Jacobson and Tufts on “To Post or Not to Post: Employee Rights and Social Media”

Willow Jacobson (University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill) and Shannon Tufts have published “To Post or Not to Post: Employee Rights and Social Media”, APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. The abstract reads:

In line with the theme of this year’s APSA conference, this paper examines issues of public employee rights as they relate to social media policies. This paper employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the issue of employee rights in relationship to social media actions both on and off the job. The proliferation of the use and forms of social media in the last five years has been extensive. Significant efforts are being made to capture the power of this medium as a resource for government while at the same time governments are struggling to create appropriate, legal, and meaningful policies related to employee usage and behavior. Stories abound of public employees’ misuse of social media both at and away from work. Misconduct has led to not just disciplinary action but substantial media attention. Issues of First and Fourth Amendment rights, human resource policies, and technology policies are all critical to this topic.

This paper reviews social media policies for public employees with attention to the employees’ rights. Content analysis of state government policies provide an overview of the current state of practice and highlight issues of public employee rights. The paper includes a discussion of key issues of employee rights, recommendations for practice, and future research needs.

The paper may be downloaded from SSRN here.

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