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Social Media and the Employer

Published 14 Feb 2013

There has been a huge upswing in employees' use of networking media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube etc.

Some of these sites present marketing opportunities for businesses, but there can be down sides. The production hours lost can be serious. Additionally, employees' use of the media to make disparaging remarks about their employer creating negative perceptions can cause pain and damage. Once posted on the internet, the comments are then in the public domain. And there is the cost of internet bandwidth consumed.

If Employers fail to put a policy in place forbidding such behaviour (in either the employment agreement or an employee handbook) and bring it to the Employee's attention, there will be weak justification for taking disciplinary action against the employee concerned. Correct procedure may not be enough. We recommend a policy and a sign off as well.

A typical policy would contain at the least the following:

Set the Company’s Overall Policy e.g. The Employer’s computers/devices for business use only otherwise written approval required and the Employee must comply with all policies and procedures.

The Company's Position on:
        Personal use of the Employer's computers, communications or mobile storage devices, email, internet is prohibited, without the Employer's prior written approval.
        Connection of non-work devices to network
        Statement that usage is monitored.
        Software download policy statement
        Restrictions on updating computer configurations
        Unauthorised and/or inappropriate or illegal email /browsing/other communication /risk of introducing viruses etc
        Passwords privacy policy 
        Unlawful copying, downloading, uploading, or file sharing any licenced or copyright protected software or material  

Such a policy is available to all ESP members for downloading from the Employers Toolbox.