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Social Media at Work

07 May 2018

A recent social media outburst by a prominent rugby player who made unpopular remarks on homosexuality has raised the issue of an Employee's freedom of speech with respect to the rights of their employer.

This incident very quickly brought the employer into the limelight. The Employer formally addressed the issue, accepted the player's explanation but continued to say "Rugby Australia will use this experience as an opportunity to remind all employees of their obligation to use social media in a respectful way".

Staff have good faith obligations not to bring their employer or business into disrepute and that duty goes right to the heart of the employment relationship between the parties in terms of trust and loyalty. Nevertheless it is of great importance in today's modern society and particularly so in light of the recent media attention that businesses should have a very clear policy on social media behavior for all workers.

Please see below for our recommendations as a minimum. This should become part of your overarching "ICT policy" (Information, Communications & Technology) or be explicit clauses in your Employment Agreements.
Social Media Policy
1. The Employer expects its employees to maintain a certain standard of behaviour when using social media. Social media includes; blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds and, business networking sites, web-based forums or message boards for work or personal purposes.
2. Unauthorised use of social media during work hours is prohibited on work or personal computers or devices. Use of social media may be permitted during breaks.
3. Employees are not permitted to refer to the Employer in any social media forum except as expressly agreed by the Employer.
4. Employees are not permitted to identify any person associated with the Employer's business except as expressly agreed to by the Employer and the person concerned.
5. Employees are not permitted to disclose via any social media confidential information relating to their employment which includes but is not limited to; employment terms and conditions, policies, rosters, internal communications and any concerns or complaints which the Employee or another Employee may have against the company.
6. Using or sharing libelous, defamatory, offensive, derogatory, racist or obscene remarks or content are strictly prohibited at all times.

A full ICT policy is available to download in the Employers Toolbox Library for members. Or for $20 non members can purchase this directly here


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