HR Support on Employee Communications

Editor's Note: Formulate internal communications programs to limit risks and encourage dialogue.

Marta MoakleyOverview: Employers have a broad spectrum of choices for communicating with employees. Bulletin boards, while still a viable means of communication, have long been joined by email messages, tweets and Facebook postings.

Internal and external communications should be monitored and limited by employers to ensure consistency in organizational messages and compliance with federal, state and local laws. Employers should address communications issues in a comprehensive manner, referencing such topics as: confidential business information; media contacts; Internet use; at-will disclaimers; restrictive covenants; use of mobile devices; and communications training. Employers should also focus on keeping the avenues of communication open even in challenging times, such as during a corporate merger or upon an employee's exit from the organization.

Trends: Social media policies, at-will disclaimers, and communications during internal investigations continue to be scrutinized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Union-free, partially unionized and unionized employers need to heed warnings from the NLRB regarding the unlawful restriction of employees' right to engage in protected concerted activities.

Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor

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HR guidance on the legal risks and benefits of employee communications.