Confusion reigns in the world of workplace social media concerning online criticism of the workplace. How far can an employee go in complaining about his or her work conditions, the boss, fellow workers, cafeteria food, etc? And how much should an employer tolerate? And where does the law draw the line?

There have been many complaints to the National Labor Relations Board of late about how far businesses can go as far as their social media policies are concerned. Most social media policies that are presented to the Board are overly broad, according to a Board spokesman. These policies say you can’t criticize or disparage the company in any way on social media. However, that is not true under the law. The Board says federal law permits employees to talk with co-workers about their jobs and working conditions without reprisal—whether that takes place around the water cooler or on Facebook or Twitter.

There needs to be more open communication between corporations and employees concerning company policy on social media to avoid running afoul of the law.