5 Lessons Learned About Social Media and EEO Compliance

This week I spoke on a panel at MicroPact’s 462 10th Annual Conference: The Changing Landscape on EEO in the Federal Workplace. Be sure to check out some of the follow up posts from MicroPact by checking out their blog.

As I mentioned in a previous post, speaking at events like this are typically one of my favorite parts of my job – it’s always great to connect directly with government employees to really learn first hand about what their challenges are, innovative projects in government and then help to tell their great government stories on GovLoop. Throughout the day I wrote down some notes, and here are my top 5 takeaways from the panel.

Legal Arena Is Developing

Many of the challenges presented to HR professionals are areas in which the law is still evolving. An important read for HR professionals is the National Labor Relations Board social media advisement. What I found really fascinating is that social media is challenging agencies to make the old new again. I was reading an interesting case from the late 1800s the other day in which an employee was fired for “talking politics.” The same challenges exist today in the workplace. In our offices today, not only does these conversations take place in the hallway, these conversations are taking place across multiple platforms. Undoubtedly, HR professionals will be faced with compliance challenges with social media, if they have no been already.

Be Proactive

Although legal precedents are still developing for social media in the workplace, it is important to think through the issues, and be ready to act. Having open discussions about what issues may develop is an important first step for government agencies. That is why I believe the MicroPact event was an important first step for HR professionals, as they were able to connect and collaborate with government employees facing the same challenges.

Mitigate Risk

One of the big lessons for me is that agencies should learn ways to mitigate risk, and this means training employees on the proper ways to use social media, and what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Although you cannot be prepared for every situation, there is a dire need to know the “do’s and don’ts” for social media. To get you rolling, here are some GovLoop Resources to check out:

How First Amendment Rights Impact Public Sector Employees and Social Media
Know What’s Covered: Social Media and the Hatch Act
Social Media Twitter Guides for Government Employees and Agencies

Social Media and HR is Trending Topic

Our session participants had awesome and intriguing questions to ask. We posed a handful of scenarios during our session and sought out audience feedback, the audience jumped right in and engaged in the sessions. We posed the question if it is appropriate to “Google” prospective employees, what to do if an employee “likes” an inappropriate Facebook post, if agencies have the right to require employees to remove place employment on social networks, and finally, discussions on what rights public sector employees have in terms of their First Amendment Rights. We could have thought of dozens of ideas and situations, but the selection of these topics served our main purpose – to spur discussion and get the audience thinking about the most critical issues with social media and EEO compliance.

Stay Up to Date

There are lots of good resources, and this field is moving quickly, so agencies need to be able to adapt quickly here are some great spots to check out. GovLoop has a lot of great resources, but here are some other great resources we have shared with the audience:

Thanks again to the panel, Ed Loughlin, John Sim, and Steve Gaitten, they were a great group of guys to be on a panel with and get to know, and I learned a lot from all them. It was also a great audience, lots of great participation and conversations.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply