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23.07.2014
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Social media’s presence in everyday American life is ubiquitous, and how it affects the workplace is a constantly evolving issue for employees and employers.


Despite numerous cases of employees violating confidentiality policies, making libelous statements and increasing liability concerns, only 23% of employees interviewed in a 2012 survey by SilkRoad Technologies worked for companies with a social media policy, and a mere 10% had received some sort of social media training. For companies in the fields of marketing, technology, brand management and online content creation, the use of social media is not only beneficial, it’s a necessity.
But when it comes to how employee social media activity reflects on a company, there is a clear need to carefully establish policies for managing and monitoring the activities of employees on social networks to safeguard against legal actions and the spread of confidential information the company does not wish to share.
Not having a policy or having a poorly written policy also increases the risk of dealing with issues of harassment, bullying, discrimination and employees venting their personal views and frustration over company issues in a public forum. At the same time, limitations on social media that are perceived as too strict have been determined to be a violation of employee rights. Striking a balance between protecting the company and allowing employees to have their necessary freedom is essential, but a fine line to walk. Don’t prohibit protected activity -- Due to the National Labor Relations Act, employers cannot interfere with an employee posting or carrying on conversations via social media regarding wage or working conditions.


Be specific -- The more the scope of the policy is specified, the less open to employee rights violations a company will be. Ask employees to include disclaimers -- Whether employees’ posts directly or indirectly relate to their employer, companies can require employees to include disclaimers that indicate the views expressed are not representative of the views of the company. Zero tolerance for bullying, harassment and discrimination -- Social media is a haven for inappropriate remarks and behavior. Always comply with federal, state and local laws -- While employees have to be careful to not violate any state, federal or local laws with their posts, employers also have to be make sure their policies don’t violate any laws, something that varies between states.



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