" Public safety professionals who misuse social media put their organizations between a rock and a hard place. … Emergency service organizations must balance the legitimate need to manage their employees against the potential for liability."
Reading, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) October 25, 2012
Public safety professionals who misuse social media put their organizations between a rock and a hard place. Offensive or defamatory comments from an employee can reduce an organization’s standing in the community or create liability from other employees. Heavy handed solutions to these problems create the potential for First Amendment liability or unfair labor practice charges. Emergency service organizations must balance the legitimate need to manage their public safety employees against the potential for liability.
Edward S. Robson of Robson & Robson LLC, a law firm with experience representing emergency service organizations, recently conducted a seminar the at Berks County Department of Emergency Services addressing these issues. The seminar addressed privacy issues, First Amendment concerns, and the rights of emergency service organizations to restrict use of social media. Mr. Robson reviewed the First Amendment concerns for fire departments, police departments and other emergency service organizations that discipline their public safety professionals for their off-the-job use of social media. Mr. Robson also discussed the enhanced focus on employee concerted action in social media under the Obama administration and the potential for an unfair labor practice charge against emergency service organizations that discipline their public safety professionals for their off-the-job social media use. Finally, Mr. Robson identified various way that an emergency service organization may legitimately restrict the social media use of their public safety professionals, as well as, various strategies for reducing liability.
The seminar is the second in a series of pro bono seminars that Robson & Robson LLC is offering to emergency service organizations. The firm welcomes the opportunity to conduct additional seminars and interested emergency service organizations should visit the firm’s website (link to R&R site) or contact Mr. Robson directly at erobson(at)robsonlaw(dot)com.
Robson & Robson LLC counsels emergency service organizations in a variety of matters, including the development of risk management policies, internal governance, and government relations. The firm has experience defending emergency service organizations against civil liability, civil rights, First Amendment, and employment claims.
Edward S. Robson, the firm's managing member, is the author of a number of articles addressing the legal issues facing emergency service organizations. Since 2003, Mr. Robson has worked as an emergency medical technician.