In my last blog posts (here and here), I discussed the emerging importance of coworking spaces in the post-industrial workforce and some of the risks around data security and privacy. In this part three of the series, I set out some of the employment law issues related to human interactions in coworking spaces: booze, sexual harassment and discrimination.
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.
The Olden Days
In the olden days, like, in 2003 before we even had Twitter or LinkedIn or smart phones smarter than the first rockets into space, “face time” only meant spending time in the office long into the evenings so that the managing partner/boss/bonus committee saw us squirreling away at our desk looking busy…
In this fourth piece on Bringing Your Own Device to work, I build upon my past posts that set out the benefits, costs and risks of BYOD.
So you’ve now decided to jump in (or some other reckless decision maker in your organization has), and you now have to develop your BYOD program. Here are…
As I set out in my last blog post, "Who is Demanding BYOD?", the demand for bringing your own device to work may come from all corners and levels of the company. In this post, I set out the benefits of BYOD.
1. EMPLOYEE REQUESTS: The most obvious benefit to embracing BYOD…
As employees increasingly demand to use their preferred electronic device in the workplace, employers are working through whether the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) concept is a good idea, or an employee perk to ban for security and cost reasons. In my next few blog posts, I plan to explore the issue and…
Working from home, telecommuting, flexible hours, – whatever you call it, it is part of the Gen Y paradigm of focusing on work product rather than work process. In an information economy where so many workers are producing electronic written and graphic content rather than a physical product, many employees are pushing to work where…