Social Media and its use at work – A policy for employers

We all know that social media allows us all to interact and share information with each other but one issue that is arising more frequently is the use of these platforms at work, whether it be for work or for personal use.

For this reason, it is important for an employer to have a social media policy in place which sets out what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable use. If this is avoided, then it could cause a dispute to arise where the employee argues that there is no policy in place for it to follow. Alternatively, there could end up being an inevitable overlap between business and privacy and the employee has protection and result in a breach of its privacy without consent (even on a work computer).

Some other legal issues that could arise are the use of social media while in working hours could make the employer vicariously liable. There could be discriminatory or defamatory comments made by this employee which results in action being made against you as the employer or actions of the employee could constitute an infringement of IP rights that extends over to you as being liable. All of the above could and would result in damage to reputation, all because there was no policy in place for the employee to follow.

Note that a policy of which an employer wishes the employee to agree to adhere to can be drafted to include the use of social media outside of the office hours and even if the employee is not using the employers equipment and regardless of whether they use the employer’s equipment to access social media. It would be quite specific in the specific damage that has been caused from a breach from an employee outside of the office but still worth considering implementing with a policy.

Final note is to say that this policy could be very beneficial to the smooth and transparent running of the business and to ensure that your employees know where they stand let alone limiting your exposure as the employer. You may find that more detailed guidelines are required if you actively require your staff to use social media on your behalf. However, implementing this policy is paramount and working with your legal advisor who is drafting the policies for you should be taken with care and consideration so that you cover all bases.

If you do not already use a legal team to draft the documents for your business, we can advise you on what works and what does not, what is missing and what needs amending if anything. This is all before we suggest fees for working on this. Call our team at Lawdit for further information or email info@lawdit.co.uk

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