The legal and regulatory framework for corporate social media policies is still being formed as more cases are being brought before courts and regulators. Currently companies have to take into consideration a range of different regulatory guidelines and laws, including the National Labor Relations Act, anti-discrimination laws, FTC guidance and different regulatory directives. Those different guidelines and laws can sometimes conflict with each other, making crafting a legal social media policy a task that requires special attention for employers, particularly those in highly regulated industries like financial services, Christine Lyon, a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, said at a Practising Law Institute forum on law and social media yesterday in New York City.

“I’ve heard of cases where companies in financial services have told their regulators ‘If I enact this [initiative] then it will conflict with the National Labor Relations act.’ And apparently their regulators haven’t been receptive to that defense,” Lyon related.

With those conflicting interests and cases still winding their way to conclusion, it’s best for companies to think about their policies more as guidelines, Lyon advised. “It’s more about teaching employees how to use good judgement in their social media activities… so you may want to consider implementing a training policy as well,” she noted.

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