Finding someone who doesn’t use social media would be very difficult. We use the various platforms for everything from networking and getting news to keeping up with our family and friends. Even businesses regularly utilize social media to find new clients and advertise new products.
Considering how ubiquitous social media is, savvy employers and employees should understand how to address the appropriate use of these platforms in the workplace.
Social media policies
Employers may have employees acknowledge and sign social media policy agreements. Generally, these policies will include guidance regarding:
- Websites and platforms that employees can access while working
- Using secure passwords
- Restrictions on company information they can and cannot share
- Unacceptable content
- Types of use, including personal, professional and official
Social media policies should also detail the consequences of violating the rules.
Employers must consider what is and is not reasonable when it comes to restricting employees. Going too far could violate their rights and privacy; failing to go far enough could lead to loss of proprietary information and reputational damage.
In general, both employers and employees would be wise to consult a lawyer regarding their rights and responsibilities.
Privacy on social media
Employees may think their personal social media accounts are private. However, colleagues, potential employers, clients and recruiters could see what individuals do and say on sites like Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn. Thus, employees must consider carefully how others might view their online personas and activities.
Further, employers could be within their rights to monitor a person’s social media use at work, for work or on workplace equipment. They may also take legal action if an employee makes an inappropriate disclosure on these platforms, even if the person makes it off-duty on their personal account.
When employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities regarding social media use, they can avoid mistakes that could lead to financial, professional and legal consequences.