Nowadays, many companies manage active Facebook pages. Such pages are usually managed by employees, and in some cases by just one employee. When an employee is given complete independence and when matters aren’t clarified with a clear agreement, legal questions may arise, revolving around the ownership of the Facebook page: specifically, whether it belongs to the employer or the employee.
This very question was brought before the Regional Labour Court in Tel Aviv in the matter of Guy Lerer and the “Zinor” (a local television show that commentates on Internet clips and is hosted by Lerer).
In order to determine the right of ownership, the Labour Court set out a number of guiding questions that should be examined, such as:
- Who initiated the activation of the account and what was the purpose for its activation?
- What is the degree of correlation between the account and the workplace?
- Who bears the cost of managing the account?
- Who participated in the management of the account in practice?
- Was the account managed and operated in accordance with the employer’s instructions and supervision?
- Does the employment agreement include instructions as to the account?
- Does the workplace have a policy regarding the use of social media accounts?
The Labour Court further held that none of the above referenced tests stand alone, and the results of one test will not necessarily indicate a final result; rather, the results of all the tests together will provide a full picture.
After examining the above considerations in relation to the specific case, the Regional Labour Court reached the conclusion that the Facebook page should remain under Guy Lerer’s management.
As with other actions taken by employees on social media, both within and outside of the workplace, employers may want to adopt a clear policy on the matter that is brought to the employees’ attention. In particular, employers may want to resolve issues relating to the use of social media accounts, used by employees both for personal and professional use, in order to prevent disputes down the road.
Written by Keren Assaf of Herzog, Fox & Neeman and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins
© 2018 Herzog, Fox & Neeman and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, P.C.