You are within your rights to restrict bulletin board use to official company notices and postings. To enhance camaraderie and team spirit, you may find it is useful to allow employees to post personal notices, e.g., thank you notes, sales of personal items, meeting notices, and personal announcements. If you create an employee bulletin board, you should regulate the size and type of employee postings and the length of time these postings are allowed to stay up. You should regularly police the content of employee postings to ensure that profanity, pornography, or other vulgar or crude materials do not adorn your bulletin boards.
NOTE: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held that if an employer provides a bulletin board, including electronic bulletin boards, and allows employees to post notices, it cannot prohibit the posting of union notices and other pro-union materials. Once you allow your employees to utilize bulletin boards as a method of communication, your employees are free to use it to promote unions or for other forms of concerted activities. Hence, you should consider these implications before you allow employees to use the bulletin board for personal messages.
Whether or not you allow your employees to post personal messages, you should have a policy concerning the unauthorized use or the defacement of your bulletin boards and postings. You should also require that employees get their notices and announcements approved by management before posting.
For more employee bulletin board questions and HR-related advice, contact The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm based in New Jersey, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.730.1049.