And notwithstanding that I am quoted at length in Sharlyn's story, it's still a great read for employers.
Some of the highlights:
* When it comes to social media, set expectations for employees. Educate your employees on social media; let them know what it is. Then implement a social media policy. Consider not just a set of rules, but also some use guidelines.
* Monitor employee use of social media? Not necessarily, but employers should inform employees that the company has the right to do so. For an inexpensive solution, employers can set up Google Alerts and use TweetDeck to conduct real-time Twitter keyword searches to monitor social media use by employees (or others). This approach is broad enough to allow companies to know what people are saying about them online. It also avoids the impression of companies targeting individual employees. But, if a company insists on monitoring individual employees, consider using a third-party -- one with "no skin in the game."
* Get the facts and then react. An employer should not overreact after discovering an employee's online comments. Instead, investigate the incident, talk to the employees involved, and follow company policy. And then discipline accordingly. The company should be consistent, and reasonably tailor discipline to best ensure that the offending employee doesn't do it again.
* Follow Up, Follow Up, and Follow Up Some More. Once an employer has investigated the situation, be sure to follow up with everyone involved. Bring closure to the situation.
You can learn more about Lauby and read other great blog posts at www.hrbartender.com.
Eric B. Meyer is a member of the Labor and Employment Group at Dilworth Paxson LLP. Readers can contact Mr. Meyer via e-mail and follow him on Twitter. This posting is for informational purposes and should not be construed or interpreted as either legal advice on any matter or as in any way creating an attorney/client relationship.