“IF CONTENT IS FIRE, THEN SOCIAL MEDIA IS GASOLINE”
Chances are most of your employees are on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
Some of them may be using their private accounts to say things about their employment and disgruntled employees might even be complaining about their working conditions.
Despite that employees may think their right to freedom of expression is fiercely protected in terms of our Constitution, they do not seem to be as well-aware of the limitation to that right. Employees do not have carte blanche to say and post what they want to with impunity and employers are well within their rights to regulate social media in so far as it could affect the workplace.
There is little to no doubt that the enforcing of regulations of an individual's use of social media becomes particularly relevant within an employment relationship.
“The basis of the employment relationship is the duty of good faith that an employee has to his or her employer. That is an obligation that does not need to be enunciated in an employment contract and it follows that if an employee behaves in a manner which violates that duty, discipline will follow.”
An employee's tirade on a social media platform about their employer, their client or customer or indeed their distasteful views about any subject in general could easily violate that duty of good faith.
Employees defenses that are unlikely to be successful -
• The right to privacy
• The right to freedom of expression
• The Protected Disclosure Act
• “I did not mean what I typed…”
• “I am not proficient with technology…”
Make your brand ‘click worthy’ by implementing a full social media policy to “share” that includes the different capacities in which employees use social media to mitigate reputational risks.