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How to tackle a social media policy in the workplace

Having an effective social media policy in place can help businesses to avoid communication issues. We spoke to specialist employment law solicitor Melanie Morton, of Nelsons, to find out more.

The dangers of social media

It’s widely accepted that social media is a powerful tool. It can reunite friends, help tackle political injustice – consider #MeToo – and raise thousands for important causes, just look at Game of Thrones fans’ efforts in raising £75,000 for Emilia Clarke’s SameYou. However, it can also result in inappropriate usage such as Danny Baker’s recent tweet, which ultimately led to him being fired by the BBC.

A misfired tweet or Instagram post can definitely lead to negative repercussions, not only for an individual but also for a brand or business. Melanie Morton, a specialist employment law solicitor at Nelsons, has put together a useful guide for employers advising on how to create a social media policy in the workplace.

Creating a workplace social media policy

Melanie says: “When drafting a policy, an employer should take into consideration the conduct it expects of its employees in office/offline situations and then apply this to online use. It should specify what a business deems to be acceptable and unacceptable when using social media in the workplace with a clear distinction between business and personal use.

“The business must then ensure that any outcome from any investigation and disciplinary process are well-documented, providing clear reasons for the decision. As we have seen, instances of serious misconduct (particularly where contrary to established internal policy) may result in dismissal.”

How should social media be used in recruitment?

Melanie says: “With regards to recruitment and job applications, employers should: use social media tools to perform background checks only after interviews have taken place, avoid adding a potential applicant as a ‘friend’ on social media to minimise the risk of data protection breaches and verify information found online before relying on it.”

Nelsons provides support to businesses, individuals and families with their legal and investment needs. Nelsons’ experience and depth of resource has also enabled them to offer services to other solicitors through Fusion Legal – a mutually-beneficial referrals and support network for law firms. The firm is recognised by the leading, independently researched Legal 500 and is recommended by them in more than 20 practice areas.

For more detail and insight, please read the full blog here.

By Melanie Morton

Melanie Morton is a specialist Employment Law Solicitor at Nelsons. If you feel your internal systems/social media policy requires updating in light of recent reports Nelsons can review this for you to ensure it is still fit for purpose and protects your business.