High financial and reputational risk for firms without a staff social media policy

February 13, 2018

Social media and other electronic means of communication enable everyone to communicate to whoever they like, all the time.  We are all publishers today.

But what if an employee posts on social media something confidential about their employer?  Or that’s derogatory about a customer or client? 

Whether from the company or their personal account, damage is done and the customer can sue for breach of confidentiality or damages.

Warrington employment law specialist Watsons Solicitors is urging every company, big or small, to ensure it has a robust social media policy.

Latham Parry, partner and head of the employment law department, said: “The speed with which social media content can be uploaded means it’s easy to post before you’ve reflected on the consequences of what you’re saying.

“It isn’t just words.  Warn employees about video content also.  A clip of operatives fooling around on a construction site, which shows the customer’s and the employer’s branding, can cause reputational damage and attract attention from health and safety bodies.

“In an office scenario, it’s all too easy to make a post public, when you thought you’d clicked private to send it to your closed group of contacts.

“Would an employee have written the same content in a letter they send by Royal Mail, or a fax?”

He recommends employers:

  • Have a policy in place that deals with electronic communications including texts and social media posts
  • Train staff about the policies, using real-life examples
  • Ensure staff understand this relates to personal and work-related communications.  Facebook is as important as LinkedIn.
  • Remind them that no mention should be made of customers without their approval

 

He added:“We would urge any employer to review their social media policies by speaking to an employment law specialist.”

Watsons Solicitors, which has been established for more than 50 years, specialises in employment law, family law and conveyancing.

The team of experienced solicitors each hold various accreditations and memberships of professional bodies relevant to their expertise, while the firm’s partners oversee all areas of work.

Click for more information on employment law.

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