Every company should have policies in place which elaborate what online conduct will be acceptable in the workplace, whether that be how much time it is acceptable to be “social media active” during working hours or posting content that could bring the company into disrepute – even if that content is posted on the employee’s private social media sites.
Look at the current situation where two writers at FHM magazine have been suspended for making offensive comments on their private Facebook pages. As they have both been identified as employees of FHM when their posts were shared, re-posted and discussed in social and print media, this has affected FHM as a company. So while companies can benefit from social media, when not managed properly it could lead to controversy and even litigation.
It is also not uncommon for disgruntled employees to use social media to defame members of management, colleagues or the company they work for. The CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] has ruled that derogatory remarks made about an employer on an employee’s personal social media profile may justify dismissal, especially where an employee has no privacy restrictions on their profile.
All of the above means that it is necessary for employers to have a straightforward social media policy in order to ensure that the boundaries pertaining to online conduct are known, understood and acknowledged by each employee.
If you would like assistance with a social media policy for your company, please do not hesitate to contact us or call our office on 033 266 6170.