The use of social media in the workplace carries increasingly serious risks for employers. Have you taken the necessary steps to protect your business?
The use of social media in the workplace continues to have significant legal implications for businesses. Its impact has rarely been out of the news, with reports highlighting the misuse of social media by employees and the adverse consequences it can have for both a brand’s reputation and the ability of a business to protect its confidential information. It has been reported that there are now 2.1 billion social media accounts worldwide, including 288 million Twitter users, 347 million LinkedIn members and a staggering 1.39 billion Facebook users. Yet many businesses are only just coming to terms with the full potential impact and inherent legal risks associated with the use of social media by their employees. Failing to deal with these risks could be devastating for any size of business and must be managed. Risks include damage to reputation through the posting of derogatory comments, liability for cyber bullying or harassment by employees or third parties, the loss of sensitive and confidential information to competitors by accidental or malicious disclosure or simply a significant drop in productivity due to the amount of time spent by employees on social media sites during the working day.
Employment law has been slow to catch up with technological developments. However, if a dispute does arise between an employer and employee it is clear from recent employment tribunal case law that, for a business to have any chance of successfully defending itself, it must have a comprehensive social media policy and procedure that is tailored to the business. This policy needs to specify the restrictions on an employee’s use of social media including expected conduct and behaviour both inside and outside the workplace as well as setting out any consequences of breaching the policy. It should be complemented by sufficient training of those managers expected to enforce it. In respect of the protection of confidential information, a business should also ensure that it introduces and/or reviews its employment contracts to cover the use of social media on the termination of employment. The policies and restrictions will need to be regularly reviewed to ensure that they cover fast moving developments in social media including new sites and new methods of communication.
For further information or to obtain an up to date social media policy for a fixed cost that will protect your business call Henry Doswell of Doswell Law on 01233 722942 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Whilst every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary contained in this blog accurate and up to date, Henry Doswell takes no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it. The information and commentary in this blog does not constitute legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter.