Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Social Networking and Some Employment Law Snafus (Part 2)

     In this article, we try “round two” of stumping the HR person!  That is to say -- let’s take a look at a few additional employment-related social networking challenges, and how an HR person (or supervisor) might best respond.

1.     Management allows some online posting during work hours, but notice one employee who averages 100 Tweets per day on Twitter.
Does it matter if it is part of their job to post Tweet updates?  How many posts are too many, is the question!?

A reasonable course of action by any standard, would be to warn the employee of the excessive number of posts.  Thereafter, it needs to be determined whose function it is to monitor such media outreaches – HR? Corporate Communications? IT? – which may depend on resources.  Larger employers may consider having a media department that would oversee such outflow.  Tweets can positively impact business! 
One Wall St. Journal article noted that the number of Tweets regarding a movie release does affect the numbers at the box office!

2.      You receive a phone call saying one of your employees has been posting derogatory comments on her ex-husband’s blog.
Does it matter how high-profile the employee or ex-spouse are?  What about whether it was posted during work hours or whether it depicts a company uniform or logo?

Ask for evidence of the postings!  (Such as a print out of the posting.)  Certainly one would need to determine whether or to what extend the company was identified within the post, and whether it was posted during work hours, and warn accordingly.

3.      What if you WANT your employees to help grow your business through social networking??
Are you going to want to require that employees join a social networking site?

A good solution for this may be to identify which sites would be acceptable for business purposes, (some favor Linked-In, for example).  You will need to decide if such postings are mandatory (in which case, you need to be prepared to pay for this time), or optional (in which case, you need to decide if work time can be allotted for this).  In any event, some guidelines ought best be established regarding content, and all postings should be monitored. 
Some employers are finding ways to block social networking, although that can turn away employees as well!  Why not have a separate business page from personal, on those sites that allow it?!

Continue your feedback…we may have a social networking and employment law snafu, part 3 at some later time! 

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