With Several Actors Recently Fired, Is It Time You Reviewed Your Social Media Policy? In 2019, social media is more prevalent and important than ever for businesses. We’re currently living in an era where a past tweet – or admittance of a past thought from decades ago – can see an otherwise upstanding and well-respected public figure ‘cancelled’. From Liam Neeson, to Logan Paul, celebrities, film stars and artists have put their foot in their mouth on more one that occasion over the last 12 months. The repercussions have ranged from a public apology, to being dropped from filming and sponsorship. Yes, apparently people are only just realising that their words do have consequences. Strange, isn’t it?
Social media. You can’t avoid it. Sure, you might say that you’re taking a break from Instagram for the weekend, or that you’re logging off from Facebook for a month, but they always drag you back. In 2018, Facebook has 2.23 billion registered users, Instagram has 1 billion and Twitter has 336 million, so the likelihood is, a majority of your employees are logged in.
So, just as these celebrities have felt the wrath of social media, so too might your employees. In an age where new clients and leads are created and secured online, and nearly everyone in the workplace is only an email away. This demonstrates why you and your employees have a responsibility to represent your company’s image online in a way that only reflects positively. Social media training is a excellent tool when wanting to inform your team of the do’s and don’ts of social media use inside and outside of the workplace. Is it time you review your social media policy?
Earlier this month, ITV confirmed that the Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal, who played Aiesha Richards, was sacked from her role after a thread of historic racially offensive and homophobic tweets came to light – the BBC reported.
So, with such a massive online footprint, how do you stop them from damaging the pristine image of your company? Drunken tweets, letting off steam in rants on Facebook and potentially uploading a risque photo online could happen to anyone at your company; but how can you be expected to control everything they do online, or should you even be expected to?
ELAS Legal Consultant, Liam Grime, explains
“ ‘Although employers are unlikely to be held liable for the opinions or views expressed by their employees, it is not impossible. It would depend on the nature of what was written or said and whether this is a view shared by both employer and employee. It is highly possible however that the views or opinions of employees can bring an employer’s reputation in to disrepute, therefore employers should take preventative measures to ensure that their employees understand how they are expected to behave when expressing themselves on social media. One way to do this would be to introduce a social media policy which stipulates that employees are prohibited from displaying any opinions or views relating to the company, its clients or its workforce. Likewise you could review your current social media policy. Stating that a breach of this policy is a disciplinary offence, and one that could even amount to gross misconduct dependent on the severity of the breach, should deter employees from doing so and help ensure that the employer doesn’t feel the side effects of a careless employee’s social media activity.”