david foleys blog

David Foley's Labor and Employment Law Blog

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Google+ the Workplace Social Media?

Does Google+ have a unique utility to it that makes it worth adopting?

In this article, Simon Mackie explains why he thinks Google+ will be a good solution for the workplace.  The basic strength is that the ability to put contacts into separate circles (George Costanza called them "worlds") enables more tailored communications.  This is good because a status like, "The Department A folks are killing me" might not resonate as well with the folks from Department A as it would with say the Department B folks.  So you could send one status to your Department A Circle, "Please let me know when you are nearing completion" and another to your Department B Circle (see above).

 So, if Google+ does make its way into the workplace, what legal issues might be expected? Here are some ideas:
1. Being left out of the circle.  Being in or out of various circles could at the very least be evidence that an employee was being discriminated against and at the most be a new form of adverse personnel action, with a remedy forcing an employer to include a discriminatee in a certain circle.



2. Being included in the circle.  Evidence of sexual harassment might be seen when unlikely circle lines are drawn.



3. The ability to separate out recipients could lead to a false sense of privacy.  Just as email can be forwarded, that little "Prt Sc" bottom can  record any circle's conversation.

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