I recently did some work for a client that involved looking into recent Canadian legal cases dealing with employees that have been either fired or reprimanded for their conduct on social media platforms. I ended up using some of these cases as examples in an internal training program I developed for employees on “responsible digital engagement”. I thought I’d share a few of them with you today.
All five of these cases reinforce my firm belief that every employee of a modern organization should take the following five tips to heart:
- Read your existing policies related to values and ethics (especially if you don’t have any official social media engagement guidelines/policies in place).
- Be aware that employers can legally monitor your online behaviour on public channels 24/7. If it’s not your employer doing so, then some stranger likely is.
- Work under the assumption that all of your posts are public, even so-called “private” ones.
- If you wouldn’t be comfortable saying something in a packed room of people, don’t say it online.
- Use caution and good judgement. If you’re even slightly unsure as to whether or not something is kosher to post about, ask your HR rep or supervisor.
I should point out that my general advice to clients is to educate and empower their employees as opposed to restrict and reprimand. Training/orientation sessions on “responsible digital engagement” should be an opportunity to foster a discussion and get both management and employees on the same side. The reality of the modern web is that everything is on the record. This isn’t something your employer came up with, therefore work together on this proactively so as to avoid situations as described below.