Blurred Boundaries: Social Media Privacy and the Twenty-First-Century Employee

62 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2012  

Patricia Sánchez Abril

University of Miami Business Law Dept.

Avner Levin

Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management

Alissa Del Riego

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 18, 2012

Abstract

This paper discusses the future of employee privacy in social media.

Part I reviews the extant legal landscape with an emphasis on three general areas of employer activity related to employees’ online activities: (1) monitoring and surveillance of employee social media profiles, (2) evaluation of applicants’ social media profiles and online speech in making hiring decisions, and (3) limiting employees’ off-duty online activities.

Part II reports the results of an empirical research project into the expectations of young employees regarding the role of social media in the workplace. We asked respondents about a wide range of topics related to social media, such as the extent of personal information they post online, the privacy-protective measures they employ on social media sites, their level of concern regarding their privacy online, and their attitudes and expectations regarding the use of social media in the workplace. Despite granting employers access to information about their private lives by participating online, respondents expect that work life and private life should be generally segregated — and that actions in one domain should not affect the other.

Guided by the survey findings and legal examples from international jurisdictions, in Part III we offer workable recommendations designed to protect employees’ desire to maintain some separation between personal and professional contexts.

Keywords: privacy, employment, online, social, media, millennial, digital, empirical, survey

Suggested Citation

Sánchez Abril, Patricia and Levin, Avner and Del Riego, Alissa, Blurred Boundaries: Social Media Privacy and the Twenty-First-Century Employee (January 18, 2012). American Business Law Journal, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 63-124, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2004438

Patricia Abril (Contact Author)

University of Miami Business Law Dept. ( email )

United States

Avner Levin

Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management ( email )

350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3
Canada

Alissa Del Riego

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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