Social Media Policies Help Employees Avoid Mistakes
Liking a Facebook page can get employees in trouble at work, and clicking the "like" button isn't the only social-media move that's off limits for employees. Increasingly, employers are adopting social-media policies that set boundaries for employees' online behavior. For those who don't, employees may push those boundaries to their limits.
Workers at a sheriff's department in Virginia learned their lesson the hard way when they crossed the line and "liked" their boss's political rival on Facebook. They got fired and sued their employer, claiming that their terminations violated their right to free speech. A federal judge disagreed, holding that the act of "liking" someone online did not deserve constitutional protection.
Employees who upload and "tag" images of other employees on Facebook without their permission also risk receiving corrective action. Since Facebook owns most content once it's posted, removing an image entirely may not be possible. Similarly, complaining online about co-workers is unwise. The National Labor Relations Board protects employee speech about working conditions, but it recently declined to extend protection to an employee's complaints about a co-worker who was "driving her nuts."
A written social-media policy cuts through speculation and helps employees know how to safely, effectively use social media at work and at home. A policy helps them understand the difference between retweeting a marketing message for their employer's newest product line and tweeting a picture of a customer whose underwear is showing.
When the employer is a healthcare or legal service provider, an additional layer of complexity applies, because confidential information and social media don't mix. With social media training and policies in place, employers can reduce the risk of confidential information being leaked and help their employees navigate the social-media minefields.Categories: General Business Compliance
Tags: Social Media Compliance