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Should companies be responsible for their employees social media accounts?

Social media. You can’t avoid it. Sure, you might say that you’re taking a break from Instagram for the weekend, or that you’re logging off from Facebook for a month, but they always drag you back. In 2018, Facebook has 2.23 billion registered users, Instagram has 1 billion and Twitter has 336 million, so the likelihood is, a majority of your employees are logged in.
social media

Social media. You can’t avoid it. Sure, you might say that you’re taking a break from Instagram for the weekend, or that you’re logging off from Facebook for a month, but they always drag you back. In 2018, Facebook has 2.23 billion registered users, Instagram has 1 billion and Twitter has 336 million, so the likelihood is, a majority of your employees are logged in. Contributor Liam Grime, Legal Consultant – ELAS.

They’re probably using Instagram to document their Saturday evening, Twitter to @ their favourite celebrity, and maybe even Pintrest to show off their latest interior inspirations.  So, with such a massive online footprint, how do you stop them from damaging the pristine image of your company? Drunken tweets, letting off steam in rants on Facebook and potentially uploading a risque photo online could happen to anyone at your company; but how can you be expected to control everything they do online, or should you even be expected to?

You aren’t allowed to have access to your employee’s social accounts, but if they’re openly representing your company, you do get to have a say. It’s down to you to decide whether you want employees sharing where they work and who they work for.

ELAS Legal Consultant, Liam Grime, explains “‘Although employers are unlikely to be held liable for the opinions or views expressed by their employees, it is not impossible. It would depend on the nature of what was written or said and whether this is a view shared by both employer and employee. 

It is highly possible however that the views or opinions of employees can bring an employer’s reputation in to disrepute, therefore employers should take preventative measures to ensure that their employees understand how they are expected to behave when expressing themselves on social media.

One way to do this would be to introduce a social media policy which stipulates that employees are prohibited from displaying any opinions or views relating to the company, its clients or its workforce. Stating that a breach of this policy is a disciplinary offence, and one that could even amount to gross misconduct dependent on the severity of the breach, should deter employees from doing so and help ensure that the employer doesn’t feel the side effects of a careless employee’s social media activity.”


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