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But the NLRB said many social media policies offer “overly broad,” all-encompassing guidelines that are “unlawful,” and called for more specific examples.

In his report on social media issued May 30, Mr. Solomon argued that six of the seven companies he studied violated at least in part the federal National Labor Relations Act with their social media policies.

The NLRA grants workers the right “to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations.”

Companies are barred from getting in the way of these activities. They may not “interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of” those rights.

But many social media policies do just that, Mr. Solomon argued, because they are so broad that they leave the door open for employees to assume they regulate union or organizing discussions online.

Individual cases

Mr. Solomon listed some of the mistakes these companies made in their social media policies.

In some cases, policies warn employees to “think carefully about ‘friending’ co-workers,” but this would “discourage communications among co-workers and thus it necessarily interferes with [union] activity,” he wrote in the report.

In another example, companies tell employees their posts should “not reveal non-public information on any public site.”

According to the NLRB general counsel, that “would be reasonably interpreted to apply to discussions about, or criticism of, the employer’s labor policies and its treatment of employees.”

Encouraging workers to “report any unusual or inappropriate internal social media activity” could be seen as “encouraging employees to report to management the union activities of other employees.”

The moral of the story: Corporate social media policies should be specific and contain examples, he said.

Mr. Solomon gave one example of a policy that gets it right. It encourages employees to be respectful in posting comments, complaints, photographs and videos.

He praised the social media policy for the specific examples it includes. It warns employees not to post content that “could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating.”

It also explains that harassment and bullying would include “offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation” and posts that “contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion.”