Social media blunders: What employers can do

Posted by Holly Cudbill, 20th May 2019

This article first appeared in HR Magazine on 17 May 2019.

There are many recent, high profile examples of public figures in hot water with their employers over comments made on social media.

Although it might not receive as much publicity, handling social media mistakes made by less well-known employees is a growing area of concern for HR professionals and advisers and social media policies will help employers to manage the tricky issues that can arise.

Careful judgement and watertight policies around employee posts are needed to navigate the murky world of social media.

Just how should employers deal with staff posting potentially-damaging comments on social media and how far can organisations go in searching a person’s social media profiles when deciding whether to recruit or discipline someone?

The starting point is whether the employee or potential recruit has posted such comments publicly. A private message sent on Facebook to a few people grumbling about a bad day at work is unlikely to come to light and, if it does, unlikely to be enough to discipline anyone.

A public communication that can be viewed by anyone (whether a tweet, a post, a like or even an emoji) is largely fair game for employers, especially if that person is clearly linked to the employer’s business. However, once you’re aware of the communication the question of what you can do about it depends on a number of factors.

First, what do your policies say about social media?

To read the full article, written by Holly Cudbill in HR Magazine, click here.

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