Technology

Don’t Let Lack of Training Create Social Media Chaos

There’s no denying social media is here to stay, and its impact on the workplace can’t be ignored. So employers are smart to be proactive and have policies in place to help them avoid potential liability connected to employee use of social media.


Along with a social media policy, employers should incorporate training aimed at helping employees understand the employer’s rules and the liability employees can face as individuals or create for the employer. Here are some points to make sure employees understand:

  • Electronically transmitted messages can’t be deleted and can be searched for and printed or otherwise saved long after being sent.
  • The restrictions employers have on employee use of company-supplied laptops, smartphones, and other devices.
  • Emails and text messages sent from a personal account to a coworker’s personal or company account are covered by the employer’s antiharassment and antidiscrimination policies.
  • Off-duty conduct aimed at coworkers, including posts on a social network, can be investigated as potential harassment because of the workplace connection between the two individuals.
  • Posts on social networking sites may be viewed by persons outside the employee’s network of friends and may result in the employee being reported for harassment or inappropriate conduct.
  • Social networking sites can be searched for many legitimate reasons. So employees need to be advised that the employer can see what they are posting.
  • Workplace behavior and etiquette standards apply to cyberspace communications.
  • Before clicking “send,” employees should consider whether they would want their mother or spouse/partner to see the post.
  • Employees’ postings on social networking sites can affect both current and prospective employment.
  • Types of documents, information, and data the employer considers private and confidential.
  • Rules about when information should be labeled “confidential.”
  • Whether the employer monitors employee email and/or internet use.
  • Rules and boundaries for using the employer’s equipment and internet for personal reasons.
  • Who has the authority and permission to download software onto employee computers.
  • If the company is governed by the Federal Trade Commission and what the rules are for “endorsement.”
  • Only the employer’s IT team is allowed to install or download any sort of program, hardware, or software onto the company’s computers. Ignoring this rule can result in discipline.
  • Everyone should back up frequently so that data isn’t lost in the event of a computer crash.
  • Look for help in a manual or ask for help with a tech issue.
  • Anyone becoming frustrated with a piece of technology should step back and relax. Walk around and unhook from the situation.
  • Everyone should take breaks and use good ergonomic work practices.
  • Anyone who feels he or she needs a modification to existing equipment or a new piece of equipment to make the work situation healthier should notify HR.