Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NLRB ruling on employer blogging policies probably doesn't help IT contractors much in practice

Today, I did post a story on my main blog about a recent NLRB  (National Labor Relations Board) ruling that would restrict the ability of private employers to regulate what associates do on social media on their own dimes, even in areas like criticizing the company, the boss, the other workers or even customers.

It’s important to remember that online reputation probably does affect being able to get a job with a company, maybe more than the ability to keep a job.

In information technology, one of the most critical situations come about with staffing companies, where associates are salaried (or often paid hourly “W2”along with possible overtime) with benefits by the staffer, who is in turn paid by the client.  In almost all cases, the person isn’t hired until the client wants the person.  Often these days, clients are local and state governments who want “revolving” professionals already familiar in detail with their operations and social programs or tax collection operations.  (Look at how states run MMIS.) Staffing companies could fear that publicly “sharp-edged” associates (as judged by their online presence) could drive away clients, or might have a prospective tendency to talk about clients after they have left.

I have not had a phone interview for such a position since 2007, and no longer desire to because of other circumstances.  But in retrospect, I believe my own "razor edge" online could have driven away prospects. 
Writings on public blogs and websites, using real names, could be more problematic than social emdia activity that requires friending or following for content to be viewed.

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