Social Media Employment Law

This Is No Laughing Matter

I heard a new statistic yesterday and was all excited. LOL! Thought it would be some big news event that I could blog about this morning, maybe even debate with my labor and employment colleagues. ROTFL!

Like, how the number of wage cases filed in federal district courts rose to a whopping 8,160 at the end of the 2014 reporting period. Or, how the Pew Research Center recently noted the increasingly more diverse nature of U.S. religious groups in 2015, and perhaps how employers should consider the impact on religious rights and accommodation in the workplace.

Nope. What I heard yesterday was an even bigger stunner. Apparently, and according to Facebook, people are no longer expressing laughter online with “LOL.” Rather, “HaHa,” “HeHe,” and the use of emojis have taken over, with “LOL” now being used by a very-less-than-hip 1.9 percent of online users. Say it ain’t so!

Is this really worthy of news (let alone, a distinguished blog post, LOL!!)? This development left me with a new list: My top 3 issues to consider from the demise of LOL-ing:

            1.         I suppose that “HaHa” and “HeHe” will let people know that I’m laughing. But, how will they really know that I’m laughing really, really hard? If LOL makes me a loser, what’s become of LMAO, or LMFAO?  Can I start trending my own “HaHaMAO?”

            2.         I’m willing to be hip and dive right in, but “LOL” was so easy to spell. Is the new lingo one word or two (i.e., “HaHa” or “Ha Ha”)? Is the second “ha” capitalized or not (i.e., “Haha” or “HaHa”)? 

            3.         Am I still able to laugh at my own post like I used to do so freely with “LOL” at the end of my statement (i.e., “Here’s a pic of my friend and me in the rain. LOL!”)? Or is “HaHa” or “HeHe” reserved now only for someone else’s post?

Employer Take Away:   What should you as an employer take away from this development? 

This one’s tough, and a bit of a stretch I acknowledge. But there is a lesson here for you, deep down. When it comes to social media, and social/cultural swings, you need to realize that it’s not just your teenage kids doing it. So are your employees, young and old. And it’s not just Facebook they’re talking on anymore either.

As an employer of people, it’s important that you stay on top of all of these developments – newsworthy or not. Understand the language your employees are speaking and all of the platforms they are using to express their opinions, and certainly stay abreast of the ever-changing rules of the road that apply to those platforms and those opinions when it comes to making employment-related decisions based on your employees’ social media activity. It doesn’t matter how you stay on top of things, just go with whatever tickles your fancy.


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