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Preventing social media misconduct by employees

It seems that more and more Americans are connecting with one another via social media sites. Although some sites skew older and some skew younger, many Americans make regular use of at least one social networking site. These virtual spaces can provide an excellent outlet for educating the public about issues, rallying individuals to action, keeping in touch and unleashing various forms of creative expression. For better and for worse, many individuals use these sites at work and many individuals use these sites to discuss various issues related to their employment.

In recent years, many employers have expressed concern about the ways in which their employees are choosing to use social media. Some employers have even terminated employees for using social media in ways that may violate their employment contracts or reflect badly upon the businesses which employ them.

Ideally, employers will be able to prevent this kind of social media misconduct so that the headaches associated with disciplining employees for such misconduct may also be avoided. In order to prevent these kinds of occurrences, it is generally beneficial to have a clear social media policy and to educate workers in regards to that policy. When workers understand what is expected of them and what the consequences will be if they misstep, they are generally less likely to push the boundaries of behaviors explicitly outlined within employment policies.

If you have any questions about this issue or about how to lawfully construct a binding social media policy, please do not hesitate to speak with an attorney experienced in matters of employment law.

Source: Findlaw Free Enterprise, “3 Ways to Respond When Employees Misuse Social Media,” Christopher Coble, Feb. 19, 2015

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