Thanks to all of you who attended our recent Masters Series entitled “When Facebook Gets In Your Face: What Can You Do About Employee Use (Or Misuse) Of Social Media?”
Most employers have already taken significant steps toward creating a social media policy by implementing work rules that address discrimination and harassment, electronic communications, standards of conduct and confidentiality. In many ways, your social media policy is an extension of the rules and policies you have already adopted.
In case you missed it, here are the important points we covered at the Masters Series for drafting a social media policy:
- Define the scope of your policy. Employees need to be aware that the policy not only applies to their use of social media in the workplace but also covers online activities that occur outside of normal working hours.
- Consider adopting rules that govern your hiring practices. There are many traps and pitfalls for employers who conduct Google searches to obtain information on job applicants. Information posted online is not always accurate or trustworthy.
- Confidential information should be addressed. Your social media policy should address confidentiality.
- “Common sense” warnings. When using social media for business or personal reasons, employees should be directed to act with honesty, integrity and respect the rights, privileges and privacy of others.
- Warning that social media may be monitored. Similar to your company’s electronic communications policy, employees should be advised that the company may view or monitor their use of social media to ensure compliance with company policies.
- Be careful not to draft a policy that restricts protected and concerted activity. In light of recent actions undertaken by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), your policy should avoid imposing broad restrictions that prohibit all forms of employer criticism.
- Identify the “sheriff.” Finally, your social media policy should have a reporting mechanism and identify the “sheriff” — the person responsible for enforcing the policy.
Unless your company is significantly engaged in marketing and conducting business online, it is not necessary to have a lengthy social media policy. In most cases, the policy will not exceed one page. Our office can certainly assist you in creating an effective and compliant social media policy.