Wherever we go these days we see people using social media – it has become such a normal part of life. It is instantaneous and we love it (well, some of us love it, some hate it and others pretend to hate it but secretly love it).
However, we can easily become too comfortable in posting whatever is on our minds whenever we wish, forgetting who may see it/be offended by it. This can become quite an issue when it involves our workplace and/or employment. Once it is out there – it is out for good.
We can all relate to times when we have felt disgruntled about matters regarding our workplace. Yet not handling the grievance properly (publicly commenting on social media, for example) can result in adverse consequences including termination, bullying and/or harassment claims. This includes comments made on your own time, out of work hours and on your personal technology.
Employers and employees are all in the same boat when it comes to social media and this is where social media policies (and common sense) come in to play.
The best policies I have seen clarify how social media can be used by the relevant workplace, how the policy applies both in and out of working time, and clearly explains what is and isn’t appropriate use of social media. Ramifications for breach of the policy should be detailed and as with all policies, training and awareness as to the existence of the policy, and applying it uniformly are imperative.
Just like other employment matters, there is no clear-cut black and white approach to social media misconduct which has been shown in recent employment cases. Each issue needs to be considered on its own merits. It is much safer to stick to posting photos from that music festival you went to back in January, or your rad holiday from 2013. “Take me back”