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4 Tips for Health Clubs Managing in the Social Media Era

The prevalence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has created several opportunities for health clubs, but they also open health club operators up to compliance and liability concerns. 

Kara Maciel, a founding partner of Conn Maciel Carey PLLC and chair of the firm’s labor/employment practice group, presented valuable information for clubs to make informed decisions about social media in the workplace at the IHRSA 2016 session, “Managing in the Social Media Era: Compliance, Employment Laws & Legal Liabilities.” 

Here are four takeaways Maciel gave to session attendees: 

1. If your business uses social media in its recruiting process, consider obtaining a waiver from the job candidate and research what your state laws say about employer access of social media accounts belonging to job applicants. It is advisable to document, for each candidate, reasons for non-hire or hire, to protect your business from discrimination claims (many social media accounts prominently display a person’s age, sex, and religion). 

2. Create a section in your employee handbook for explanation of your social media policies and procedures. If you are not sure what you should write in the section, now is the perfect opportunity to determine how you want social media to be used by your employees, such as for marketing and customer service. Be cautious on placing limitations on employee use of social media. 

The National Labor Relations Board, which regulates both non-union and union workplaces, prohibits restrictions on protected concerted activity; individuals are allowed to talk about conditions of employment to co-workers, even if that conversation takes place on social media. In the handbook, your club might state that it retains the ability to access and investigate company systems, such as company social media accounts and company computers, and that it retains the ability to discipline or terminate employees for harassment on social media or for posting complaints or threats about gym members. 

3. Think about whether any of your employees, as part of their job responsibilities, might be posting on social media after they leave the club (i.e. at home). Be sure to adhere to wage and hour guidelines according to your state. 

4. When employees leave for another job opportunity, they might use social media to attract their former clients to their new place of business. Recently, courts have ruled that general LinkedIn invitations are not sufficient to violate non-solicitation agreements.

Reader Comments (1)

Fair enough, social media is kind of new to us even if it has been here for years. It's because a lot of people are still not practicing mandated rules for it. Things are continually evolving and I'd like to believe that before this year ends, there would be an official set of rules to be followed worldwide.
April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAngel Healy

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