Social Media in the spotlight

Over the last few weeks i have been having several conversations with clients about the importance of having a Social Media policy so that the expectations are very clear. With the modern world driven by social media it is more important than ever to get this right. Who remembers the time when we left school at 3pm and that was it……….. we saw our mates the next day or made a telephone call. I remember the phone in the hall of our house and pulling the lead into my room so i could talk to friends. Now we never disconnect from school, friends, work and well everything really. we leave school and walk away texting, tweeting, face booking and even snap chatting. It never ends.


Social Media

But how does this impact the workplace. McKays Solicitors today sent out their April Unique Focus that brought this subject to the forefront. They gave the example of the sacking by SBS of a journalist for comments on his personal Twitter account. This has put employer management of social media back in the spotlight.

Their article went on to say ” Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has defended the employer’s decision to sack the journalist, as the employee had signed an agreement with his employer in which he agreed not to do anything in his public conduct which could bring his employer into disrepute”. But what can employer do – An effective social media policy remains the most effective risk management tool in protecting a business reputation and liability.


But What is social Media??

Social media includes any online and interactive tools and platforms by which content can be created and shared, such as tweets or blogs, audio, photographs and videos shared on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify
and Instagram.
  • How do the courts regard an employees use of social media??
Vilifying or abusing a staff member can be a breach of social media policy, and lead to disciplinary action by the employer.
Facebook use from a home computer outside of business hours has been considered serious misconduct by the Fair Work Commission (O’Keefe v Williams Muir’s Pty Limited T/A troy Williams The Good Guys.) Incessant social media posts during work hours may also lead to disciplinary action by the employer.
The Federal Court has confirmed that monitoring by a government department of its employees’ personal use of IT systems is not an invasion of privacy, provided employees are informed that such monitoring will take place (Griffiths v Rose).
Social media can be crucial for business
Social media networking can have positive aspects, particularly as a marketing and communication tool.
Employer policy must also have regard to the positive uses of social media as well as directing employees to not mix professional and personal issues in ways likely to bring the employer into disrepute, or abuse another staff member.
Educating employees about the employer’s policy expectations will greatly reduce the likelihood an unfortunate situation occurring… and is usually an essential precondition to taking disciplinary action for a policy breach.
If you are concerned about the impact on Social Media in your businesses contact us today to discuss on Ph. 1300 332 322
Thanks to McKays Solicitors for bring this topic to the front of our minds