A recent court battle has drawn lines in the sand over social media accounts and who owns them, especially in cases where the account is a professional one, such as a Facebook Business Page, a LinkedIn account, or other promotional tool.
One of the valuable aspects of LinkedIn is its networking feature, which connects you to
contacts of family, friends, acquaintances and coworkers. That network was at the heart of Eagle V. Morgan. A company that had employed Dr. Eagle was acquired by another company, who then replaced then CEO Eagle with someone new. However, the company retained control of Dr. Eagle’s LinkedIn profile, changing the name and photo of the CEO, but continuing to utilize Dr. Eagle’s awards, honors, recommendations and connections as company property.
Another case, this one in California, involved a popular mobile phone site and it’s Twitter accountwith more than 17,000 followers and the employee who created and maintained the account. The company asserted the Twitter followers amounted to a customer list and attempted to sue for $2.50 per month per customer-that’s $350,000 in damages. Without clear guidelines and company policies regarding the use and ownership of social media accounts, the lawsuits will likely continue.
Currently, whether or not a social media account belongs to you or not may end up being decided by the courts unless your company has a clear policy regarding what constitutes a company account or not.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.