Quick, call the policy.

Author: bespoke

28 February 2014 | Reading time: < 1 minute

No longer an option – a social media policy could keep you out of court.

A serious legal concern for employers is that ‘vicarious liability’ may be attributed to employers for discriminatory or defamatory comments made by employees online. That is, employers may be liable for the acts (or opinions expressed on social media sites) of their employees in the course of employment.

Essential management tool.

It is essential for employers to create and implement social media policies for their workplaces so that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities when it comes to using social media. If employers do not already have a social media policy in place, now is the time to implement one.

Providing clarity.

Social media policies should clarify when and how an employee’s opinion about an employer will impact on the employer. Policies should clarify that derogatory comments made about the employer in any forum, including social media sites, are unacceptable and may lead to disciplinary action.

Key points.

Social media policies should including the following points:

  • No endorsement by employer – making it clear that the opinions of an employee are distinct and separate from those of the employer;
  • Confidentiality – confirmation that public comments, in any forum and particularly on social networking sites, can be accessible by the public at large, and so confidentiality needs to be preserved; and
  • Rights at law – clarification that posting a derogatory or defamatory comment on a social media site about the employer, a boss or a colleague may be grounds for dismissal or other legal action.