As technology advances and social media applications become an important part of the workplace, the lines of what’s appropriate and what’s legal have quickly become blurred.
Along with the fun and useful benefits of social media come legal issues. If you employ workers, you pay them a salary and control what they do. Here are some potential areas that you can save a trip to your local courthouse:
Did You Know?
- An employee that uses social media for personal use is NOT working unless that is a part of their job description. This could signify a loss of work productivity.
- A newer risk to using social media in the workplace comes in the form of cyberbullying,
- The volatile nature of monitoring personal social media use increases the potential for security breach risks.
- An employer can be liable for libel if an employee uses social media during work hours and/or on work property to defame, harass, or discriminate against someone.
- In a lawsuit, social media communication can be subpoenaed as evidence.
- Social media communication often tends to be quick, short, and written in the spur of the moment. Communication like this can be misunderstood in a workplace setting.
- The common practice of surveying social media for hiring purposes must be performed with caution. Information gathered cannot be used to discriminate.
Setting Boundaries for Social Media Use in the Workplace
Social media can do amazing things. It can bring people together in ways never imagined. The key is to be aware of what is going on in your workplace.
- Be sure to create a policy regarding the use of all social media applications. (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and even blogging tools)
- Communicate that policy to all employees that are full time, part-time, and shift-work employees.
- A social media policy must be enforced in a non-discriminatory way.
- Be sure to enforce the policy. Having a policy that you do not enforce is like not having a policy at all.
- Stay up-to-date on revisions to human resource laws as technology changes often.
Francine D. Ward
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