Employment Law and Social Media - can you get disciplined for tweeting
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Employees who also have profiles on social media sites such as Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn, myspace and any business networking or hobby and craft
social networks as well as blogs, should ensure they have checked their
employer’s code of conduct or employee handbooks and ensure they comply.
Even if an employer does not include social media as part of their code of
conduct or employee handbooks, employees should take care when making comments
about their employer or other employees when updating their status on social
media sites. Employers do not need to be a member of Twitter to see what tweets
mention them. Similarly, depending on privacy settings, Facebook status updates,
wall postings and photos can be seen by employers. Facebook’s privacy settings
allow users to create lists of friends so employees can create a ‘work list’
that includes their employer and colleagues who are also friends and check that
status updates complaining about a bad day at work are only seen by friends who
are not also colleagues.
Openly criticising your employer in a letter to a local newspaper or magazine or
bringing your employer into disrepute by bad behaviour at an after-work party,
can result in disciplinary proceedings being brought against an employee. So can
blog articles, status updates or tweets criticising an employer. There have been
instances of employees being sacked after criticising their employer or
complaining about their job on-line where the employee did not realise their
employer could see their updates.
Search companies such as Google and Bing can now include social media updates as
part of their ‘real time’ search features. This means that employee’s tweets or
Facebook status updates aren’t just visible to other Twitter or Facebook users,
but also to browsers making a search via a search engine. Search engines see
this as a valuable addition to their services because news stories are surfacing
on social networking sites before they appear on more traditional news sites.
This means employees need to take care about what they say about their employer
or job before updating their social status or tweeting. Employers should have
policies in place regarding the use of social media or extending their code of
conduct to include on-line activity.
However, employers need to take care when monitoring their company name on-line
and ensure their monitoring is not discriminatory.
About the Author
Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our
team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a
business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial
property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on
all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and
dismissal procedures. Visit
www.lawson-west.co.uk for more information.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-08-18 14:06:12 in Legal Articles