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Employment Law/employer cyber stalking?


I work at a hospital and a nurse manager has been "following" employees on facebook and making remarks about them liking status while on their break. People have been in the break room and liked a pic on facebook and the nurse manager will come into the break room and say things like "you dont need to like peoples pics on facebook while your at work". So she (nurse mang) is setting in her office ON FACEBOOK HERSELF and spying on employees. Is this not illegal and considered harrassment?


No, this is not illegal nor is it considered harassment.  Employers are perfectly free, as is anyone else, to view public postings on Facebook or any other Internet or social media site.  If employees don't want their bosses looking at their posts, then they need to make them private ("friends only" in Facebook jargon) and refrain from "friending" anyone they prefer not see their activity.

If the employer has a policy which prohibits social media usage while on company time, such a policy is also lawful and should be followed by all employees.  If there is no such policy, then the manager probably should not be monitoring what employees post, unless she has been asked to by her own supervisors.  But if the employer wants to have such a policy it should be clearly made known to all employees and consistently enforced.

Many states now have laws which prohibit employers from requiring employees to disclose their passwords or other private log-in information for the employees' personal web sites, e-mail or social media accounts.  According to my research there is no such law as yet in North Carolina, but even if there were, the advice above is still correct, assuming the employees are posting publicly or they have "friended" the boss.

I hope this is helpful to you.  

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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