employees were underrepresented in the group oI seventeen names |the supervisor| investigated,
as compared to the racial and ethnic breakdown oI the employees he supervised as a whole.¨
Employees seeking to avoid adverse employment actions on the basis oI discrimination
have Iew options when it comes to social media. They can opt out oI using social media entirely
or decline to post pictures or inIormation disclosing personal inIormation, but Ior many the
beneIits will outweigh the risks. They can attempt to use privacy settings to minimize circulation
oI their personal inIormation, but even such eIIorts may not prevent employers Irom viewing
their posts. Outside oI the hiring context, much oI the inIormation that may be available to
employers Irom social media may also be available through other means, so employees` control
over discriminatory decisions is limited.
By contrast, employers can and should take several steps to minimize the potential Ior
discrimination claims because oI the use oI social media:
O Create a policy regarding human resources` and supervisors` use/review oI social
media websites in regards to employees.
O Use social media the same way Ior all employees or applicants. Do not limit searches
to particular classes oI individuals.
O Consider restricting searches oI social media sites to certain employees (such as
human resources proIessionals) and instruct other employees (such as supervisors)
not to perIorm such searches without authorization.

O Consider making certain employment decisions, such as the decision oI which
applicants to interview, beIore conducting any searches oI social media. Then use
social media to conIirm or override those decisions.
O Consider separating the decision-making Iunction Irom the research oI social media
sites. Have one person review social media sites to search Ior inappropriate pictures
or inIormation and report that inIormation to the decision-maker without extraneous
inIormation regarding race, gender, age, and so Iorth.
O Consider whether the beneIits to be obtained Irom social media outweigh the risks oI
using social media sites.
Employment Decisions Based On Social Media Content.
Employers, however, are not the only ones who can get tripped up through social media.
To the contrary, it is increasingly Irequent Ior employees to Iind their iobs in legitimate ieopardy
because oI their social media posts.
Social media makes it much easier Ior employers to catch employees who violate
company policies, even in circumstances where the employees themselves may not participate in
social media. For example, consider the case oI an employee who was Iired Ior abusing a
company sick-leave policy.
The employee, Kevin Colvin, sent an e-mail to his boss claiming he
had a 'Iamily emergency¨ that would keep him out oI the oIIice around Halloween. Some oI his
co-workers, whom Colvin had 'Iriended¨ on Facebook, saw a photograph oI Colvin dressed as a
Iairy at a Halloween party. The photograph was time-stamped on the same day as the so-called
'Iamily emergency,¨ and the co-workers apparently shared the picture with Colvin`s boss. The
boss responded to Colvin`s email, copied it to the entire company, Iired Colvin, and attached the
Iairy picture to the email. Notably, Colvin himselI had posted the incriminating photograph to
Facebook, leaving no one else to blame. But the result could have been the same iI a Iriend or
coworker had posted the photograph to Facebook. Colvin still would have been caught in the
act, even iI he had not incriminated himselI.
There is no question employers have the right to terminate employees who abuse sick
leave policies, but once upon a time it was diIIicult Ior employers to prove such abuse. Social
media makes it much easier. In many circumstances, however, employers are terminating
employees Ior conduct with less direct connections to the workplace. For example, consider the
case oI a New England Patriots Cheerleader who was Iired aIter an inappropriate picture
appeared on her Facebook page. The picture depicted her holding a marker up to an unconscious
man. The man had oIIensive graIIiti drawn all over his body, including swastikas and crude
drawings oI male genitalia.
Unquestionably the conduct at issue was in poor taste, but the
connection to the workplace was more attenuated than in the example above.

Evolution demands more Facebook drunkIail. MSNBC. December, 30, 2008.
Patriots Cheerleader Fired AIter Facebook Swastika Photo. November 6, 2008.

It is common Ior employers to iustiIy such terminations Ior violating company policies
regarding proIessionalism. Inasmuch as most employees are employed at-will, employers do not
need any reason to terminate their employment. Nevertheless, there are risks involved in
terminating an employee Ior lawIul conduct that occurs outside oI the workplace, like the in the
case oI the cheerleader. CaliIornia, Ior example, prohibits employers Irom taking adverse
employment actions against employees based on 'lawIul conduct occurring during nonworking
hours away Irom the employer`s premises.¨ See Cal. Lab. Code §§ 96(k), 98.6(a). Indeed, at
least eight states have some proscription on basing adverse employment actions on employees`
lawIul conduct or use oI lawIul products. These laws, Ior example, may prevent employers Irom
discharging employees who use alcohol or tobacco in their personal lives, even iI the employer
disapproves oI such conduct. BeIore social media, an employer might have little occasion to
discover employees` vices. The prevalence oI social media may raise employers` awareness oI,
Ior example, an employee getting drunk at a party. Employers should take care, however, to
determine whether the oIIense is one that they may lawIully punish in the workplace.
The distinction between lawIul oII-duty conduct and unproIessionalism meriting
termination is not always clear. Perhaps one oI the most common reasons Ior terminating an
employee based on social media is the employee`s posting oI inIormation critical oI his or her
employment. Consider, Ior example, the case oI an employee oI Ivell Marketing and Logistics
oI Clayton, U.K., who wrote an otherwise innocuous post on Facebook stating that her iob was
boring. Employees across the country doubtless complain oI boredom around the watercooler
day in and day out. While employees may treat social media the same way, such posts have a
permanence that loose talk does not. In the case oI the Ivell employee, her boss saw the posting
and responded: 'Following your comments made on Facebook about your iob and the company
we Ieel it is better that, as you are not happy and do not enioy your work, we end your
employment with Ivell Marking & Logistics with immediate eIIect.¨

In certain circumstances, even conduct with a connection to work may be protected. In
October oI 2010, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against American
Medical Response oI Connecticut Ior Iiring medical technician Dawnmarie Souza aIter she
criticized her supervisor online. The NLRB took the position that Souza`s critical statements
constituted 'concerted activity¨ protected by the National Labor Relations Act. In February
2011, the case was settled.

Although no precedent was created, the possibility oI similar complaints remains a threat
to employers. Indeed, the Iiling oI the action could reIlect a more aggressive stance by the
NLRB. In an advice memorandum regarding Sears Holdings dated December 4, 2009, the
NLRB advised that a company policy preventing '|d|isparagement oI company`s or competitors`
products, services, executive leadership, employees, strategy, and business prospects¨ was lawIul
under the NLRA. But the policy at issue in the American Medical Response matter, which the

How social media can hurt your career. CNN. August 24, 2009.
Facebook Iiring test case settled out oI court. CNN. February 8, 2011.

NLRB chose to prosecute, was not that diIIerent. It prohibited an employee Irom 'making
disparaging, discriminatory or deIamatory comments when discussing the Company or the
employee`s superiors, co-workers and/or competitors.¨ In distinguishing between the two, the
NLRB apparently drew a distinction between a legitimate prohibition on criticizing executive
management, on the one hand, and a restraint on criticizing superiors, on the other, because the
latter is more likely to relate to an employees` working conditions a matter within the scope
oI Section 7 oI the NLRA. But that distinction is paper thin. The policy in Sears Holdings
prohibited disparagement oI any employees (in addition to executive management). It is diIIicult
to escape the conclusion, thereIore, that the NLRB is simultaneously taking inconsistent
positions on a case-by-case basis.
Employers should at least think careIully beIore deciding to terminate an otherwise
valued employee based on social media posts. Once conIronted, employees may see the wisdom
in reIraining Irom badmouthing the company or making other unproIessional posts. By contrast,
terminating the employee may prompt yet more unIavorable posts about the Company.
Most oI the onus here, however, is on the employees. Employees should consider the
Iollowing activities as active attempts to get Iired:
O Disparaging their employers;
O Disparaging their employers` products or services;
O Disparaging their employers` customers;
O Making inappropriate or harassing comments about coworkers;
O Admitting (or posting pictures oI) any violation oI any company policy;
O Admitting (or posting pictures oI) any criminal act; or
O Posting anything placing them (and, by extension, their employers) in a poor or
unproIessional light.
Privacy Considerations.
As the line between personal and proIessional lives blurs, employers and employees need
to rethink any preconceptions they may have about employees` rights to privacy. In virtually all
situations, employees do not have any reasonable expectation oI privacy that would prevent their
employers Irom looking at their Facebook pages or Twitter posts. II employees want to keep
such inIormation private, they should use security settings that prevent their employers Irom
viewing it.
This conclusion is the natural outgrowth oI prior decisions Iinding that individuals do not
have any privacy interest in e-mails that they send because they have no control over whether the
recipient might Iorward the e-mails to third persons. One court held, Ior example, that '|o|nce

plaintiII communicated the alleged unproIessional comments to a second person (his supervisor)
over an e-mail system which was apparently utilized by the entire company, any reasonable
expectation oI privacy was lost.¨ Smvth v. Pillsburv Co., 914 F. Supp. 97, 101 (E.D. Penn.
From that conclusion, it was only a short step Ior courts to conclude that employees lack
privacy interest in e-mails they send over their employers` computer systems even iI the
recipient does not actually Iorward the e-mails because the employers can retrieve the e-mails
Irom their archives. And in an increasingly mobile society, that rule applies to any activity on
any work computer or device, including activity away Irom the oIIice. In one case where an
employer provided an employee with a computer Ior use at home, but reserved the right to
monitor its use in a policy to which the employee agreed, the court had little sympathy Ior the
employee`s contention that he understood personal (and private) use was allowed: 'To state the
obvious, no one compelled Zieminski or his wiIe or children to use the home computer Ior
personal matters, and no one prevented him Irom purchasing his own computer Ior his personal
use. With all the inIormation he needed to make an intelligent decision, Zieminski agreed to
TBG`s policy and chose to use his computer Ior personal matters. By any reasonable standard,
Zieminski Iully and voluntarily relinquished his privacy rights in the inIormation he stored on his
home computer, and he will not now be heard to say that he nevertheless had a reasonable
expectation oI privacy.¨ TBG Ins. Servs. Corp. v. Superior Court, 96 Cal. App. 4 443 (2002).
The lack oI privacy interest in social media posts is even more apparent. An individual
sending an e-mail may believe (however incorrectly) that it is a private communication, and an
individual using a company laptop may believe (however incorrectly) that human resources is
not looking over his or her shoulder. But by their very nature, publicly-available social media
posts can be viewed by anyone. In such circumstances, one court explained that a person who
posts inIormation to the internet 'with a reasonable basis Ior knowing that such communications
are Ireely made available to the public, should be considered to have given consent to the
disclosure or use oI the communication.¨ Jiacom Intl. Inc. v. YouTube. Inc., 2008 WL 2627388
at *8 (S.D.N.Y. July 8, 2008).
The only saIeguard that social media users have Ior the privacy oI their social media
posts is any password protection that they themselves implement. While employers can access
any publicly-available inIormation on the internet, they cannot steal employees` passwords in
order to access inIormation that is not publicly-available. Indeed, the Stored Communications
Act makes it an oIIense to intentionally access without authorization a Iacility through which an
electronic communication service is provided and thereby obtain access to a wire or electronic
communication while it is in electronic storage in such system. 18 U.S.C. 2701(c)(2). In Konop
v. Hawaiian Airlines. Inc., 302 F.3d 868, 879 (9th Cir. 2002), an employee maintained a
password-protected website critical oI (his/her) employer. A vice president Ior the company
used other employees` passwords to access the website. The court Iound that, in doing so, the
vice president violated the SCA.
Employees similarly should recognize their employers` rights regarding password-
protected inIormation. Many employers require employees to enter a password each time they
log on to a workplace computer. The practice has become so routine, in Iact, that employees

may not give a second thought to the Iact that the inIormation they are accessing is password-
protected. Employees should reIrain Irom disclosing any such inIormation in their social media
posts. An employee who leaks such inIormation could Iace both civil and criminal penalties Ior
misappropriation oI trade secrets or violation oI the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. See
International Airport Centers. LLC v. Citrin, 440 F.3d 418 (7th Cir. 2006) (Iinding that an
employee breaching a duty oI loyalty was not authorized to access the employer`s computers);
but see LJRC Holdings LCC v. Brekka, 581 F. 3d 1127 (9th Cir. 2009) (Iinding no violation oI
the CFAA in similar circumstances).
Employees and employers both should:
O Consider all the people who could access inIormation beIore posting it to social
media sites;
O ReIrain Irom posting any inIormation to social media sites unless that inIormation is
intended Ior public consumption;
O Learn about the privacy settings on social media sites to understand whether
particular posts are private or public; and
O Respect password-protected inIormation by reIraining Irom accessing such
inIormation without authorization and by reIraining Irom improperly using it or
disclosing it to others.
DraIting Social Media Policies.
Although social media Iacilitates greater interaction between people and makes it
possible to learn more about them, its use is not inherently beneIicial or detrimental to the
employment relationship. All oI the things that an employee could do to get 'Facebook Iired¨
making disparaging comments about an employer, acting unproIessionally, disclosing
conIidential inIormation, and so Iorth were possible beIore the advent oI social media. Social
media simply creates additional opportunities to do those things and get caught.
A good social media policy, thereIore, should be draIted as an extension oI an employer`s
existing policies and procedures. These may include:
O A computer-usage policy. An employer should place employees on notice that the
company reserves the right to monitor any activity that takes place on its computers,
e-mail systems, and portable devices. The right to monitor employee activity should
not be limited to social media, but it should expressly include social media.
O A proprietary inIormation agreement or policy. An employer should place
contractual and other restrictions on employees` access to and usage oI the
employer`s conIidential inIormation. That policy should include a provision
prohibiting employees Irom discussing conIidential inIormation on social media sites.
Employers should consider blocking employees` access to social media sites on

company-issued computers and devices to prevent leaks oI inIormation. At a
minimum, employers should use passwords to protect inIormation and take steps to
ensure that all employees respect password-protected inIormation.
O A non-discrimination policy. Employers should make clear that they do not tolerate
discrimination or harassment on the basis oI gender, race, age, disability, or any other
characteristic protected by law. Employees should be on notice that discriminatory or
harassing social media posts are unacceptable. Supervisory employees should also be
aware that they cannot use social media to obtain inIormation to obtain inIormation
Ior the purpose oI discriminating against or harassing employees or applicants.
O A code oI proIessional conduct. Employers should prohibit employees Irom
engaging in threats, obscenity, illegal conduct, unproIessional behavior, and
disparagement oI the company`s products and services (or those oI its customers).
Statements violating those provisions are improper no matter how they are uttered or
published, and employees should be made expressly aware that such statements
posted to social media sites are prohibited.
O An employment-at-will policy. Unless the parties intend otherwise, employees
should acknowledge and agree that they may be terminated at any time Ior any reason
or no reason. Consistent with employers` unIettered discretion to terminate
employees Ior any reason not prohibited by law, employees should be made aware
that they may be disciplined or terminated based on what they post to social media
In addition to the Ioregoing, companies may consider implementing a policy speciIic to
social media usage. The contours oI such a policy may vary depending on the size oI the
employer, the positions held by its employees, and the purposes oI imposing particular
restrictions. In general, however, employers should consider provisions applicable to:
O Management`s review oI social media posts by applicants, with an eye toward
avoiding claims oI discrimination in hiring decisions;
O Management`s review oI social media posts by employees Ior potential disciplinary
action based on violations oI the company`s substantive policies regarding social
media usage;
O Employees` usage oI social media in the workplace, which may be restricted to those
employees with a business-related purpose in using social media; and
O Employees` content posted to social media sites, which may be limited to a certain
degree consistent with companies` legitimate interests and the employees` own rights.
The explosive growth oI social media has outpaced courts` ability to deal with the novel
legal issues it presents, but the widespread oI social media makes it inevitable that employment
disputes involving social media will be litigated in the near Iuture. Employers with eIIective

social media policies in place will be better positioned to deIend against such lawsuits, but
employers should continue to monitor their policies` compliance with new legal requirements
announced in subsequent decisions.

By Mark W. Robertson, Ryan W. Rutledge, and Lauren A. Elkerson
Mark W. Robertson is a partner of OMelvenv & Mvers LLP in the firms New York office and a
member of the labor and emplovment practice. Rvan W. Rutledge is a counsel in the firm´s
Newport Beach office and a member of the labor and emplovment practice. Lauren A. Elkerson
is an associate in the firms Newport Beach office and a member of the labor and emplovment
practice. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarilv reflect the views of OMelvenv
& Mvers LLP or its clients and should not be relied upon as legal advice.


Appendix C: Sample Social
Media Policies

IBM Social Computing Guidelines
Blogs. wikis. social networks. virtual worlds and social media
In the spring oI 2005, IBMers used a wiki to create a set oI guidelines Ior all IBMers who wanted
to blog. These guidelines aimed to provide helpIul, practical advice to protect both IBM bloggers
and IBM. In 2008 and again in 2010 IBM turned to employees to re-examine our guidelines in
light oI ever-evolving technologies and online social tools to ensure they remain current to the
needs oI employees and the company. These eIIorts have broadened the scope oI the existing
guidelines to include all Iorms oI social computing.
Below are the current and oIIicial "IBM Social Computing Guidelines," which we review
periodically so that they may evolve to reIlect emerging technologies and online social tools.
Responsible engagement in innovation and dialogue
Online collaboration platIorms are Iundamentally changing the way IBMers work and engage
with each other, clients and partners.
IBM is increasingly exploring how online discourse through social computing can empower
IBMers as global proIessionals, innovators and citizens. These individual interactions represent a
new model: not mass communications, but masses oI communicators. Through these
interactions, IBM's greatest asset--the expertise oI its employees--can be shared with clients,
shareholders, and the communities in which it operates.
ThereIore, it is very much in IBM's interestand, we believe, in each IBMer's ownto be
aware oI and participate in this sphere oI inIormation, interaction and idea exchange:
To learn: As an innovation-based company, we believe in the importance oI open exchange
between IBM and its clients, and among the many constituents oI the emerging business and
societal ecosystem--Ior learning. Social computing is an important arena Ior organizational and
individual development.
To contribute: IBMas a business, as an innovator and as a corporate citizenmakes
important contributions to the world, to the Iuture oI business and technology, and to public
dialogue on a broad range oI societal issues. Because our business activities provide
transIormational insight and high-value innovation Ior business, government, education,
healthcare and nongovernmental organizations, it is important Ior IBM and IBMers to share with
the world the exciting things we're learning and doing.
In 1997, IBM actively recommended that its employees use the Internetat a time when many
companies were seeking to restrict their employees' Internet access. In 2003, the company made
a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate. We

continue to advocate IBMers' responsible involvement today in this rapidly growing environment
oI relationship, learning and collaboration.
IBM Social Computing Guidelines
1. Know and Iollow IBM's Business Conduct Guidelines.
2. IBMers are personally responsible Ior the content they publish on-line, whether in a blog,
social computing site or any other Iorm oI user-generated media. Be mindIul that what
you publish will be public Ior a long timeprotect your privacy and take care to
understand a site's terms oI service.
3. IdentiIy yourselIname and, when relevant, role at IBMwhen you discuss IBM or
IBM-related matters, such as IBM products or services. You must make it clear that you
are speaking Ior yourselI and not on behalI oI IBM.
4. II you publish content online relevant to IBM in your personal capacity use a disclaimer
such as this: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's
positions, strategies or opinions."
5. Respect copyright, Iair use and Iinancial disclosure laws.
6. Don't provide IBM's or another's conIidential or other proprietary inIormation and never
discuss IBM business perIormance or other sensitive matters publicly.
7. Don't cite or reIerence clients, partners or suppliers without their approval. When you do
make a reIerence, link back to the source. Don't publish anything that might allow
inIerences to be drawn which could embarrass or damage a client.
8. Respect your audience. Don't use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in
any conduct that would not be acceptable in IBM's workplace. You should also show
proper consideration Ior others' privacy and Ior topics that may be considered
obiectionable or inIlammatorysuch as politics and religion.
9. Be aware oI your association with IBM in online social networks. II you identiIy yourselI
as an IBMer, ensure your proIile and related content is consistent with how you wish to
present yourselI with colleagues and clients.
10. Don't pick Iights, be the Iirst to correct your own mistakes.
11. Try to add value. Provide worthwhile inIormation and perspective. IBM's brand is best
represented by its people and what you publish may reIlect on IBM's brand.
12. Don't use use IBM logos or trademarks unless approved to do so.
Detailed Discussion
The IBM Business Conduct Guidelines and laws provide the Ioundation Ior IBM's policies and
guidelines Ior blogs and social computing.
The same principles and guidelines that apply to IBMers' activities in general, as Iound in the
IBM Business Conduct Guidelines, apply to IBMers' activities online. This includes Iorms oI
online publishing and discussion, including blogs, wikis, Iile-sharing, user-generated video and
audio, virtual worlds
and social networks.
As outlined in the Business Conduct Guidelines, IBM Iully respects the legal rights oI our
employees in all countries in which we operate. In general, what you do on your own time is

your aIIair. However, activities in or outside oI work that aIIect your IBM iob perIormance, the
perIormance oI others, or IBM's business interests are a proper Iocus Ior company policy.
IBM supports open dialogue and the exchange of ideas.
IBM regards blogs and other Iorms oI online discourse as primarily a Iorm oI communication
and relationship among individuals. When the company wishes to communicate publicly as a
companywhether to the marketplace or to the general publicit has well established means to
do so. Only those oIIicially designated by IBM have the authorization to speak on behalI oI the
However, IBM believes in dialogue among IBMers and with our partners, clients, members oI
the many communities in which we participate and the general public. Such dialogue is inherent
in our business model oI innovation, and in our commitment to the development oI open
standards. We believe that IBMers can both derive and provide important beneIits Irom
exchanges oI perspective.
One oI IBMers' core values is "trust and personal responsibility in all relationships." As a
company, IBM trustsand expectsIBMers to exercise personal responsibility whenever they
participate in social media. This includes not violating the trust oI those with whom they are
engaging. IBMers should not use these media Ior covert marketing or public relations. II and
when members oI IBM's Communications, Marketing, Sales or other Iunctions engaged in
advocacy Ior the company have the authorization to participate in social media, they should
identiIy themselves as such.
Know the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines. II you have any conIusion about whether you
ought to publish something online, chances are the BCGs will resolve it. Pay particular attention
to what the BCGs have to say about proprietary inIormation, about avoiding misrepresentation
and about competing in the Iield. II, aIter checking the BCG's, you are still unclear as to the
propriety oI a post, it is best to reIrain and seek the advice oI management.
Be who you are. We believe in transparency and honesty; anonymity is not an option. When
discussing topics relevant to IBM, you must use your real name, be clear who you are, and
identiIy that you work Ior IBM. II you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be
the Iirst to point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourselI and your privacy. What you
publish will be around Ior a long time, so consider the content careIully and also be iudicious in
disclosing personal details.
Be thoughtful about how you present yourself in online social networks. The lines between
public and private, personal and proIessional are blurred in online social networks. By virtue oI
identiIying yourselI as an IBMer within a social network, you are now connected to your
colleagues, managers and even IBM's clients. You should ensure that content associated with
you is consistent with your work at IBM. II you have ioined IBM recently, be sure to update your
social proIiles to reIlect IBM's guidelines. You may not use IBM logos or trademarks as a part oI
your postings, including in your identity on a site, unless you are approved to do so.

Speak in the first person. Use your own voice; bring your own personality to the IoreIront.
Use a disclaimer. Whenever you publish content to any Iorm oI digital media, make it clear that
what you say there is representative oI your views and opinions and not necessarily the views
and opinions oI IBM. For instance, in your own blog, the Iollowing standard disclaimer should
be prominently displayed: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent
IBM's positions, strategies or opinions." II a site does not aIIord you enough space to include this
Iull disclaimer, you should use your best iudgment to position your comments appropriately.
Managers and executives take note: This standard disclaimer does not by itselI exempt IBM
managers and executives Irom a special responsibility when participating in online
environments. By virtue oI their position, they must consider whether personal thoughts they
publish may be misunderstood as expressing IBM positions. And a manager should assume that
his or her team will read what is written. Public Iorums are not the place to communicate IBM
policies to IBM employees.
Respect copyright and fair use laws. For IBM's protection and well as your own, it is critical
that you show proper respect Ior the laws governing copyright and Iair use oI copyrighted
material owned by others, including IBM's own copyrights and brands. You should never quote
more than short excerpts oI someone else's work. And it is good general blogging practice to link
to others' work. Keep in mind that laws will be diIIerent depending on where you live and work.
Protecting confidential and proprietary information. Social computing blurs many oI the
traditional boundaries between internal and external communications. Be thoughtIul about what
you publishparticularly on external platIorms. You must make sure you do not disclose or use
IBM conIidential or proprietary inIormation or that oI any other person or company in any online
social computing platIorm. For example, ask permission beIore posting someone's picture in a
social network or publishing in a blog a conversation that was meant to be private.
IBM's business performance and other sensitive subjects. Some topics relating to IBM are
sensitive and should never be discussed, even iI you're expressing your own opinion and using a
disclaimer. For example, you must not comment on, or speculate about, IBM's Iuture business
perIormance (including upcoming quarters or Iuture periods), IBM's business plans,
unannounced strategies or prospects (including inIormation about alliances), potential
acquisitions or divestitures, similar matters involving IBM's competitors, legal or regulatory
matters aIIecting IBM and other similar subiects that could negatively aIIect IBM. This applies
to anyone including conversations with Iinancial analysts, the press or other third parties
(including Iriends). II you're unsure oI the sensitivity oI a particular subiect, seek advice Irom
your manager or legal team beIore talking about it or simply reIrain Irom the conversation. IBM
policy is not to comment on rumors in any way. You should merely say, "no comment" to
rumors. Do not deny or aIIirm them (or suggest the same in subtle ways), speculate about them
or propagate them by participating in "what iI"-type conversations.
Protect IBM's clients. business partners and suppliers. Clients, partners or suppliers should
not be cited or obviously reIerenced without their approval. Externally, never identiIy a client,

partner or supplier by name without permission and never discuss conIidential details oI a client
engagement. Internal social computing platIorms permit suppliers and business partners to
participate so be sensitive to who will see your content. II a client hasn't given explicit
permission Ior their name to be used, think careIully about the content you're going to publish on
any internal social media and get the appropriate permission where necessary.
It is acceptable to discuss general details about kinds oI proiects and to use non-identiIying
pseudonyms Ior a client (e.g., Client 123) so long as the inIormation provided does not make it
easy Ior someone to identiIy the client or violate any non-disclosure or intellectual property
agreements that may be in place with the client. Be thoughtIul about the types oI inIormation that
you share, which may inadvertently lead others to deduce which clients, partners and suppliers
that you are working with. This might include travel plans or publishing details about your
current location or where you are working on a given day. Furthermore, your blog or online
social network is not the place to conduct conIidential business with a client, partner or supplier.
Respect your audience and your coworkers. Remember that IBM is a global organization
whose employees and clients reIlect a diverse set oI customs, values and points oI view. Don't be
aIraid to be yourselI, but do so respectIully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs,
personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration oI privacy and oI topics that may
be considered obiectionable or inIlammatorysuch as politics and religion. For example, iI your
blog is hosted on an IBM-owned property, avoid these topics and Iocus on subiects that are
business-related. II your blog is selI-hosted, use your best iudgment and be sure to make it clear
that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the oIIicial views oI
IBM. Further, be thoughtIul when using tools hosted outside oI IBM's protected Intranet
environment to communicate among Iellow employees about IBM or IBM related matters. Also,
while it is Iine Ior IBMers to disagree, but please don't use your external blog or other online
social media to air your diIIerences in an inappropriate manner.
Add value. IBM's brand is best represented by its people and everything you publish online
reIlects upon it. Blogs and social networks that are hosted on IBM-owned domains should be
used in a way that adds value to IBM's business. II it helps you, your coworkers, our clients or
our partners to do their iobs and solve problems; iI it helps to improve knowledge or skills; iI it
contributes directly or indirectly to the improvement oI IBM's products, processes and policies;
iI it builds a sense oI community; or iI it helps to promote IBM's Values, then it is adding value.
It is best to stay within your sphere oI expertise, and whenever you are presenting something as
Iact, make sure it is a Iact. Though not directly business-related, background inIormation you
choose to share about yourselI, such as inIormation about your Iamily or personal interests, may
be useIul in helping establish a relationship between you and your readers, but it is entirely your
choice whether to share this inIormation.
Don't pick fights. When you see misrepresentations made about IBM by media, analysts or by
other bloggers, you may certainly use your blogor add comments on the original discussion
to point that out. Always do so with respect, stick to the Iacts and identiIy your appropriate
aIIiliation to IBM. Also, iI you speak about a competitor, you must make sure that what you say
is Iactual and that it does not disparage the competitor. Avoid unnecessary or unproductive

arguments. Brawls may earn traIIic, but nobody wins in the end and you may negatively aIIect
your own, and IBM's, reputation in the process. Don't try to settle scores or goad competitors or
others into inIlammatory debates. Here and in other areas oI public discussion, make sure that
what you are saying is Iactually correct.
Be the first to respond to your own mistakes. II you make an error, be up Iront about your
mistake and correct it quickly, as this can help to restore trust. II you choose to modiIy content
that was previously posted, such as editing a blog post, make it clear that you have done so.
Adopt a warm. open and approachable tone. Remember that much oI IBM's image is
developed by the public's interaction with real IBMers. We all want that image to be a positive
one. Your tone, your openness and your approachability can help with that, iust as they can with
your own personal "brand".
Use your best judgment. Remember that there are always consequences to what you publish. II
you're about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomIortable, review
the suggestions above and think about why that is. II you're still unsure, and it is related to IBM
business, Ieel Iree to discuss it with your manager. Ultimately, however, you have sole
responsibility Ior what you post to your blog or publish in any Iorm oI online social media.
Don't forget your day job. You should make sure that your online activities do not interIere
with your iob or commitments to customers.

University of Maryland Medical Center
Comments Policy and Blog Participation Terms and Conditions
Comments to the Medical Center-sponsored sites, such as its blog, Website online Ieedback Iorm
or social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, are welcome and encouraged,
and we look Iorward to hearing Irom you. To promote respectIul discussion within this Iorum,
we request that you be courteous and productive and avoid comments that are proIane, obscene,
oIIensive, sexually explicit, inappropriate, inIlammatory or otherwise obiectionable. Blogs oIten
Ioster debate oI an issue; users are to engage in such exchanges with mutual respect Ior others`
For the privacy oI users and their Iamilies, please be advised that all postings to UMMC-
sponsored sites will be publicly available on the Internet and thereIore publicly accessible
without limitation or protection oI any kind. Please consider how much personal inIormation to
share, with the understanding that this inIormation may be linked to your name and published on
the Internet.
By posting a comment or other material to Medical Center-sponsored sites as outlined above,
users give the Medical Center the irrevocable right and license to exercise all copyright,
publicity, and moral rights with respect to any content you provide, which includes using your
submission Ior any purpose in any Iorm and on any media, including but not limited to:
displaying, modiIying, reproducing, distributing, creating other works Irom, and publishing your
submission. The Medical Center reserves the right to review all comments beIore they are
posted, and to edit them to preserve readability Ior other users.
The Medical Center Iurther reserves the right to reiect or remove comments Ior any reason,
including but not limited to our belieI that the comments violate this Comment Policy, to
determine in its sole discretion which submissions meet its qualiIications Ior posting, and to
remove comments Ior any reason, including but not limited to our belieI that the comments
violate these Terms and Conditions. Any submissions that Iail to Iollow these Terms and
Conditions in any way or are otherwise irrelevant will not be posted. Due to the sheer volume or
appropriateness, the Medical Center will not respond to every posting, especially those that
address individual medical issues.
We also reserve the right to amend these Terms and Conditions Irom time to time in our
iudgment to address issues that may arise and changes in our operations or the law.
In posting material on the Medical Center-sponsored sites, you agree not to:
1. Post material that the Medical Center determines is threatening, harassing, illegal,
obscene, deIamatory, slanderous, or hostile towards any individual or entity.
2. Post phone numbers or email addresses oI yourselI or any other individual or entity in the
body oI your comment -- you cannot assume the good intentions oI everyone who reads

3. Post material that inIringes on the rights oI the Medical Center or any individual or entity,
including privacy, intellectual property or publication rights.
4. Post material that promotes or advertises a commercial product or solicits business or
membership or Iinancial or other support in any business, group or organization except
those which are oIIicially sponsored by the Medical Center. BeIore posting this kind oI
material, you should check with the Web team at webmaster(
5. Post chain letters, post the same comment multiple times, or otherwise distribute 'spam¨
via the Medical Center-sponsored blog.
6. Allow any other individual or entity to use your identiIication Ior posting or viewing
7. Post comments under multiple names or using another person`s name.
The Medical Center reserves the right to do any or all oI the Iollowing:
1. Ban Iuture posts Irom people who repeatedly violate our Terms and Conditions. We may
aIIect such bans by reIusing posts Irom speciIic email addresses or IP addresses, or
through other means as necessary.
2. Remove or edit comments at any time, whether or not they violate these Terms and
User agrees to indemniIy and hold harmless University oI Maryland Medical System
Corporation, its aIIiliates, directors, oIIicers, employees, successors and assigns against any
damages, losses, liabilities, iudgments, causes oI action, costs or expenses (including reasonable
attorneys` Iees and costs) arising out oI any claim by a third party relating to any material user
has posted on the Medical Center-sponsored sites.
By posting a comment or material oI any kind on a Medical Center-sponsored site, the user
hereby agrees to the Terms and Conditions set Iorth above.

Associated Press

Is it OK for AP empIoyees to have accounts on such sociaI-networking sites as Facebook and
Absolutely. They've become an integral part of everyday life for millions of people around the world, and
the AP already has a robust corps of employees with accounts on all the social networks. These networks
also have become an important tool for AP reporters to gather news ÷ both for big, breaking stories and in
cases in which we're seeking out members of the public who might serve as sources for our stories. And
they're a prime source of citizen journalism material. One of our top images from the US Airways crash in
the Hudson River, for instance, was a photo taken by a civilian that first surfaced on Twitter.

What are the generaI guideIines for such accounts?
Employees must identify themselves as being from the AP if they are using the networks for work in any
way. Posting material about the AP's internal operations is prohibited on employees' personal pages, and
employees also should avoid including political affiliations in their profiles and steer clear of making any
postings that express political views or take stands on contentious issues. Employees should be mindful
that any personal information they disclose about themselves or colleagues may be linked to the AP's
name. That's true even if staffers restrict their pages to viewing only by friends. Ìt's not just like uttering a
comment over a beer with your friends: Ìt's all too easy for someone to copy material out of restricted
pages and redirect it elsewhere for wider viewing. As multitudes of people have learned all too well,
virtually nothing is truly private on the Ìnternet.

Anything specific to Facebook?
Ìt's a good idea to monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn't violate AP
standards; any such material should be deleted. Also, managers should not issue friend requests to
subordinates, since that could be awkward for employees. Ìt's fine if employees want to initiate the friend
process with their bosses.

How about Twitter?
We're still the AP. Don't report things or break news that we haven't published, no matter the format, and
that includes retweeting unconfirmed information not fit for AP's wires. Feel free to link to AP material that
has been published. Ìt's difficult for most people to link to AP Mobile stories right now, so link to member
and customer sites instead and try to vary the links to spread the traffic around. Ìt's a good idea to
reference the AP in the promo language, i.e. Just how much geek can be chic? Test your fashion IQ
with this interactive game (AP): http://bit.Iy/BvAqv <> . Also, when tweeting,
remember that's there a big difference between providing an observation ("Ì nearly bumped into Chris
Matthews outside Penn Station") and an opinion ("Ì nearly bumped into the loudmouthed and obnoxious
Chris Matthews").

Why does the AP care or think it shouId have a say in what I put on my sociaI networking
We all have a stake in upholding the AP's reputation for fairness and impartiality, which has been one of
our chief assets for more than 160 years. These guidelines do not break new ground ÷ they are
consistent with the rest of our Statement of News Values and Principles. They just take into account the
new realities of the social networking world and answer questions that many AP employees have asked.

Do these guideIines appIy just to AP empIoyees who are journaIists?
They apply to all employees, just as the Statement of News Values and Principles does. We cannot
expect people outside the AP to know whether a posting on Facebook was made by someone who takes
pictures, processes payroll checks or fixes satellite dishes. We all represent the AP, and we all must
protect its reputation.


Appendix D: Sample Forms

Sample Deposition Questions
Social Media Deposition Questions

O Does your company have an internet site which you can use to exchange
information with others for company purposes?
O What is the name of the site, and how do you use it?
O What is the nature of the items you put on the company internet site?
O When did you put the items on the internet?
O What name do you use for yourself when you post something on the company
O Ìf we wanted to see the information you put on the company site, what would be
the best way to see it?
O Do Ì have your permission, without a court order, to see what you have posted

O Do you have an internet page on Facebook or MySpace, or some other internet
site, where you post personal information about yourself?
O What is the name of the site?
O Have you had other internet sites or pages in the past?
O When did you have the page?
O What name do you use for yourself when you post something on the site?
O Ìf we wanted to see the information you put on the internet, what would be the
best way to find it?
O Do Ì have your permission, without a court order, to see what you have posted

O Have you ever posted something on YouTube, or some other internet site, where
you post items for amusement or education of others?
O What was the name of the site?
O When was the subject of the items you put on the internet?
O When did you put the items on the internet?
O What name was used for a title or to identify the items you posted?
O Ìf we wanted to see the information you put on the internet, what would be the
best way to find it?
O Do Ì have your permission, without a court order, to see what you have posted

O Have you ever posted comments in any internet blog?

Leonard Bucklin, Social Media Trap For You. and For Clients and Witnesses

O Was it a personal blog of yourself, or your company's blog, or some other blog?
O What was the name of the blog?
O When was the subject of the items you put on the internet?
O When did you do blogging?
O What name did you use in posting your comments on blogs?
O Ìf we wanted to see the information you put on the internet for anyone to see,
what would be the best way to find it?
O Do Ì have your permission, without a court order, to see what you have posted

O Have you ever used internet message sites or internet document exchange sites
like WindowsLive or GoogleGroups or something like that?
O What was the name of the site?
O When was the subject of the items you put on the internet?
O When did you put the items on the internet?
O What name did you use for yourself when you use the site?
O Ìf we wanted to see the information you put on the internet, what would be the
best way to find it?
O Do Ì have your permission, without a court order, to see what you have posted

Sample Spoliation Letter


Re: |Matter|

Dear sir or madam:

It has come to our attention that certain inIormation in the possession oI |DeIendant|
related to the complaint oI |PlaintiII|, as described herein, may have been deleted or destroyed.
This letter reminds you oI the obligation to preserve all relevant evidence related to |PlaintiII|`s
complaint, including electronic evidence, in anticipation oI potential litigation. |DeIendant|,
through its principals, agents, and employees, had a duty to preserve all evidence as soon as it
reasonably knew that such evidence may be relevant to Ioreseeable litigation.

As you know, Iailure to comply with the obligation to preserve all relevant evidence may
result in a range oI sanctions Irom a court or agency.

The Iacts giving rise to this letter are as Iollows:


Material evidence within |DeIendant|`s control critical to my clients` disputes with
|DeIendant| is at serious risk oI permanent destruction. We urge you in the strongest possible
terms to ensure that |DeIendant| has preserved and will continue to preserve all relevant
inIormation, communications and documents related to this matter.
The term 'communication¨ means all manners and means oI disclosure, transIer, and
exchange oI thoughts, Iacts, inIormation, and opinions between two or more persons or entities,
whether designated conIidential, privileged, or otherwise. For example, a 'communication¨
includes, but is not limited to, any disclosed, transIerred, or exchanged document, email,
memorandum, report, telephone, Iacsimile, Iace-to-Iace, audiotape, contract, agreement,
solicitation, oIIer, proposal, voicemail, Iinancial statement, transcript, word spoken or heard at
any meeting, discussion, interview, encounter, conIerence, speech, conversation or other similar
occurrence, word written or read Irom any document, and draIts or copies oI any oI the
Ioregoing, transmitted or draIted and never transmitted, that contain any notes, comments,
metadata, or markings oI any kind not Iound in the original communication, or that are otherwise

not identical to the original communication.
The term 'document¨ includes, but is not limited to, drawings, pictures, portraits,
sketches, drawings, doodles, tattoos, charts, letters, envelopes, contracts, electronic mailings (e-
mails), text messages, tweets, instant messages, chat logs, Facebook statuses, web sites, blog
posts, blog comments, chat group posts, newsgroup posts, Iorum posts, telephone message slips,
telephone logs, telephone bills, agreements, memoranda, telegrams, messages, notes, reports,
Iorms, inter-oIIice communications, intra-oIIice communications, 'Post-It¨ or similar notes,
stenographic notes, aIIidavits, statements, spreadsheets, market studies, summaries, opinions,
reports, studies, analyses, evaluations, calculations, proiections, contracts, agreements, tax
returns, iottings, agendas, bulletins, notices, announcements, advertisements, tabulations, iudicial
pleadings and related papers, sound recordings, appointment books, appointment logs, desk
calendars, diaries, checks, check books, draIts, wire transIers, transmittal authorizations, bank
statements, ledgers, iournals, work orders, logs, purchase orders, bills oI lading, letters oI credit,
invoices, travel vouchers, promotional materials, lists, notebooks, computer print-outs,
electronically or magnetically recorded or stored data, photographs, tape recordings, transcripts,
minutes, aIIidavits, opinions, signed statements, summaries notices, books, articles, newspapers,
charts, magazines, menus, computer program listings, computer Iiles, computer printouts,
materials oI any sort and any Iormat maintained or available at any time on the World Wide Web
(whether Iormerly or currently, or both), microIiche, microIilm, data maintained electronically in
any computer database, data used to input inIormation into any computer database, and all other
documentary material including non-identical copies (whether diIIerent Irom the original
because oI any alterations, notes, comments or other material contained therein or attached
thereto or otherwise), and draIts and all electronic and digital copies oI the aIorementioned
documents, whether used or not. This term also includes, but is not limited to, Facebook proIiles,
Twitter proIiles, MySpace pages, Liveiournals, LinkedIn proIiles, Flickr pages, home pages, and
any other social media. For the avoidance oI doubt, the term 'document¨ includes any
electronically stored inIormation ('ESI¨). These documents must be preserved regardless oI
where they are stored, including but not limited to computers, desktops, servers, notebooks,
laptops, hard drives, encrypted hard drives, telephones, 'cloud¨ service providers, tapes, external
and/or internal hard drives, network-attached storage, thumbdrives, Ilash drives, RAM drives,
compact discs, DVDs, telephones, cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs),
Blackberries, smartphones, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Ilash drives, external hard drives, or other any
other storage media.
Please take all steps necessary to inIorm your employees oI their duty to preserve
evidence related to |PlaintiII|`s complaint.

Sample Subpoena





Appendix E: Blogs on Social
Media and the Law

O Connecticut Employment Blog,
O Law Technology News,
O LawIIice Space,
O Legal Blog Watch,
O Ohio Employer`s Law Blog,
O Ride the Lightning,
O Shear on Social Media Law,
O Social Media Law Update,
O Technology & Marketing Law Blog,
O The Delaware Employment Blog,

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