HCBE Faculty Articles

Social Media and Employment At-Will: Tort Law and Practical Considerations for Employees, Managers, and Organizations

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Journal of New Media and Mass Communication



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The prevalence, widespread use, and influence of technology in society today, including the workplace, is undeniable. Computers, the Internet, email, and cell phones are now indispensable parts of social interaction as well as business; and their sophistication, uses, and reach are expanding continually. Social media has completely transformed the life of many, many people. In particular, social media has materially changed the way in which people communicate. Social media affords people readily and easily usable ways to stay in touch with family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers, including the ability to rapidly share information and commentary. Business today is also taking advantage of social media – for marketing, management, and human resource purposes. Consequently, employers, employees, job applicants, as well as the legal system, are confronting with ever-increasing frequency the advancement of technology, the growth and proliferation of social media, and the challenges and difficulties presented by the use of social media and the modern-day workplace. This article, therefore, is a legal and practical examination of social media in employment. The authors in this article focus on the law of tort and how tort law can apply to social media employment disputes. However, the authors briefly address other legal doctrines that can apply to social media. The authors also provide recommendations, comments and observations for modern-day workers, managers, and business organizations operating in a social media world.



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