Bosses can and should monitor social media: Industry conference

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Employees should be made aware that social media postings made at work will be monitored, a HR conference has been told.

Making sure employees know they cannot expect privacy on any workplace computers, smartphones, networks or access points is essential, employment lawyer Erin Kuzz told delegates at the annual Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) conference held last week.

Of course it is a fine line between making an employee feel spied upon, and making them understand companies have the ability to monitor their social media. “Make sure that maybe every month or two you do in fact do some monitoring. And make sure that employees understand that if you say you’re going to monitor, you’re going to monitor,” Kuzz said.

Sundeep Gokhale, co-presenter of the session “Social Media and the Workplace,” emphasised the need for companies to develop a clear social media policy, and his key guidelines are:

  • Make it clear that having a password does not equal privacy, so that this argument can’t be used later to explain misconduct
  • Make it an offence for ann employee to give their login password to somebody else, so they can’t claim it was someone else
  • Make it clear that you have the right to monitor
  • Think about whether you might want to block social media sites technologically or limit social media use to breaks
  • Make it an offence to communicate confidential information, trade secrets, copyright material and anything defamatory or otherwise illegal
  • Ask employees to sign an form saying they accept and will adhere to your social media policy, and consider updating these annually


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