Are you having a holiday party for your company? Are you planning on sharing the cheer by posting photos of said party on your corporate Facebook page or other social media? If so, don’t forget to have your employees sign authorizations before you post those photos.
Many states have statutes that protect an individual’s name, voice, signature, photograph, image, or likeness. This “right of publicity” prohibits one from using another’s persona for a commercial purpose without written consent.
It may be sufficient to have a statement in your employee handbook advising employees that, from time to time, the company may post pictures of employees on the company’s website, Facebook page, etc., and employees who wish to opt out should advise HR in writing. The overly cautious employer, though, will want this to be an opt-in process, with employees providing specific written consent for the use of their likeness in photos.
Regardless, employers should do something to ensure that they are not infringing on employees’ right of publicity with photos of employer-sponsored events. Otherwise, your holiday lump of coal might come in the form of a lawsuit by a shy, and overly litigious, employee.