Should Employee’s Social Media posts concern you?
Social media in recent times has become engraved into our society. It affects almost every aspect of your life, from how you communicate to one another, how you find out local and global news information and how you express your opinions.
Recently an Australian government official was sacked from their role following a six-year court battle over multiple social media posts criticising Australia’s immigration border policies.
As social media has become the ‘norm’ people forget that not all thoughts and opinions may be appropriate to be plastered onto the front page of the internet. A post in response to being frustrated in the workplace or having a disagreement with management does not warrant a social media post, as not only can this sensitive information cause damage for the employee but also have a detrimental effect to the business.
Taking this into consideration it is important that employees think before posting sensitive content, but more importantly that businesses have policies and procedures in place before for when an issues arises.
The power of social media allows for an instantaneous thought to be shared globally, with the potential for said post to go viral. From a marketing perspective social media is invaluable, although from a company’s HR standpoint this tool can become a problem when employees treat it like an hourly diary they must up date.
The recent court case ruling in Australia sheds light onto this issue of employees and social media. The judged ruled in favour of the lawful dismissal of Michaela Banerji who posted negative comments regarding Australia’s border patrol policies.
Freedom of Speech
It goes without saying that the right of freedom of speech is a given, this is included with social media. From a business perspective it is totally acceptable for opinions to be expressed on employee social media accounts, as long as it is obvious that posts are a personal view and do not represent the company. This is easily done through the use of the bio or an opening pinned statement at the top of the social media account.
Although when being employed by a company, restrictions must be in place to prevent any potential damage caused by inappropriate employee posts. If a post expresses criticism of the business or colleague, it then falls within work boundaries and can be classed as an issue of workplace misconduct.
The process of dealing with a social media related misconduct issue should be dealt with as any other misconduct issue in the workplace. It is important that clear guidelines are set to what can be classed as social media misconduct, as if these are dealt with incorrectly it could lead to a claim of unfair dismissal.
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