Social Media and Technology

shoesMicrosoft Corp. and LinkedIn recently announced that Microsoft will soon acquire LinkedIn in a transaction valued at $26.2 billion – click here for the company’s announcement.

Under the deal, Microsoft will purchase LinkedIn’s shares at $196 each. If a share sale like this happened in Ontario, the identity of LinkedIn would not change – Microsoft would simply step in to the shoes of LinkedIn. Microsoft would inherit all employees and employment-related liabilities and obligations of LinkedIn after the deal closed.

Continue Reading Microsoft Acquiring LinkedIn: What is the Employee Impact in a Share Transaction?

fire hydrantA blog post just in time for some downtime over the holiday – when can personal tweets become grounds for termination?  Some of you may remember when in August of 2013 Canadian news outlets were a-buzz with the termination of two Toronto Firefighters for sexist comments made on Twitter. For a media report on the details of the tweets and reactions, click here.

While the tweets were made off-duty, and not in reference to anything work related, management got involved partly because the Firefighters in question identified themselves as such on their Twitter profiles. The conduct was deemed to be in violation of employer policies, including their Social Media Policy, damaging to the reputation of Toronto Fire and ultimately worthy of termination.

Both individuals grieved their terminations, asking for their jobs back. These two cases are a good example of when tweets can amount to grounds for termination and when reinstatement may be ordered.
Continue Reading Tweeting Your Way to Termination

settlement by computerWill technology replace or merely enhance our abilities to achieve settlements?  Last week I spoke at an Osgoode Professional Development session on Settlement in the Digital Era: Essentials for Non-Techies.  My co-panelist was Colm Brannigan, a mediator very familiar with Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).  Colm and I have had some good discussions beforehand about how technology can assist the settlement process, whether an informal negotiation between parties or a formal court-ordered mediation.

Ultimately, despite the tech fan and early adopter in both of us, we realised that nothing can replace the human aspect of resolving most disputes beyond a traffic ticket.  For many people, they simply need to physically face their opposing party and ‘have their day in court’.  The emotions in our voice and on our face, the passion of our positions and the human needs that have to be addressed in dispute resolution cannot be completely replaced by technology.

But…. 
Continue Reading Does technology replace or enhance dispute resolution?

OPC BYOD GuidelinesI’ve written several posts about BYOD in the past, and continue to believe that for many workplaces, BYOD will be difficult if not impossible to resist. However, it won’t be news to anyone that BYOD raises a full array of privacy and security issues related to the potential blurring and blending of employee personal information and business/customer information on devices.

Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, along with the Alberta and British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioners, have published guidelines to assist organizations considering or implementing BYOD policies.

While the publication does not introduce anything overly novel, it does provide a good roadmap in one document, a roadmap with quite a bit of weight if you are trying to prove your organization did its due diligence around implementing a prudent BYOD program.

Continue Reading Privacy Commissioner’s BYOD Guidelines

On Wednesday, the Canadian federal government introduced Bill C-13, a ‘new’ cyberbullying bill to address the increasingly harmful effects of intimate images going viral online.  The cyberbullying proposals are part of a wider omnibus bill that amends a few acts, including the Criminal Code and Evidence Act. 

Many of the cyberbulling provisions are in

Last week, I conducted a workshop on implementing a successful “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) program at the Canadian Institute’s Privacy Law & Compliance Conference.  I met a wonderful group of privacy experts who had plenty to contribute to the discussion.

We talked about the benefits, risks and costs of permitting employees to use their personal device to perform work-related tasks, which typically includes accessing the company’s network.  Over half the group was in the public sector and regularly handled very sensitive, confidential personal information.

The private sector attendees in the group had an equally strong concern about protecting highly sensitive and confidential business information.  At the end of the day, most organizations, regardless of how open they may or may not be, require a certain level of security around their data, intellectual property and personal information.

So how to implement a successful BYOD program?


Continue Reading Implementing a Successful BYOD Program

A couple of readers have asked to what extent US based social media cases will apply in Canada.  We don’t yet have a large body of social media cases in Canada (other than run of the mill termination cases involving social media), so there tends to be a lot of discussion up here about US

Who owns the social media content created and maintained in the course of employment? Work product is traditionally the proprietary interest of the employer. But there’s something different about social media content. 

A blog created by a company employee during company time on a company computer with a focus on the company’s products may be straightforward – the blog and its content are owned by the company.

LinkedIn: Where the battle will likely take place

But what about LinkedIn?  I’ve blogged about the @PhoneDog_Noah case and the ownership of Twitter followers in the past, but the future battle will no doubt be focused on LinkedIn. While the LinkedIn User Agreement is between the individual and LinkedIn, the reality is, a key purpose of LinkedIn is to either generate business in one’s current occupation (i.e. increase your employer’s business), or to generate business and connections for the next position (i.e. for the next employer). 

The question is whether the development of connections and of one’s network in general is as a result of one’s individual personality, or as a result of one’s association with a company name. In other words, do people connect with me because I’m a lawyer at XYZ LLP, or because of my individual personality/voice? I suspect in most cases, for most people, it’s a combination of the two. 

And it’s this combination that makes LinkedIn different than a traditional Rolodex. A company’s customer list is the company’s property, and a departing employee cannot take that list with her. 

But in the modern world of social media, do you take your LinkedIn connections with you? I’m guessing 100% of us believe that we do – it’s our own individual account. And LinkedIn would agree. But will your employer?

You Own My Relationships?!

A Gen-Y employee would find it rather unseemly that their relationships with their colleagues, friends, and general network is somehow owned by one’s employer. None of us expect to stay with the employer for 30 years anymore. Compiling, developing and working hard to nurture our network of relationships is a critical tool of business that we need to take with us. 

Conversely, employers have a good reason to assert a proprietary interest over its customer list. 

Let the battle begin.

Stay tuned to my next post where I will debrief about the Eagle v Morgan case, one of the few cases out there that has gone to trial on the issue of LinkedIn content ownership.    

 


Continue Reading Who Owns Work-Related Social Media?