Employee Social Media Policy
1. Purpose of policy
This policy is intended to help employees make appropriate decisions about the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Other social media includes but is not exclusive to blogs, video, picture blogging and audio.
This policy outlines the standards that we require staff to observe when using social media, the circumstances in which we will monitor your use of social media and the action that will be taken in respect of breaches of this policy. The principles of this policy apply to use of social media regardless of the method used to access it - it covers static and mobile IT/computer equipment, as well as work and/or personal smartphones etc.
2. Who is covered by the policy
This policy covers all individuals working at all levels and grades, including senior managers, officers, directors, employees, consultants, contractors, trainees, homeworkers, part-time and fixed-term employees, casual and agency staff and volunteers.
3. Why use social media
Social media enables us to attract new clients, recruit for missions or events or to seek feedback on key services.
4. Responsibility for implementation of the policy
The business owner has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy.
All staff are responsible for their own compliance with this policy and for ensuring that it is consistently applied. All staff should ensure that they take the time to read and understand it. Any breach of this policy should be reported to the business owner or line manager.
Questions regarding the content or application of this policy should be directed to the business owner or line manager.
5. Using work-related social media
Only the business owner or specified manager is permitted to post material on a social media website in the company’s name and behalf. Anyone who breaches this restriction will face the company's disciplinary procedure.
Before using work-related social media you must:
• have read and understood this policy; and
• have sought and gained prior written approval to do so from the business owner or line manager.
6. Personal use of social media
Personal use of social media in the workplace is permitted, subject to certain conditions, as detailed below. It must not be abused or overused and the company reserves the right to withdraw permission at any time.
The following conditions must be met for personal use to continue:
• use must be minimal and take place substantially outside of normal working hours, for example, breaks, lunchtime etc.
• use must not interfere with business or office commitments
• use must comply with all policies
You are also personally responsible for what you communicate on social media sites outside the workplace, for example at home, in your own time, using your own equipment. You must always be mindful of your contributions and what you disclose about the company. For further details, see Point 7, ‘General rules for social media use’ below.
7. General rules for social media use
Whenever you are permitted to use social media in accordance with this policy, you must adhere to the following general rules. The same rules would also apply when using social media outside of work:
• Do not post or forward a link to any abusive, discriminatory, harassing, derogatory, defamatory or inappropriate content.
• A member of staff who feels that they have been harassed or bullied, or are offended by material posted by a colleague onto a social media website should inform the business owner or line manager.
• Never disclose commercially sensitive, anti-competitive, private or confidential information. If you are unsure whether the information you wish to share falls within one of these categories, you should discuss this with the business owner or line manager.
• Do not post material in breach of copyright or other intellectual property rights.
• Be honest and open, but be mindful of the impact your contribution might make to people’s perceptions of the company.
• You are personally responsible for content you publish – be aware that it will be public for many years.
• When using social media for personal use, use a disclaimer, for example: ‘The views expressed are my own and don’t reflect the views of my employer’. Be aware though that even if you make it clear that your views on such topics do not represent those of the organisation, your comments could still damage our reputation.
• You should avoid social media communications that might be misconstrued in a way that could damage our business reputation, even indirectly.
• Do not post anything that your colleagues or our customers, clients, business partners, suppliers or vendors would find offensive, insulting, obscene and/or discriminatory.
• If you have disclosed your affiliation as an employee of our organisation you must ensure that your profile and any content you post are consistent with the professional image you present to client and colleagues.
8. Monitoring use of social media
Staff should be aware that any use of social media websites (whether or not accessed for work purposes) may be monitored and, where breaches of this policy are found, action may be taken.
The company reserves the right to restrict or prevent access to certain social media websites if personal use is considered to be excessive. Monitoring is only carried out to the extent permitted or as required by law and as necessary and justifiable for business purposes.
Misuse of social media websites can, in certain circumstances, constitute a criminal offence or otherwise give rise to legal liability against you and the company.
If you notice any use of social media by other members of staff in breach of this policy please report it to the business owner or line manager.
Where it is believed that an employee has failed to comply with this policy, they will face the company's disciplinary procedure. If the employee is found to have breached the policy, they will face a disciplinary penalty ranging from a verbal warning to dismissal.
The penalty applied will depend on factors such as the seriousness of the breach; the nature of the posting; the impact it has had on the organisation or the individual concerned; whether the comments cause problems given the employee’s role; whether the employer can be identified by the postings; other mitigating factors such as the employee's disciplinary record etc. Remember the same test of reasonableness applies when dismissing for improper use of social media as it would for any other misconduct dismissal.
9. Policy review and update
The business owner has overall responsibility for the review and update of this policy at the beginning of each year or more regularly as required.
All company employees, contractors or temporary staff are required to sign this agreement confirming their understanding and acceptance of this policy.
Tap or click on the signature above to sign